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Charlotte County, Fla.


Capital Asset Management System

During the economic downturn in 2007, the Charlotte County Facilities Construction and Maintenance Department (Department) experienced significant budget cuts and staff reductions, which impacted its preventive maintenance programs. Necessary equipment replacement and capital repair and maintenance of facilities went underfunded for eight years, causing a cascade of deferred maintenance items to accumulate. The department became reactive, making costly repairs to equipment instead of proactive life-cycle maintenance and replacement.

In 2012 and beginning of 2013, it was decided that the county could not keep reacting to major costly and unforeseen repairs. Department management began to develop viable strategies to get building infrastructure into acceptable condition and then continue to maintain those assets in a preventative, proactive manner. In addition, this plan was to help address budgeting and cost impacts in a more sustainable manner.

Realizing that an inventory and audit of county-owned assets was the first step in addressing recovery, the department issued an RFP for consulting services that would include deployment of a cloud-based asset management program. Once implemented, building systems in over 110 facilities comprising over 1.7 million square feet were assessed in detail. After 18 months of analysis and correlation of results, the system revealed upward of $14.6 million in critical asset deficiencies needing to be addressed over the next five years. The department prioritized deferred maintenance and implemented capital maintenance plans (CMP) budgeted at $4.5 to $5 million over each of the next five years to achieve an acceptable Facility Condition Index (FCI) rating of “Good” (0.0-0.5).

The Capital Asset Management System integrates the condition assessments of the major infrastructure systems within a building system. This enables the department to manage and interact with a comprehensive data portfolio, managing and planning for life cycles of individual components and of the entire system to the desired level of detail. The software also allows the department to add new assessments and update existing databases through mobile technology. This allows adding deeper levels of assessment to existing assets if necessary.

The first and major challenge was literally how to accomplish all the deferred maintenance tasks identified in the annual lists. Staffing, having been depleted over many years, was skilled but insufficient. In the rapidly accelerating economic climate, bidding and contracting for individual items up to 80 per year was impractical. The solution was to develop a construction management RFP to solicit a general contractor to serve as a construction manager for the entire annual list. The RFP included a menu of each task and its approximate budget. The CM is required to complete the full list of tasks in the fiscal year in which it is budgeted. This approach requires one full-time employee to monitor the projects and maintain the asset management system updates but has worked well. Managing the budgeting and allocation of expenses for each individual task against the county’s cost-center-based budgeting software is another major challenge. To address this, each task is given a unique item number. Depending on the location and funding source (ad valorem, fire assessment, utility enterprise fund, etc.) the items are assigned respective account numbers based on initial cost estimates. As items are completed, each account is assessed the actual cost. Surplus funds simply accumulate, but deficits must be borrowed against funding for other tasks budgeted against the same fund, in some instances requiring postponing those tasks to the following year. This system works well to keep funding streams and spending transparent, and still addresses higher priority tasks.

This program has enabled the department to become more effective, efficient, proactive and good stewards to both the county’s assets and the taxpayer’s money. This program has given the department a tool to manage and plan for existing and future building maintenance budgets meeting the expectations of the board of county commissioners and the public alike. The department is not only using the system to manage deferred maintenance, but also to guide staffing needs, budget planning, create a comprehensive capital management plan (CMP) and effectively communicate to administration, commission and other departments for planning purposes. The success of this has lessened the burden on the department to try to identify the unforeseen maintenance and costs associated along with creating good budgets and planning for the future.

In-house Participants

David Milligan, PLA 809, LEED AP ID+C; Randy Cole, Ffcilities Mmnager; Roger Warner, PMP, facilities manager; Roger Hooghkirk, facilities manager

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