Building Performance: Improving the Facility Lifecycle

Millard Carr

Office of the Secretary of Defense

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition and technology organization is undergoing the same kinds of stresses as many other organizations in government and the private sector: downsizing, right sizing, capsizing, whatever you want to call it. As a consequence, we are changing the way we buy things. To make sure everyone in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology understands what is "required by recent legislative and executive actions, we recently had an "acquisition reform stand-down day." This event, really a kind of mini-charrette, should produce ideas about how to do the job better in a more business-like way.

DOD owns about 400,000 buildings, incorporating 2.4 billion square feet of space. It spends billions on construction each year. The Pentagon itself is undergoing a $1.2 billion renovation. So it is a major task to respond to the report of the Construction and Building Subcommittee of the President's National Science and Technology Council, which points out that government building projects have many opportunities to do a better job. We should, the report says, cut in half the delivery time of buildings; their operations, maintenance, and energy costs; waste and pollution; and job-related illness and accidents. We should, furthermore, increase the productivity and comfort of people in our buildings by 30 percent, and improve durability and flexibility by 50 percent.

I am particularly happy to see an emphasis on life-cycle costing in design, construction, and planning. Until recently, the pressure was to build it on time and within budget, with first cost a large consideration. We



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



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 111
--> Building Performance: Improving the Facility Lifecycle Millard Carr Office of the Secretary of Defense The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition and technology organization is undergoing the same kinds of stresses as many other organizations in government and the private sector: downsizing, right sizing, capsizing, whatever you want to call it. As a consequence, we are changing the way we buy things. To make sure everyone in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology understands what is "required by recent legislative and executive actions, we recently had an "acquisition reform stand-down day." This event, really a kind of mini-charrette, should produce ideas about how to do the job better in a more business-like way. DOD owns about 400,000 buildings, incorporating 2.4 billion square feet of space. It spends billions on construction each year. The Pentagon itself is undergoing a $1.2 billion renovation. So it is a major task to respond to the report of the Construction and Building Subcommittee of the President's National Science and Technology Council, which points out that government building projects have many opportunities to do a better job. We should, the report says, cut in half the delivery time of buildings; their operations, maintenance, and energy costs; waste and pollution; and job-related illness and accidents. We should, furthermore, increase the productivity and comfort of people in our buildings by 30 percent, and improve durability and flexibility by 50 percent. I am particularly happy to see an emphasis on life-cycle costing in design, construction, and planning. Until recently, the pressure was to build it on time and within budget, with first cost a large consideration. We

OCR for page 111
--> tended to ignore operating costs, energy, cleaning, maintenance, and repair. Even more important, we ignored the inherent mission costs carried out in the buildings. Even at DOD, where the mission equals the first 8 things on our top 10 list of things to do, we had a tendency, when the crunch came—when we needed beneficial occupancy of the building or when funds started to run out—to sacrifice the usability of the building. We were not being evil or perverse. We were just being human. We need to build better incentives into the system to give higher priority to life-cycle costs. In a typical office building housing a unit of the DOD, each person is allotted 100 square feet. Say the building costs $200 per square foot to build, including overhead, then the first cost per occupant is $20,000. The annual operating cost is about $2 per square foot including about $1.14 for energy, or about $200 per year for that occupant's space. The person in that space costs about $60,000 a year. So, over an average 40 year life, people represent 95 percent of the total cost. Therefore, a mere 3.7 percent productivity gain in the people will pay for all the facility costs over the 40 year life of the building. In other words, we could get a free building if we paid better attention to the productivity of the endeavor in that building while we were planning, designing, building, and operating it. It is hard to convince people of that fact, especially when we are all trying to deliver projects within a decreasing budget. We are trying to develop a multimedia presentation to get this message across, with Professor Volker Hartkopf of Carnegie Mellon University and the Advanced Building Systems Integration Consortium. In fact, very impressive gains in productivity are available. An analysis by the Carnegie Mellon team shows an expected gain in productivity of 5 to 35 percent. The source of these gains comes from giving people a good place to work, with privacy, the ability to concentrate on work, ergonomic furniture, access to windows, and personal control of lighting, heating, and cooling. We are not robots. We need to see the sun now and then or we start to get a little wacky. We should be able to provide that kind of environment to our people. If 95 percent of the cost of the building is people, we need to pay a lot more attention to their working environment. The Army's Construction Engineering Research Laboratories, in a literature search, found 45 cases in which some of these environmental improvements were made; not one case incorporated all of the opportunities

