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Evolution of Facility Condition Assessments (FCAs) – Part 1 – Reports, Reports, Reports

Evolution of Facility Condition Assessments (FCAs) – Part 1 – Reports, Reports, Reports

As we are in the middle of Fall conference season, I have been having many conversations about facility and infrastructure asset management, including outlining our approach and philosophy to providing Facility Condition Assessments (FCAs). Several of the conversations have centered around the changes within the industry that have occurred over the last two decades.


Having been around the Facility Condition Assessments (FCA) world since the late 1990s, it has been interesting to observe and be part of the evolution of business. When we talk about FCAs, we are talking about gathering a detailed inventory of the elements within a building to develop a future forecast of capital renewal needs. Typically FCAs are done by institutional clients, often across the Government, Education and Healthcare sectors.


In the early days of FCAs, institutional clients were trying to sort out the difference between an FCA and a Property Condition Assessment (PCA), which was (and continues to be) performed in association with financing or acquisition/disposition of a property. In the late 90s, there was not a dramatic difference between an FCA and a PCA. 


At the time, most clients were looking for a report. Being in the FCA business was a lot like being in the report preparation business. I can still remember countless calls from clients saying “I have been told by someone that I need a report. Can you help me?”. 


The earliest FCA reports were often constrained by a time limited forecast of future renewal needs, much like a PCA. 5-Year or 10-Year time frames for reports were the most common. This means that the reports provided a 5 or 10-year forecast of renewal needs, along with narrative review of the other building elements that didn’t require attention within the forecast period.


This approach revolutionized facility asset management. For the first time in many organizations’ histories, facility and asset managers were able to understand the scale of their deferred capital renewal and maintenance backlog. The reports were valuable from a big picture planning and advocacy perspective, but often the reports were placed in a shelf and rarely used or referenced after the initial submission. I can remember many clients grabbing reports and in some cases literally dusting them off after five years and asking us to update the reports. 


Early advocacy based on the reports was successful in many cases. However, with such a short term horizon of knowledge (5 or 10-years), long term forecasting and planning were rate. Just asking for a report that answered the basic questions, “what do we own?” and “what condition is it in?” was critical to starting the journey that we continue on today. However, we have come a long way since then.




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One thought on “Evolution of Facility Condition Assessments (FCAs) – Part 1 – Reports, Reports, Reports

  1. Great when managing a limited capital budget.
    Provides you with the information you require to make informed decisions on which asset to spend money and which one not to.
    One constant if we never have enough capital funds..

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