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s MAINTENANCE MANAGEMENT Inadequate funding is the most significant maintenance and repair (M&R) problem for public buildings, but the committee recognizes as well the need for effective management of the M&R function to realize the full benefit of funds that are made available. While this report is not meant to be a comprehensive treatment of overall maintenance management, the committee wishes to emphasize the importance of certain specific issues: cost accounting, staff resources, and management commitment. COST ACCOUNTING STRUCTURES The cost accounting structure used by an agency should separately identify costs associated with M&R. Unfortunately, this separation is not now strictly defined in many agencies. Often budgets and expenditures are aggregated under a general heading of "Operations and Maintenance," and decision makers perceive only the whole of O&M and not its parts. Under pressures to reduce budgets, the O&M total may be cut without recognition that the operating portion is essentially irreducible. The reduction in funds then falls into the M&R portion of the O&M effort. The cost accounting structure should also isolate minor altera- tions and improvements from routine M&R. Building users often desire minor alterations and improvements intended to improve the efficiency of their operation.~7 Often this work is given a higher priority than true M&R and, thus, represents a "leakage" of M&R funds. i7 The committee observes that such "improvements in operations" are in fact often responses to requests by senior managers or commanding officers for changes in facilities. 25
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STAFF RESOURCES Managing and operating an M&R program requires qualified engineers and technicians as well as trained managers. Agencies should assign to a senior executive the responsibility for oversight of M&R of -field-level activities and budget formu- lation. In some agencies an executive-level manager for M&R would be required full time; in other agencies the task may be delegated as a part-time responsibility. Finding qualified engineers and technicians to staff M&R programs is a recurrent problem. Many agencies successfully contract for some or all M&R functions, but the committee believes that agency personnel should set requirements, establish procedures, and assure the quality of the work. Staffing with qualified people becomes more difficult as buildings become more complex, notably in their control systems. Education and training of M&R management and technical personnel are an important element of an effective M&R pro- gram. The committee recommends that colleges and universities that educate facilities managers emphasize the importance of M&R management. Agencies should include ongoing training for their staffs. It must be recognized-that facilities maintenance and management personnel are responsible for major assets that contribute to the productivity and welfare of the organizations and individuals who use these facilities. MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT With this recognition must come an ongoing commitment by top-level agency management to the protection of the public's real property investment. This commitment should extend through the entire agency from the users of the building to the M&R program managers to the financial managers. The com- mittee observes that such commitment is seldom in evidence in public agencies but is characteristic of many manufacturing concerns where M&R are viewed as tantamount to maintaining ~8 A survey conducted by a standing committee of the Federal Construction Council revealed that among the 11 responding agencies the percentage of O&M needs met through contracting out ranged from 5 percent or less for three agencies to 50 percent or more for four agencies (Federal Construction Council, The Experience of Federal Agencies with Onerations and Maintenance Contracts for Facilities, Technical Report No. 90, Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1988~. 26
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the ability to operate and produce goods. Elected officials and the public at large, as well as agency managers, must recognize that effective use of public resources and tax dollars depends on the performance of the government's facilities. This commitment is especially important when new facilities are constructed, which some managers and officials may assume have less need of maintenance than older ones. This assumption is misguided and can undermine the benefits that new facilities and new technologies are intended to provide. 27
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