OCR for page 111
--> for improvement. Demonstrated productivity improvement from these cases ranged from 5 to 35 percent. We are trying to incorporate these results in the Carnegie Mellon effort. We intend to evaluate all of the data, implement a standard, build facilities to meet the proposed standard, and continuously evaluate and improve. The charrette we held is a first step and a very good one. The Need for Commissioning Buildings I am convinced that the concept of commissioning (that is, the explicit verification of physical and operating conditions in a new or substantially renovated building) is the charrette that continues. It is a process that guides all activity throughout the acquisition life cycle. It defines the customer's needs clearly, as a charrette does, and tries to ensure that the customer's needs are achieved during planning, design, construction, turnover, and throughout the life of that building at the lowest achievable life cycle cost. Productivity of people is a vital part of that life cycle cost analysis. The idea of commissioning was inspired by Presidential Executive Order 12902 of 1994, which was aimed at ensuring that the initial energy-efficiency of buildings was not allowed to degrade because of poor maintenance and operation. But we in the Office of Acquisition and Technology believe that all facilities should be commissioned. One study has proposed that all buildings over a certain dollar value—perhaps $5 million—should have some sort of a commissioning process. (If 95 percent of a building's costs are in the people, then there is no building outside of a guard shack that should not have some commissioning process.) A parallel or rather complementary process can be found in the measurement and validation study that the Department of Energy (DOE) just issued on energy-efficiency projects. The commissioning process can be as sophisticated as necessary. For lighting, one can validate energy savings by counting light bulbs and multiply by the difference in energy-intensity of the light bulbs. In renovating an entire building, the validation can be done with a more sophisticated computer model of the building and its systems. Many studies show that owners are unhappy with their buildings. In a large new building, just turned over to a defense agency that shall remain nameless, people are rather unhappy, because, for example, when

OCR for page 111
--> they turned the water faucets on, they got wet. A commissioning process would have prevented that problem. The process begins with planning and design, but it should continue through at least the first year of occupancy. In fact, periodic verification of maintenance and operating standards over time would solve many problems. However, doing so requires overcoming a lack of resources, owing to the traditional focus on first cost. The Army Corps of Engineers has issued a draft instruction documenting these concepts. It will take time to pervade the entire Department of Defense, but there is strong consensus in its favor in the Office of Acquisition and Technology. DOD is the largest construction agent in the world; the Army Corps of Engineers and the Naval Facility Engineering Command build billions of dollars worth of buildings each year. They have many professional people who want to do a better job. Conclusions I have tried to make the case that personnel productivity, life-cycle costs, long-term operations and maintenance, and mission support are all important considerations that must be reemphasized. The federal government, and the nation as a whole, must abandon the habit of short-term optimization. Members of Congress tend to look ahead two years or in the Senate six years. We in the Department of Defense, because of the way we move military personnel around from job to job, tend to look ahead three years, if we are lucky. Meanwhile, for lack of attention to life-cycle costs, our road systems are falling apart, we are not paying attention to energy conservation anymore, barring a crisis; and we are not getting the benefits we should from our buildings. We are all responsible as citizens for making that clear to our government. Otherwise we will continue to slide down the slope. The bottom line is we all must continually improve or get worse. In the Department of Defense, we exist to continuously improve the defense of America and be a leader in the architect/engineering community.