When it comes to facilities management, organizations need a clear view of how their facility, or portfolio of buildings, operates. With more and more organizations feeling budgetary constraints, federal facility managers need to know which projects can safely and sagely be deferred and what must be fixed or replaced immediately.
LMI has advised the Intelligence Community (IC) for more than 20 years and understands the added complexity that its facilities managers deal with on a daily basis. In addition to the common facilities management needs of other federal and commercial organizations, IC facility managers must maintain facilities that are more secure than those of their federal counterparts.
The biggest trend in IC facilities management is implementing a software application called BUILDER, which facilities managers can use to conduct facility assessments and track condition and remaining useful life, and develop and prioritize major repair and replacement projects. Each IC agency currently accomplishes these functions using a variety of different processes and systems which make comparing the results across IC agencies difficult. Additionally, some agencies have taken a year-to-year approach with project budgeting, not looking strategically into future years. The Department of Defense (DoD) mandated the use of BUILDER as the solution to its own facilities management issues. Subsequently, this mandate has been carried over to the IC with a timeline of implementing BUILDER by the end of FY2018.
United Stated Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) developed BUILDER as a data-driven tool to track each asset or groups of assets in a facility (HVAC units, pumps, motors, doors, windows, walls, ceilings, floors, carpeting, etc.) along an asset-specific life-cycle curve. Using the age of the asset along with a detailed description, BUILDER can predict the condition of the asset at any point in its life cycle from brand new to end of useful life to imminent failure. Compiling these predictions for all assets in a facility allows BUILDER to report the health of a facility through a derived condition index. BUILDER then lets the user input decision parameters that convert condition to the cost of repairs necessary to sustain a desired level of performance.
As an example of how BUILDER supports life-cycle analysis, let’s say you’re a facility manager who has identified a 20-ton chiller that was installed 5 years ago. This type of unit typically has a 20 year useful life and BUILDER predicts its current condition to be a 97 on a scale of 0–100 where 100 is brand new and 40 is end of useful life. BUILDER will continually move the chiller along this life-cycle curve as the chiller ages and report the degraded condition value. BUILDER will also change the curve and adjust the remaining useful life if inspections find the chiller is in better or worse condition than predicted. By choosing a particular condition rating as a threshold for generating work, a user can configure BUILDER to generate work items whenever the chiller’s condition falls below this threshold.
To go a step further, the guidance might vary across regions, depending on geographic conditions or other factors. Let’s assume your air handling unit is in a humid environment and runs 24/7; this might shorten the item’s useful life. BUILDER can be configured to predict regional differences in how facility elements age and predict the resulting work items that reflect these localized conditions. BUILDER can then aggregate the data across multiple regions for different types of equipment or facilities and set more accurate baselines over time. This will enable you to forecast what your budget should look like over the next year, 5 years, and up to 10 years down the road.
Connecting BUILDER with Other Software Applications
LMI is at the forefront of BUILDER implementation within the IC. Within these agencies, points of contact may rotate out of their positions every couple of years. As such, LMI team members are often the most consistent steward to shepherd along facilities issues.
LMI consultants have developed in-depth condition assessment experience through the use of our Infrastructure Condition Assessment Model (I•CAM™) tool. LMI has used this tool within the IC and with other government agencies. In several instances, our clients have used I•CAM for the past decade to both manage their infrastructure condition and strategically prioritize projects. For clients who want to keep using it, I•CAM is capable of interfacing side-by-side with BUILDER.
Other clients have other non-LMI legacy systems, such as VFA (used for facility condition assessment), Maximo (used for maintenance planning), or Archibus (used for space planning). Part of what LMI is doing right now is helping our clients use the information from these different systems in a cohesive way for accurate and insightful reporting of large facility data sets in order to make effective management decisions. LMI has consultants who are trained in using these different systems and look to provide the best solution for the client regardless of system. The end goal is to help the government manage their facilities portfolios cost-effectively year to year and keep them at a desired state of readiness, while looking strategically ahead to predict major repairs and replacements through life-cycle analysis and planning appropriately.
Mr. Skulte is the program director of the Facilities and PMO (Program Management Office) group within National Security Programs.
Richard Skulte, Director, Other National Security Markets
Hugh Reams is a senior fellow in the Infrastructure and Engineering Management group. He is proficient in numerous automated facility management related systems including the Archibus suite of facility management applications as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers BUILDER application.