Tag Archives: Facilities Documentation

Form Follows Function…Unless It’s An Existing BCS Form

The existing Building Condition Survey (BCS) Form lumps lots of different system types into one category which makes it difficult to access these vital building components, and easy to omit or miss critical systems that should be assessed.

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School Facility Reports Cards, five-year Capital Improvement Plans, and Building Condition Surveys all mention the need to keep major systems upgraded. The attached communications section taken from the 2010 BCS is the only place to document the condition of all of a school’s Communications and information-based systems, and related infrastructure.

If you look at the list of all these building systems (as many as 20), they would all likely have different:

  • Conditions
  • Dates for year of last major Reconstruction/Replacement
  • Estimate years of expected remaining life.

In past technology surveys, I’ve expanded the Comments section to try to document as much of this information as possible to have supporting documentation for the corresponding five-year Capital Improvement Plan.

But not all consultants performing Building Condition Surveys have the same background so another consultant may decide that Communications Systems is limited to Public Address (PA), and will consequently neither access nor document the condition of other systems This can lead to the exclusion of major technology-based systems such as Telephone, Data Network and Access Control from your 5-year Plan.

Do you think it makes sense to expand the BSC forms to include technology infrastructure and systems?

DonBrownThanks for reading and I’d be interested to hear from you.

— Don Brown, P.E., CLA Consultant

Electronic Facility Records (EFR) Give Documentation New Life And Value

A Repository, Process and Management System For Facility Systems Information

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So your most recent project is over and, if you’re like most people, you assume you have complete documentation for everything that was done. But do you know that for certain?

As soon as system components are added or changed, documentation is no longer up to date: after changes increase above 10%, the as-built documentation starts to lose its value. Who’s updating your documentation and how? And who can access it quickly during an emergency when the right information can dramatically slash system outage times?

And how was the Facility Manager’s retirement party? How much institutional knowledge did that person take home in their heads?

Organizations of all kinds can no longer afford to be complacent about their facility systems documentation. What is needed is a process to collect all documentation and keep it updated, along with a system for organization and access.

Electronic Facility Records (EFR) is akin to Electronic Medical Records but for buildings instead of people. EFR consists of two key components:

  • An electronic repository of facility information that is instrumental for building operations and maintenance.
  • A process of collecting, organizing and updating the facility information.

An Electronic Facility Records Management System (EFRMS) is an electronic system used to store, organize and control access to EFR information.

These three components—repository, process and system—create a foundation to reduce facility maintenance costs with secure access to mission-critical, up-to-date information.

EFR project documentation keeps facility systems drawings, project files, and O&M information current, organized and accessible for the life of the building. It also allows centralized facility documentation storage and access by everyone who needs it instead of residing on someone’s laptop or, worse, only on their head.

Future blog posts will to discuss the importance of EFR, how it can help improve technical knowledge management, and the process needed to obtain it. I welcome your feedback, questions and opinions on this new topic that transcends industries and profession.

DonBrown— Don Brown, P.E., Electronic Facility Records (EFR) Subject Matter Expert (SME)