A step beyond the traditional Facilities Condition Assessment, only faster

A new offering allows colleges a reinvented approach to capital planning that can be done remotely.

Facilities Condition Assessments (FCAs) are typically costly and time-consuming—not to mention they require site visits and result in a list of deficiencies. Gordian, the provider of facility and construction cost data, software and services for the building lifecycle, has developed a new approach more suitable for the COVID-era.

Sightlines Strategic Capital Planning allows campus leaders to meet strategic needs in less than half the time of a traditional FCA and with more flexibility. The process creates an investment strategy adapted to meet the individual needs of each institution. The idea, explains Gordian President William L. Pollak, is to develop a plan around critical assets first and then assess buildings as they become relevant to the plan. This saves money and “empower the institution to pivot and adjust course as needed,” he says.

The data gathering process is streamlined through the creation of an accurate baseline of institutional facilities needs using a system-level assessment powered by Gordian’s RSMeans data. That’s what allows for the remote assessments and speeds up the process. The Gordian team then gathers knowledge from on-campus trades workers who are in the facilities every day.

With input from stakeholders across an institution, the approach also involves defining goals and objectives that prioritize and strategically segment campus buildings. Multiyear capital plans are developed based on what gets prioritized.

All of this comes at approximately one-quarter of the cost of a traditional on-campus facilities assessment, says Adam Gogolski, product manager. Breaking that down, most institutions are looking at a cost between $0.01 and $0.02 per square foot of space. Most institutions should be able to invest less than $75,000 total.

As with everything during the COVID, the approach is a fresh one, allowing “institutions to gather facilities data in a completely new way, without ever setting foot on campus,” says Gogolski. Clients, he adds, wind up with “a flexible prioritization toolkit that changes at the speed of institutional priorities during this uncertain time. This combination of speed, accuracy and flexibility would be welcome during ‘normal’ times but is essential at a time when major changes are happening each day.”

Melissa Ezarik is senior managing editor of University Business.

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