Emory Report
October 31, 2005
Volume 58, Number 9


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October 31 , 2005
Facility-condition audit evaluates Emory buildings

Barbara Stark is manager of training and communications for Campus Services.

In the mid- to late 1990s, Emory identified the need to conduct a comprehensive survey of the condition of its building inventory. The contract company ISES was selected to provide facility condition assessment (FCA) services; to date, ISES has inspected some 150 facilities and more than 6 million square feet of space on Emory’s Atlanta campus and the Oxford campus.

An FCA is a visual, non-destructive inspection of facilities to determine long-range needs. Emory’s FCA not only determined buildings’ current status but also projected, identified and prioritized needs for facilities renewal over the next 10 years. As conditions dictate, the FCA recommends systems or components for major repair. Facilities are analyzed for compliance with new building codes and standards (i.e., life safety codes, Americans With Disabilities Act compliance, governing building codes, etc.).

In 2003, ISES inspected 15 campus housing facilities totaling more than 670,000 gross square feet (GSF) for the Office of University Housing. In 2004, ISES inspected another 73 facilities, representing nearly 4.7 million GSF on the Atlanta campus, for Facilities Management. ISES currently is in the process of adding to the database assessments of fraternity and theme houses; the Clairmont Child Care building; campus roads, parking lots and sidewalks; Houston Mill House; and Turner Village.

An integral part of the FCA process is the calculation of a Facility Condition Needs Index (FCNI). This index is calculated by comparing total facility deficiencies to total replacement cost; the lower the FCNI score, the better a facility’s condition. For Emory, the overall FCNI is 0.18, which ISES says is
33 percent lower than the norm (0.27) it encounters at other institutions.

The index can be used to compare one building to another, one group to another or even one campus to another. Different standards apply based on whether single buildings or groups of buildings are being compared, with different target FCNIs for each group (for example, research labs must be maintained to a higher standard than administrative and support facilities).

Based on the FCNI scores, buildings recommended for renewal can be grouped into four tiered categories:
• Priority Class 1: critical, life safety and code-related
(immediate correction needed)
• Priority Class 2: potentially critical (should be corrected within year 1)
• Priority Class 3: necessary, not yet critical (correct within years 2–5)
• Priority Class 4: recommended (correct within years 6–10)

At Emory, priorities 1 and 2 account for only 19 percent of total backlog. Priorities 3 and 4 account for the remaining 81 percent, with more than three-quarters of work scheduled within the first five years (though the preponderance of items due during the next five years indicates that facility conditions for this group of buildings may shift from above to below average if adequate funding is not secured).

Seventy percent of University building assets (and 71 percent of the total GSF) have been graded in fair condition or better. The FCNI comparisons also can help determine which buildings should be replaced in lieu of renovation and predict what levels of funding are necessary.

With all University buildings evaluated under the same unbiased system, Emory can better plan, budget and prioritize future capital expenditures, as well as facility replacements.