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Storytelling in Facility Management Budgeting

When budgeting season rolls around, your organization turns to you to share best recommendations for facility management budgeting.

How much funding you get depends on your story telling ability and the supporting evidence you provide. If a boiler is failing, you need to use maintenance records, photos and financial data to prove that continuing to maintain the piece of equipment will be more expensive than replacing it.

Good planning depends on great facility data.

Using data to tell your facility management story isn't easy. It takes time to put together a budget and even more time to make all of the charts and graphics your financial department craves to support funding. Even though you may know in your head what your facility needs, you still need documented proof for an accurate capital plan. 

Whether you are planning for maintenance, cleaning or construction, integrating standardized facility data into your budget is one of the best first steps you can take in reducing facility management costs.


The Biggest Risk in Facility Management Budgeting

Inaccurate facility information leads to poor decision making. Think about it… if your building square footage is inaccurately reported as 15 percent higher than actual, benchmarks for custodial, maintenance and energy that depend on square footage will also be inaccurate.

In a facility portfolio with annual energy expenditures of over $1,000,000 USD, you would be wrongly allocating $150,000 USD in your report. Though you might be spending more on energy per square foot than your peers, inaccurate data would make it seem as if you are operating more efficiently. This is a major problem and can mean the difference in taking proactive steps to reduce facility management costs. 

To make benchmarking possible, information must be standardized and accurate. When information is standardized, you can accurately communicate problems in your facility. The data will tell a story. This story will “make the case” for additional funding or allocating your limited resources in the best way possible for reducing facility management costs.

How to Standardize Space Management Information for Benchmarking

While there are many pieces of information that should be brought to the table in your planning efforts, this article will focus on collecting and standardizing space information.

Square footage is often the first point of data used in benchmarking. While it is important to use the right square footage measure (i.e. gross square footage vs. net square footage), it is also important to use standard classifications for comparing spaces among your peers. 

One of the most utilized standards for space reporting are referenced in the Facilities Inventory and Classification Manual (FICM). The FICM codes are most commonly used in educational facilities, but the concept is the same for any type of building.

How to Create a Facility Management Report Using FICM Codes

Space is the most valuable resource when it comes to facilities. When a building is constructed, it’s designed purpose revolves around how we intend to occupy that building. For example, a classroom serves a very different purpose than a mechanical room, though they may be the same exact square footage. Applying space use codes against square footage allows facility groups to generate useful reports. Data referenced in these reports are used to determine space needs for construction, remodels or staff allocations.

FICM codes in space management are often used as a way to standardize how educational institutions benchmark performance against their peers. As an example, an educational facility management group may use FICM codes to determine the total square footage of classroom space in their buildings compared to enrollment. If they have a low ratio of space to students as compared to other schools, the campus may look to remodeling as a way to expand classroom space and improve their learning environment.

Using data in this way paints a complete picture. The story is clear that the school does not have as much space per student as their peers. The quantitative data supports the staff's hypothesis that classrooms are cramped and they need to expand to support a positive learning environment. 

Collecting Space Management Information for Reporting and Benchmarking

Benchmarking begins with understanding your building’s square footage. You could walk your facility with a tape measure and take individual square footage inventory of each space. This is wildly inefficient, inaccurate and time consuming, though. 

By and far the best way to collect square footages is through facility management software programs. These will work with existing as-builts or record drawings of your facility. Using a defined process for collecting information will not only result in accurate space information, but easily maintainable floor plans.

Update your floor plans with this 5 Steps to Accurate Floor Plan Guide. Download your copy today!

Download - 5 Steps to Creating Accurate Floor Plans

Find more resources for facility management budgeting here. 

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