Building Operating Management

Careful Evaluation Of Capital And Operating Dollars Can Help Sell Projects





The first step is a careful evaluation of how every dollar is spent, says R.C. Herrin, executive director of maintenance and operations, Hays Consolidated Independent School District.

"How is it going to impact the reduction of energy consumption?" Herrin says. "How's it going to take care of a deferred maintenance need, how is it going to reduce maintenance necessary to maintain a particular item, and what's the return on investment?"

This certainly isn't a new idea; facilities management has never been a blank check area of business. But what's been more of a challenge recently is that even if you can show that a project will pay for itself in a reasonable amount of time, the up-front investment is often not available.

"It's hard to get those funds even though you can show 'you know, if we spend this money on a lighting retrofit, we can get this money back in three years,'" says Kevin Folsom, director of facilities and plant operations, Dallas Theological Seminary.

Bert Gumeringer, director of facilities, Texas Children's Hospital, says health care facility managers have another large monkey wrench to dodge. With the Affordable Care Act being upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court, health care organizations have to start considering its full impact as more pieces of it come online over the next couple years. That leads to a tight hold on the budget, Gumeringer says.

"There's so much that is not known at this point that I think most health care organizations are going to be very conservative in their approach to spending and will try to rein in costs wherever they can," he says.

What that means for his department is a more comprehensive sales pitch is required. That's something that has actually become a benefit, because it requires a sound argument for why a piece of building equipment shouldn't automatically lose out to an MRI machine when they're competing for capital dollars.

To be able to make those sales pitches as well as make sure money is being spent effectively, Gumeringer is focusing on managing information. While buildings and equipment are getting smarter all the time, gathering, collating and making use of the data they can provide can still be frustrating.

"In the morning, when I come to work, I hop in my Texas Cadillac — which is a pickup truck — and I look at my dash and I look at my gauges," he says. "It tells me my oil pressure, my water temperature, my fuel, my battery, how fast I'm going — it tells me all of those things immediately. But when I walk into my office, I don't have a single tool that tells me all of that."

The hospital is working on a platform that will allow all of that information to be accessible in one place, giving Gumeringer and his team the ability to tell what's going on in the entire organization at a glance.

 

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  posted on 9/14/2012   Article Use Policy

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