In Focus: The Benefits of Guided Facility Self-Assessments
Keith O'Leary, Director of Product Marketing, VFA, Inc. (July 2011)

For organizations with large real estate holdings, accurate facility condition data is absolutely necessary. Maintaining property in good condition is a costly proposition, and it's often difficult to know how best to spend on deferred maintenance. Priorities for spending are almost always based on key organizational goals such as risk mitigation and business continuity. Therefore, having access to comprehensive and accurate condition data that can be used to identify areas of risk and to set objective priorities is critical in making informed facility capital planning decisions.

Technology and experience each play a pivotal role in how facility condition assessments are performed and what data will be collected. The high profile assets of a portfolio often mandate a detailed periodic assessment by seasoned professionals. But what about the geographically isolated or low-profile assets? Or assets that may have undetected and significant issues? In practice, more times than not, these assets do not undergo detailed condition assessments; it is simply too expensive to justify the benefits. The cost of a full assessment can be prohibitive for an entire portfolio, and this can prove to be a dilemma for facility and building managers needing to justify the necessary funds to adequately maintain facilities.

All told, organizations employ a variety of methods for collecting facility condition data. One method that continues to emerge is guided self-assessments using Web-based mobile surveys to standardize data collection, reporting, and analysis. Guided self-assessments that are driven by professionally designed building system surveys deliver a comprehensive assessment that includes remediation definition and estimated costs. Utilizing existing facility staff or with assistance from maintenance partners, guided self-assessments can be the means to expanded and more cost-effective collection of condition data.

There are several ways organizations benefit from guided self-assessments: