Facilities Renewal Resource Model helps UT Keep Track of Maintenance Needs
University of Texas – Office of Facilities and Planning Construction
University campuses fight the same fight when it comes to upkeep on large buildings spread across sprawling campuses. Age, weather, exposure and design are all pieces in the facilities management puzzle.
The University of Texas uses a Web-based planning tool – the Facilities Renewal Resource Model (FRRM) – as one of the planning tools to document its deferred maintenance and estimate the annual funding required for ongoing capital renewal.
“The software system allows us to keep up with our buildings and systems by estimating their lifecycle” says Charlie Brady, with the university’s office of facilities planning and construction.
The FRRM software is online 365 days a year and updated by representatives within various departments, including information such as building name, age, square footage, the age of air conditioning units and more.
The FRRM helps university officials:
- predict building systems replacement or renewal scheduling and associated costs on a campus and system-wide basis;
- estimate and update the magnitude of deferred maintenance backlog; and
- have a sustainable planning tool that includes broad profiles of each building, is easy to update and is inexpensive to maintain.
The university bought the software system in 2001 from California-based Pacific Partners Consulting and pays $22,000 for yearly license and maintenance fees and updates. It helps identify those areas that need to be looked at carefully and helps university budget officers when it comes to renewal expenditures.
Several parameters are fundamental to the FRRM and its use as a planning tool:
- Building systems have predictable life cycles based on age, construction or quality of manufacture, which can be fine tuned by collecting and incorporating data on system history and performance.
- The remaining life of each building and its systems can be estimated.
- Reinvestment needs vary year-over-year and can be 200 to 300 percent higher than average during years when major repairs are required.
- Renewal costs can be estimated.
- If a renewal project is not funded in the year it is needed, its cost moves into the deferred maintenance backlog and affects future renewal costs.
In the end, the software is a powerful ally in building maintenance and renewal forecasting, when coordinated with visual inspection and subsequent facility assessments, Brady says.
“Visual inspection is still the best, if you have the means to do it,” he says. “But it’s a very expensive process, especially if you do it by contract. The software system allows us to keep up with our buildings and systems by estimating their lifecycle.”