How Strategic Asset Management Can Help With School Facilities Capital Planning

4 minutes

You’ve watched backlogs grow, and you know a little something about “living into your budget.” According to the 2021 ASCE School Infrastructure Report Card53% of public school districts report the need to update or replace multiple building systems.” And that’s just a hint of the data that contributed to ASCE’s D+ grade for school facilities. 

But just like a teacher who sees through a student’s grade to their potential, something told you your facilities can do a lot better than a D+, regardless of your budget constraints. You sensed there was a way to get clearer on your bigger systems picture and chip away toward progress. 

That way is called strategic asset management. And the term is less important than what it can do for you.

Let’s take a look at the top three ways strategic asset management can help today with the facilities capital planning at your school or educational organization.

1. Gain full control of your building systems

The first step in improving your facilities capital planning is to better understand everything you own. This information feeds your CMMS (like Asset Essentials™).

Why it’s important: If you have a full understanding of what you have, then you can move beyond estimates and spreadsheets — which can get used past their expiration date and stuck in a silo. You have accurate, up-to-date data that all your constituents can see, and that you can base future planning on.

In partnership with an implementations team, you’ll record:

  • All the systems you own, across buildings and facilities
  • The lifecycle attributes of these systems, from roofing down to floor finishes
  • Logical groupings for everything

What you can do with this new data:

  • More accurately size and categorize your deferred maintenance
  • Create models and visualizations to help look beyond today’s needs
  • Form best practice data gathering and sharing going forward

This data-driven approach moves your institution out of the land of estimates and into the driver’s seat of your planning.

2. Transform a deferred maintenance monolith into a prioritized plan

Now that you have a full asset registry for your facility systems, together with the budget data you’ve entered into your SAM (or strategic asset management) system, you can begin to reap the full benefits of this approach. And this is the fun part — where you can accelerate and see the results of multiple what-if scenarios in minutes.

Without any special training, your team can run systems lifecycle modeling from Capital Predictor Core™ for Asset Essentials™. From these simulations, you’ll see the results of three different funding scenarios and know:

  • Your worst case scenario. If you do nothing, how long will it actually take for your facility systems to fail?
  • When your capital needs will arise. Modeling out up to 30 years into the future, see when you will need to make investments to better plan for the future. (With more accurate data to model from, this could be sooner or later than you thought, but it’s no longer a guesstimate.)
  • The best your current budget can do. Run a lifecycle replacement model to figure out how conditions and service look within your current constraints.
  • What will happen if your spending goes up or down. See the impact of a budget increase or decrease on your systems.
  • What happens when you optimize your treatment plan. Say you have a student district of 5,000 with a $6M facilities system replacement value. Over 30 years, if you spend $140 million per year, what does your system condition look like with that capital renewal?
  • What your real priorities are. Find out if there is a specific building or even a specific school in your district that is in danger of being left behind and prioritize everything that comes after. Now that you are going beyond the basics of system age + total replacement cost, you can agree on what these are.

3. Communicate better with constituents across the board

You know that having all the data in the world won’t matter if you can’t communicate it in a way that everyone can understand. With the outputs of strategic asset management, you’ll have:

  • Data visualizations to support the results of your what-if funding and treatment scenarios, and strengthen your story
  • An interactive project planner so you can phase projects more efficiently according to location, needs and resources
  • Real-time tips on how to optimize your planning based on the latest data available
  • Outputs you can print and drop into live presentations and evaluations without extra legwork

Strategic asset management is another way of saying 'find new ways to help your facility systems live up to their fullest potential.'

You can revisit annually or quarterly and commit to making your plan a living document. And then you can shift focus away from the list of busted boilers and dangling acoustic tiles, and toward predicting and meeting the learning needs of your community.

Learn more about Capital Predictor or schedule a demo with one of our experts to see how you can simplify your capital planning process.