Today’s facility condition assessments (FCAs) are static snapshots of a facility at one moment in time. They’re outdated as soon as they’re published. That’s because the facility continues to change after the data collection is completed. Building owners use them once and then shelve them until it’s time to do another one.
On top of that, most AEC firms do FCAs pretty much the same way and deliver roughly the same results —making it difficult to stand out in a competitive market.
Overcoming these challenges requires a fresh approach that addresses the inherent problems in the standard FCA.
Problem #1: Paper Makes a Poor FCA
Why? Because it’s overwhelming and difficult for your clients to navigate.
A typical FCA report binder could hold well over 20,000 pages. A PDF version of an FCA can be just as large. Imagine trying to find the page for a single air handler among all that information. The majority of the data is inaccessible to your clients because it’s so difficult to sort through, making it ultimately unusable. The report becomes a glorified paperweight and eventually winds up in the trash can.
Here’s the dirty secret of paper FCA reports─most clients only look at the capital expenditure recommendations. All the rest of those thousands of pages just sit on the shelf as a shrine to all the hard work that was done.
Static FCAs aren’t all that helpful to anyone because they quickly become outdated. As the AEC firm conducting the assessment, you have to redo all the work from scratch every time a new FCA is needed. Meanwhile, the building owner is left without much usable data or insights over the long term.
Problem #2: The Current FCA Process is Broken
The traditional way of doing FCAs is flawed for two main reasons:
- Bad facility data
- Complex, poorly implemented FM software
Most facility teams don't have good facilities information to begin with─which makes it nearly impossible to create a truly accurate FCA. The building team may have a CMMS that records preventive maintenance history. But reactive maintenance history is usually a lot harder to track down.
Does this hypothetical situation sound familiar? Your FCA engineer wants to know the complete maintenance history for air handler unit 62. He asks the facility team for the CMMS export on that asset. But it only shows some of the preventive maintenance history─no reactive maintenance.
That’s because whenever air handler 62 has been serviced, it’s treated as a work order issue instead of an asset-specific issue. Occupants complain that the room air handler 62 services is always too hot, so the maintenance team resolves the issue and closes the work order. But that maintenance isn’t associated with air handler 62 in the CMMS.
When it comes time to review maintenance history, your engineer and the building’s facility team don’t know about all that reactive maintenance done on air handler 62. Multiply that by the thousands of assets in a building and you see how difficult it is to get an accurate read on what’s happening.
Another hurdle blocking good FCA results is facility management systems that are so complicated that people don’t use them. Say your client’s facilities manager wants to associate a photo with an asset in their system. Seems easy enough─until they realize the asset isn’t named correctly, so they can’t even find it.
Many legacy systems are complex and not always implemented correctly. As a result, maintenance teams may struggle to find or input data in the system.
What if creating an accurate FCA didn’t feel like pulling teeth? What if the end product was so helpful your clients would line up to get it?
It’s absolutely possible─good data and good tools are completely reforming FCAs and facilities management.
You (and Your Clients) Deserve Better FCAs
One of the main reasons traditional FCAs exist is to show building operators how to spend capital. But it’s a very reactive way of doing things. A facilities team lets assets deteriorate and then brings you in to conduct an FCA so you can tell them where the most desperate needs are.
But that was then. This is now. Thanks to better technology, FCAs are becoming more proactive and able to support more predictive facilities management. Instead of a once-every-five-years-snapshot of a facility, the FCA data can live on in a facilities management platform where it can be constantly updated over time.
That means your client can leverage their facility condition data every day for better decision making and capital planning. The FCA becomes an opportunity for you to regularly come in and validate your client’s facility data, ensure everything is still up to date and give your expert opinion on any problem areas.
Purpose-built software tools not only serve as a place to store and maintain facility condition data─they’re also revolutionizing the FCA process itself. How? By facilitating better data collection.
FCA software enables:
- Faster onsite collection: Add photos and enter information directly into the platform as you go.
- Greater accuracy: Ensures you enter all necessary information correctly before letting you move on.
- Reduced risk of data loss: Input data into the system as you collect it to reduce the risk of the facility data being lost due to a computer crash or misplaced notes.
Suddenly, you can complete FCAs so much faster─and feel confident that the underlying data is complete and accurate.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg of benefits FCA software can bring to your firm. From more competitive FCA deliverables to realizing untapped money-making opportunities, FCA software is bringing incredible technological innovation to an area that has historically been overlooked.
Why shouldn’t your firm get to benefit? Download the ebook Bring Your FCA to Life: Transform Your AEC Firm with FCA Software to learn:
- Four disadvantages of traditional, static FCAs
- Eight ways FCA software provides a more valuable end product
- Six ways your firm is losing money without FCA software
- How to determine the ROI of FCA software for your firm