The committee’s task was to develop methods, strategies, and procedures to predict outcomes anticipated from investments in federal facilities maintenance and repair. To fulfll its task, the committee was asked to address the following questions:
• Are there ways to predict or quantify the outcomes that can be expected from a given level of investment in maintenance and repair of federal facilities or facilities’ systems?
• What risks do deteriorating facilities, deteriorating building systems (such as mechanical and electrical), or deteriorating components (such as roofs and foundations) pose to the achievement of a federal agency’s mission or to other organizational outcomes (for example, physical security, operating costs, worker recruitment and retention, and healthcare costs)?
• Do such risks vary by facility type (such as Offices, hospitals, industrial, and laboratories), by system, or by function (such as research and administrative)? Can the risks be quantified?
• What strategies, measures, and data should be in place to determine the outcomes of facilities maintenance and repair investments? How can those strategies, measures, and data be used to improve the outcomes of investments?
• Are there effective communication strategies that federal facilities program managers can use to inform decision-makers better about the cost-effectiveness of levels of investment in facilities’ maintenance and repair?
Chapters 1 through 5 provide context and address the various aspects of the
statement of task. The present chapter extracts the key findings of the report and presents seven recommendations for improving the outcomes of investments in maintenance and repair of federal facilities. Chapter 7 is intended to show how some of the recommendations could be implemented by federal facilities program managers.
Finding 1. An array of beneficial outcomes can be achieved through timely investments in facilities maintenance and repair (Table 6.1). Those outcomes support mission achievement, compliance with regulations, improved condition, efficient operations, and stakeholder-driven initiatives. All the outcomes can be measured. Some outcomes including reliability and physical condition can be predicted; that is, they can be estimated before an investment is made or if an investment is not made.
When federal facilities program managers identify maintenance and repair requirements, they typically include projects that focus on objectives related to a mission, to compliance with safety and health regulations, to improving facility condition or extending service life, to efficient operations, or to stakeholder-driven
TABLE 6.1 Beneficial Outcomes Related to Investments in Maintenance and Repair
|Mission-Related Outcomes||Compliance-Related Outcomes||Condition-Related Outcomes||Efficient Operations||Stakeholder-Driven Outcomes|
|Improved reliability||Fewer accidents and injuries||Improved condition||Less reactive. unplanned||Customer satisfaction|
|Improved productivity||Fewer building-related illnesses||Reduced backlog of deferred||maintenance and repair||Improved public image|
|Functionality Efficient space utilization||Fewer insurance claims, lawsuits, and regulatory violations||maintenance and repairs||Lower operating costs Lower life-cycle costs Cost avoidance|
|Reduced energy use|
|Reduced water use|
|Reduced greenhouse gas emissions|
requests. A wide array of beneficial outcomes can result from investments in maintenance and repair, many of which are interrelated. All the outcomes can be measured (as described in Chapter 7), although most of the measures are based on data that are gathered after the fact (“lagging measures”). Some outcomes, including reliability and physical condition (as opposed to financial condition) can be predicted by using processes such as reliability-centered maintenance or by using physical-condition models and indexes that calculate service life and remaining service life. No agency should expect to track all the outcomes. Instead, each agency will need to set priorities among the objectives and outcomes to be achieved through investments in maintenance and repair.
Finding 2. Deteriorating facilities and systems pose risks to the federal government, its agencies, its workforce, and the public. Among them are risks to the achievement of federal agencies’ missions; risks to safe, healthy, and secure workplaces; risks to the government’s fiscal soundness; risks to efficient and cost-effective operations; and risks to achieving public policy objectives.
Just as investments in maintenance and repair can have an array of beneficial outcomes, the lack of investment and the deferral of needed maintenance and repair projects can pose risks—measure of the probability and severity of adverse events. Adverse outcomes include interruptions in or stoppages of agency operations; accidents, injuries, and illnesses; lawsuits and insurance claims; increased operating costs; shortened service lives of equipment and components; diversion of constrained resources to excess, obsolete, and underutilized facilities; failure to meet public policy objectives; and damage to the federal government’s public image.
Risks will increase as federal facilities age and as building systems and components deteriorate through wear and tear and lack of investment in maintenance and repair. (Risks can also be related to geography, climate, and other factors.) Risks associated with deteriorating facilities and systems include risks to federal agencies’ missions; to safe, healthy, and secure workplaces; to the government’s fiscal soundness and public image; to efficient operations; and to the achievement of public policy objectives related to energy independence and environmental sustainability.
Finding 3. The risks associated with deteriorating facilities vary by type of facility, by system, by existing condition, by function, by utilization, and, most important, by the relationship of the facilities to an agency’s mission. Risks can be identified qualitatively and some can be quantified.
The missions and programs managed by federal departments and agencies vary widely. Such variation means that the risks associated with facilities and components will depend on the missions that they are intended to support. For
example, the risks associated with a failure in a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system in a research laboratory or museum that has historical artifacts will be different from the risks associated with a failure in an HVAC system in an Office building.
The mission-dependency index developed by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is a process-based index that incorporates operational risk management into facilities management. A series of models and indexes developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering Research and Development Center-Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL) can be used to identify and quantify the risk of failure of building components and systems and the risk of failure of some types of infrastructure. The USACE Inland Navigation Program is an example of a different approach that can be used to quantify risks and link maintenance and repair activities to a mission.
Finding 4. Excess, underutilized, and obsolete facilities constitute a drain on the federal government’s budget in costs and in forgone opportunities to invest in the maintenance and repair of mission-supportive facilities and to reduce energy use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Federal agencies report that they operate and maintain about 45,000 facilities that have become excess with respect to their missions or are underutilized. The total number of facilities that are technologically or otherwise obsolete is unknown. The cost to operate, maintain, and repair excess, underutilized, and obsolete facilities is more than $1.6 billion a year.
Private-sector organizations “have a direct incentive to dispose of unneeded facilities because they are a drain on organizational resources and are readily identifiable on their balance sheets” (NRC, 2004a, p. 97). Excess or underutilized facilities are disposed of through sales, demolition, or nonrenewal or termination of leases to free resources for other organizational requirements. In those ways, private-sector organizations manage the risk of fiscal exposure related to the owner ship of facilities, reduce their maintenance and repair requirements, and reduce facilities-related expenses such as property taxes and the costs of energy, water, insurance, and security. They also manage the risk to their public image posed by abandoned and poorly maintained facilities, which could affect the public’s willingness to buy their products (NRC, 2004a).
Representatives of IBM and General Motors (GM) emphasized that their organizations were unable to dispose of excess facilities effectively until the effort was managed by a central organization charged with that responsibility and the effort was funded to support the sale or demolition of excess facilities.
Two previous National Research Council studies, Stewardship of Federal Facilities: A Proactive Strategy for Managing the Nation’s Public Assets (1998), and Investments in Federal Facilities: Asset Management Strategies for the 21st
Century (2004a), have made recommendations related to the disposal of excess federal facilities. Intelligent Sustainment and Renewal of Department of Energy Facilities and Infrastructure (NRC, 2004b) outlined a process for decision-making about when to repair, replace, renovate or dispose of facilities.
If the disposal of excess properties by federal civilian agencies can be successfully implemented, the federal government would reduce its risk of fiscal exposure related to the ownership of buildings, reduce its total operating costs, and reduce its long-term maintenance and repair requirements and costs. Disposal of excess and underutilized facilities would also help to meet other public policy objectives related to reductions in the use of energy and water, and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. To realize those long-term savings and benefits, a coordinated, sustained, and funded effort will be required.
Finding 5. To manage and mitigate the risks posed by the ownership of facilities, high-performance private-sector organizations do the following:
• Systematically dispose of excess and underutilized facilities.
• Pursue a proactive strategy to minimize their total facilities “footprint.”
• Link maintenance and repair activities to the organization’s business or mission and set priorities among them.
• Correlate the effects of systems-related failures with the business or mission.
• Correlate delays in timely maintenance and repair with sustainment cost.
To reduce their maintenance and repair requirements, private-sector and other high-performance organizations proactively initiate strategies to minimize their total facilities footprint and the associated costs (such as the costs of equipment, furniture, and landscaping). Advances in technology allow telecommuting and other alternative work strategies that offer the potential for both public and private-sector organizations to reduce their required amounts of Office or administrative space substantially, and reduce their overall maintenance and repair requirements. Some federal agencies including the General Services Administration and the Patent and Trademark Office are implementing telework strategies and reducing their need for Office space. The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (PL 111-292) grants federal employees eligibility to telework and requires all federal agencies to establish telework policies. As the policies are implemented, there will be opportunities to reduce the overall federal facilities footprint further and to achieve substantial reductions in long-term maintenance and repair requirements and a more sustainable portfolio of federal facilities.
The primary objective of portfolio-based facilities management is to ensure that facilities-related investments enable an organization’s mission. Private-sector companies, such as GM and IBM, which produce vehicles and computers,
respectively, have been able to correlate the failure to invest in maintenance and repair with the mission of their organizations, which is to make a profit for their owners and shareholders. Some federal agencies—including the USACE, the Navy, NASA, and the Coast Guard—have also developed approaches for linking maintenance and repair investments to mission-related operations.
