Facility condition assessment
Facility condition assessment (FCA) is an industry term that describes the process of a qualified group of trained industry professionals performing an analysis of the condition of a group of facilities that may vary in terms of age, design, construction methods, and materials. The industry professionals are typically engineers of various disciplines and skilled-trade technicians, but architects are sometimes used as well; though engineering and architectural work are not part of the assessment and are excluded in the scope of the assessment.
This analysis can be done by walk-through inspection, mathematical modeling (see Mathematical Model), or a combination of both. But the most accurate way of determining the condition requires walk-through to collect baseline data.
This analysis can be performed on government/public, commercial, and private facilities. Commercial property assessments are more product/service driven, and private inspections are typical of home inspections. ASTM 2018 is a guide for Property Condition Assessments, or PCA, and is used in the Commercial environment.
Another sort of facility assessment is a Building Inspection. Most often, the job of a building inspector is looking at a single facility that is needed or required to be in compliance with a building permit, or with a set of codes or statutory requirements.
When referenced today, the term FCA describes work accomplished for Federal, State, and local government agencies or entities.
Architectural and Engineering (A&E) firms, or organizations, have assessed facilities as a part of their duties since those professions were conceived and formalized; though engineering and architectural work are not part of the assessment and are excluded in the scope of the assessment. The end product was usually an extensive narrative, supplemented with drawings and photographs, as to what conditions were observed, with a summary budget for correction of all deficiencies.
In the 1970s the term Facility Audit  was commonly used. The term Facility Audit was later phased-out as it suggested a review of the way a facility manager spent money on the facility; something that might be done by an ‘Auditor’. Modern-day FCA work took on its current form around the time of the founding of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) in 1980, although the two were not related.
What did enable FCA to become useful was the dramatic reduction in the size of computers, coupled with a rapid increase in speed and storage. This helped create the product known as a computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS.
The first publication that described the use of FCA data, financial modeling, and the use of CMMS application was “Managing the Facilities Portfolio”, published by the National Association of College University Business Officers. The principal author of that book was Applied Management Engineering, Inc. of Virginia Beach, Virginia.
As technology has advanced, Facility Condition Assessment Modeling has become more recognized in the condition assessment industry. In 2007, Graphic Systems, Inc., following research they had performed for the United States Federal Government, published a white paper on Condition Indices and Strategic Planning, demonstrating the value that strategic condition assessment modeling and the theoretical condition index can offer to traditional visual condition assessment programs.
Once the walk-through data has been collected, appropriate estimates to correct the deficiencies should be prepared.
Once the estimates are prepared, the a user is left with potentially 1,000’s of line items that need to be sorted, grouped together, and presented in a useful format. It is typical this format will adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Construction Specifications Institute.
At the point, computerized assistance makes the product usable and changes the nature of the FCA service from pure engineering and management, to an amalgam of engineering, management, and technology.
Mostly facility-intensive organization such as military bases, college and universities, and city and state governments need to develop a budget that allocates money for maintenance and repair. The FCA data is used by people or organizations (e.g. Board of Directors, Commissioners, Trustees, etc.) that must make these decisions as to how to distribute financial resources for facilities along with other needs of the organization. Frequently these people or organizations rely upon facility or building metrics for year-to-year comparisons.
A good example of a facility metric that can be generated by the FCA is the Facility Condition Index, or FCI. The FCI can be further used in the development and usage of Building Information Modeling for existing buildings.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (June 2008)|
- Managing the Facilities Portfolio, National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
- Plan, Predict, and Prevent: Special Report 62, American Public Works Association
- Strategic Assessment Model (SAM), Higher Education Facilities Officers: APPA
- URS Corp releases new version of CASCADE facility condition assessment database