Home » U.S. Dept. of Defense to Standardize On Publicly Available Facilities Assessment Software System
On Sept. 10, Frank Kendall, the U.S. Dept. of Defense under secretary for acquisitions, logistics and technology, issued a memorandum notifying officials at all military components of the DoD and the Washington Headquarters Service that they will all be required, within five years, to adopt and implement a common, standardized set of processes and tools for lifecycle management of their engineered facilities assets.
The common process incorporates the Sustainment Management System (SMS), a suite of decision-support software and an infrastructure condition assessment methodology that has been developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center - Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Ill. The system includes several software products developed and improved at CERL over four decades, including the programs BUILDER, ROOFER, PAVER AND RAILER, each of which provides a systematic framework for consistently evaluating and rating the condition of those assets.
In the memorandum Kendall directs that organizations, which include all of the armed services, should ensure that a facility condition index for each asset on their installations, including facilities occupied or used by tenant organizations "is properly recorded in their respective real property databases, with inspections using the SMS standard process completed for all facilities and facility components within 5 years of the date of the memorandum."
The Department of Defense owns about 550,000 real property assets, which include almost 300,000 buildings comprising 2.3 billion sq ft. The plant replacement value of the portfolio, as of the end of fiscal year 2012, was $827.9 billion.
"SMS began as Engineered Management Systems with PAVER, developed at CERL and first released in the early 1980s," explained CERL spokeswoman Dana Finney in an e-mail exchange. "The technology has greatly evolved since then and the other modules (RAILER, ROOFER and BUILDER) were later developed (also at CERL) using the same concept of an objective, repeatable condition index rating. Installations often rely on contractors to implement their SMSs, which has created a whole new cottage industry of vendors who provide this service," she explained.
“This is big news, although I knew it was coming,” says Brent Anderson, founder of FM Projects, a Burbank, Calif.-based facilities management software consultant and one of five firms listed as an authorized distributor for one module of software used in the system, BUILDER. “It produces a standard," Anderson says. "I believe standards are always a good thing. That’s my business—to create and enforce standards. Then you are going to get the same results.”