When failures do occur, some companies, such as GM, conduct a “root-cause analysis” to determine why they happened, determine the appropriate solutions, and then share the lessons learned with the managers of other facilities that may be at risk for similar failures. Root-cause analysis is a basic premise of reliability-centered maintenance, which is used by many industries, and is also being used to some degree in some federal agencies, including NASA and the Smithsonian Institution.
Delaying maintenance and repair of facilities can shorten the service lives of components and systems and ultimately result in an increase in sustainment cost. Service-life models and the Integrated Multiyear Prioritization and Analysis Tool (IMPACT) simulation model developed by ERDC-CERL can be used to quantify the costs of delaying repairs.
Finding 6. To make the outcomes of and risks posed by investments in maintenance and repair projects and activities transparent to decision-makers at all levels of the organization, facilities managers in high-performance organizations do the following:
• Aggregate maintenance and repair requirements for some facilities’ systems and components (such as life-safety systems and roofs) to provide for greater transparency and to identify operational efficiencies.
• Perform “knowledge-based” condition assessments; that is, tailor the frequency and level of inspection to the strategic importance of facilities and to the life cycle of systems and components to provide credible estimates of repair costs and remaining service lives.
• Measure outcomes as a basis of continuous improvement.
• Implement feedback systems to evaluate the performance of investments.
Each of the private-sector organizations interviewed for this study identified projects that must be funded within their organizations and then fund them through sources other than the maintenance and repair account. “Must fund” projects include ones that are required for an organization to be in compliance with government regulations (such as regulations related to worker health and safety and air and water quality) because the risks associated with non-compliance—substantial fines or legal action—are much greater than the costs of the projects themselves.
To provide greater transparency in the decision-making process related to investments in maintenance and repair, some private-sector organizations group their maintenance and repair projects by component, such as roofs, HVAC, and
fire protection. Grouping all the projects related to a component type makes the benefits and risks associated with projects more transparent to senior decision-makers. It also makes it easier for them to vet, screen, treat, and then set priorities among the projects that should be funded first to ensure that an organization’s profits are not adversely affected by unreliable facilities systems or components.
Condition assessments that are undertaken on a multiyear cycle and that are conducted for an entire portfolio of facilities can be inefficient and expensive and the information can lose its value for decision-making relatively quickly. Some organizations are taking a “knowledge-based” approach to condition assessment. The term knowledge-based is used “to indicate that knowledge (quantifiable information) about a facility’s system and component inventory is used to select the appropriate inspection type and schedule throughout a component’s life cycle. Thus, inspections are planned and executed on the basis of knowledge, not merely the calendar” (Uzarski et al., 2007). Because different building systems and components have different service lives and the risks associated with the failure of some may be greater than the risks associated with the failure of others, some systems and components are inspected more often than others and at different levels of detail. By tailoring the frequency and level of inspections, a knowledge-based approach makes better use of the resources available and provides more timely and accurate data to support investment-related decisions.
Most public-sector and private-sector organizations, including federal agencies, have implemented performance measurement as a basis of continuous improvement of facilities management and other processes. Some private-sector organizations also conduct a year-end evaluation of budget performance. That type of evaluation compares the “submitted budget” the “approved budget,” and the “actual funding spent” by line item. Where sizable variation exists (greater than 10 percent), the root cause of the deviation is analyzed by using the same basic process as would be used for analyzing equipment failures. The root cause of the deviation is then shared with senior decision-makers throughout the organization.
Finding 7. Investment strategies, definitions of maintenance and repair, maintenance and repair practices, and methods for budget development vary among federal agencies as a result of their different missions; the sizes, compositions, and distributions of their facilities; and their organizational cultures. The lack of common approaches makes it difficult to compare the effectiveness of maintenance and repair investments among federal agencies, to compare the benefits and pitfalls of different investment strategies, and to benchmark performance for the purpose of continuous improvement.
Between 2004 and the end of 2010, the Federal Real Property Council of the Office of Management and Budget issued guidance focused on improving the strategic management of federal buildings and structures, improving the management of the condition of facilities, developing asset management plans, implementing
controls to improve the reliability of facilities-related data, and developing a set of governmentwide performance measures related to the management of portfolios of facilities (GAO, 2011a). Although a great deal of progress has been made, more is required if federal agencies are to continue to improve the management of and investment in their portfolios of facilities.
Finding 8. Reliable and appropriate data and information are essential for measuring and predicting outcomes of investments in federal facilities maintenance and repair. An array of data, tools, and technologies is available to support strategic decision-making, to quantify outcomes and risks by using empirical data, to expedite data collection, and to reduce human errors and bias.
