On page 63, the report identified the four most important elements in creating a climate for stewardship:

  • Leadership by agency senior managers.

  • The establishment and implementation of a stewardship ethic by facilities program managers and staff as their basic business strategy.

  • Senior managers and program managers who create incentives for successful and innovative facility management.

  • Agency strategic plans that give suitable weight to effective facilities management.

Outsourcing Management Functions for the Acquisition of Federal Facilities states that “when acquiring facilities, a federal agency assumes an ownership responsibility as a steward of the public’s investment” (NRC, 2000, p. 46). It notes that ownership and management functions are not the same. Owners establish objectives and make decisions. They determine the need for facilities, develop project scopes, balance conflicting priorities, establish parameters (for cost and duration, for example), and determine positions in negotiations. Managers perform ministerial functions that implement the owner’s decisions and oversee accomplishment of the task. Ownership and management functions are equally important and must be balanced if organizations are to effectively achieve their missions. A smart owner of facilities has the skill base—usually a staff with the professional qualifications and authority—necessary to plan, guide, and evaluate the facility acquisition process. A smart owner focuses on the “relationship of a specific facility to the successful accomplishment of an organization’s business or overall mission” (NRC, 2000, p. 50).

Investments in Federal Facilities: Asset Management Strategies for the 21st Century (NRC, 2004) recommends that federal organizations integrate facilities considerations into their strategic planning to provide decision makers with better information about the total long-term costs and consequences of a particular course of action. It also recommended that the senior facilities asset manager participate in the organization’s strategic planning at the executive level so that he or she can translate between its missions and its facilities portfolio and clearly communicate how real estate and facilities can support the missions.

The 1998 and 2004 reports both recommend a life-cycle approach for managing facilities. All three reports recommend the continuous measurement of performance to improve federal facilities asset management. Performance measures help organizations to understand why particular decision-making processes or management practices succeeded or failed and where objectives are not being met or where they are being exceeded. Managers can then “investigate the factors or reasons underlying the performance and make appropriate adjustments” (NRC, 2004, p. 65).

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement