Outcry Over Facilities’ Deferred Maintenance

  April 3, 2018

By Dan Hounsell

Deferred maintenance remains a monumental challenge for a host of institutional and commercial facilities. In many cases, organizations decide their funds are better spent on building new facilities than maintaining existing structure. As a result, facades begin to crumble, roofs start to leak, and HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems become inefficient and require increasing amounts of staffing and materials to keep in operation.

The ongoing and frustrating challenge for maintenance and engineering managers is to stretch the valuable resources in their departments to meet the growing demands of aging facilities. In a growing number of cases, building occupants express their frustration with the state of their facilities that have been plagued by deferred maintenance.

Learn: Strategies for Tackling Deferred Maintenance

Recently, dozens of Brooklyn College students protested their school’s abysmal conditions on campus, joined by around 100 students from other schools in the City University of New York rallying at a rare open meeting of the system’s board of trustees, according to an article in Brooklyn Paper.

The students complained that they are sick of the missing ceiling tiles, broken bathrooms, and lack of adequate funding at Brooklyn College. Faculty agreed, slamming Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget, saying it cut funds to city, further squeezing the university system. The problems go beyond unabated asbestos, damaged walls, and out-of-order bathrooms, the students complain, extending to inadequate funding of the school’s programs. The music major who runs the Facebook page complains that many of the music professors are adjuncts only working part time, making it difficult to get help learning new pieces of music, for example.

Read: The Real Cost of Deferred Maintenance

“We’ve suffered badly from the withdrawal of state funding,” says Brooklyn College biology teacher Peter Lipke to the board at the hearing. “Our beautiful campus is crumbling.” The clock tower in the center of campus has come to symbolize the school’s failing infrastructure. “Our gorgeous clock tower,” says Corrinne Greene, a junior studying theater, “the symbol of our school, recently stopped functioning.”

A college spokesman says the school is working with the city and the state to make upgrades. “Most of the buildings at Brooklyn College are more than 50 years old, and are challenged by decades of deferred maintenance,” says the spokesman.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell — dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com — editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.


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