Many factors are driving a more strategic approach to facilities management, but information tools and technologies are enabling it. Information tools and technologies are now available to monitor facilities’ condition, energy use, and other performance dimensions and to collect data that can be used to reduce long-term costs, eliminate human error and bias, and increase operational efficiencies. Data and information can be the basis of higher situational awareness during decision-making, of transparency during the planning and execution of maintenance and repair activities, of an understanding of the consequences of alternative investment strategies, and of increased accountability. A wide array of tools and technologies are available to acquire and track data and to measure and predict outcomes of investments or the lack of investment.
Because the costs associated with data collection, analysis, and maintenance can be large, the committee believes that “no data before their time” should be an infrastructure-management tenet. Every system and data item should be directly related to decision-making at some level, and off-the-shelf decision-support systems should be fully integrated into decision-making processes. To the extent possible, data should be collected uniformly among federal agencies so that they will be more uniform and support the development of governmentwide performance measures and the greater use of benchmarking for agency practices and investment strategies.
Finding 9. Additional research and collaborative efforts are needed to continue to develop rapid and effective data-collection methods (such as the use of sensors and visual imaging devices), data definition and exchange standards that allow interoperability of data and software systems, and robust prediction models.
Technologies for various aspects of facilities management are continually advancing in their capabilities. Three technologies that could improve the collection and tracking of data, improve maintenance and repair activities, and provide
support for decision-making are self-configuring systems, machine vision, and building information modeling (BIM).
Although the benefits of BIMs for facilities management and operations are apparent, BIM technology in its current form is best categorized as an information repository. Improved data exchange standards and software systems are needed for full interoperability of data from many systems. Interoperability, in turn, will allow more seamless integration of the data and functionalities needed to support more strategic decision-making related to maintenance and repair investments and to document outcomes.
Federal agencies participate in and support a number of efforts to develop the data and exchange standards, protocols, standard definitions, and data items that are needed if BIM is to reach its full potential as a tool for portfolio-based facilities management.
Recommendation 1 (Findings 4 and 5). To better manage the economic, physical, and environmental risks associated with facilities ownership, the federal government and its agencies should embark on a coordinated, funded, and sustained effort to dispose of excess and underutilized facilities. They should also proactively reduce their total facilities footprint through alternative work strategies and other measures.
Recommendation 2 (Findings 1, 5, and 6). Federal agencies should develop more strategic approaches for investing in facilities maintenance and repair to achieve beneficial outcomes and to mitigate risks. Such approaches should do the following:
• Identify and set priorities among the outcomes to be achieved through maintenance and repair investments and link them to achievement of agencies’ missions and other public policy objectives.
• Provide a systematic approach to performance measurement, analysis, and feedback.
• Provide for greater transparency and credibility in budget development, decision-making, and budget execution.
Recommendation 3 (Findings 1, 2, and 3). To develop more strategic approaches to maintenance and repair investment, federal agencies should do the following:
• Identify and set priorities among the beneficial outcomes that are to be achieved through maintenance and repair investments, preferably in the form of a 5- to 10-year plan agreed on by all levels of the orga-
nizations. Elements of that type of plan are outlined in Chapter 7.
• Establish a risk-based process for setting priorities among annual maintenance and repair activities in the field and at the headquarters level. Guidance for doing that is contained in Chapter 7.
• Establish standard methods for gathering and updating data to provide credible, empirical information for decision support, to measure outcomes of investments in maintenance and repair, and to track and improve the results.
Recommendation 4 (Finding 6). Federal facilities program managers should plan for multiple internal and external communications when presenting maintenance and repair requests to other decision-makers and staff. The information communicated should be accurate, acknowledge uncertainties, and be available in multiple forms to meet the needs of different audiences. The basis of prediction of outcomes of a given level of investment in maintenance and repair should be transparent and available to decision-makers.
Recommendation 5 (Finding 7). Federal agencies and other appropriate organizations should continue to collaborate to develop and refine governmentwide measures for outcomes of maintenance and repair investments and to develop more standardized practices, unambiguous procedures, definitions, and models. The committee believes that those activities would be most effective if under the auspices of the Office of Management and Budget.
Recommendation 6 (Findings 6 and 8). Federal agencies should avoid the collection of data that serve no immediate mission-related purpose. Agencies should use a “knowledge-based” approach to condition assessment. Outcome metrics and models should make maximum use of existing data. When new or unique data are required to support the development of an outcome measure or model, there should be a clearly defined benefit to offset the cost of collecting and maintaining them.
Recommendation 7 (Findings 8 and 9). Federal agencies should continue to participate in and take advantage of collaborative efforts to develop rapid and effective data-collection methods (such as the use of sensors and visual imaging devices), to develop data-exchange standards that allow inter operability of data and software systems, to develop the empirical information needed for robust prediction models, and to develop practices that will reduce the cost of data collection and eliminate human error and bias.