Software Helps Virginia Department of General Services
The Commonwealth of Virginia owns approximately 120 million square feet spread across 12,000 facilities. The Virginia Department of General Services directly manages about 6.45 million square feet of these buildings, many of which are historic.
In 2004, the Auditor of Public Accounts was directed to determine the amount of deferred maintenance in the Commonwealth and propose options to fund the backlog of deferred maintenance and ongoing major maintenance needs. The auditor’s report indicated a lack of accountability for facility condition in the Commonwealth, budgeting based on historical needs instead of current data, incomplete inventory of state-owned facilities, and the lack of a maintenance policy.
The report concluded that capital outlay and maintenance programs were not functioning as intended and that the growing deferred maintenance backlog would continue to accelerate if the programs were not reformed. Report recommendations included reforming the operating, maintenance and capital outlay budget process; establishing a standard condition level for state-owned assets that agencies would be required to reach; requiring agencies to demonstrate their performance on operating and continuous maintenance; and establishing a capital preservation and renewal reserve fund for long-term funding.
As part of the review process, the auditor procured VFA.facility capital planning and management software to develop and implement a system to be used for gathering information on the maintenance needs of all Commonwealth-owned buildings. The resulting facility inventory and condition assessment system (FICAS), a centralized web-based facility database, went live in 2005 and was transferred to Department of General Services.
Facility data entered into FICAS was gathered using a variety of methods. Facility condition assessments were conducted by an outside vendor or by Virginia agency personnel with appropriate experience and training. With limited resources for hiring outside vendors and training staff, a third solution was to use VFA.auditor, a self-assessment solution that uses guided surveys to gather facility data.
Agencies can now forecast funding needs, prioritize work items and projects, bundle work items and produce volume savings, and negotiate bids using baseline cost estimates. With decision-support software and reliable, up-to-date facility condition information, the Commonwealth can identify and rank maintenance, capital renewal and renovation projects; estimate financial requirements; and develop capital plans.