Local Government Estate Efficiency

Christian Malam
Manchester City Council appointed Faithful+Gould to review its estate, deploying a digital approach to asset information modelling, and including full measured building surveys.

Many local government bodies have tired, ageing estates which may not be fit for purpose nor optimally utilised. All too often, the authorities know that their estates no longer represent good value, but the information with which to make changes and sound decision just doesn’t exist. Some don’t know exactly how many buildings they own, or what condition they are in.

Pressure on public sector finances has brought these issues into the spotlight, and the race is on to find strategies and solutions that make asset delivery and management more efficient. Digital approaches have a huge part to play – the gathering, sharing, analysis, using and re-using of asset data can inform effective decision-making and transform asset planning and delivery. The data itself should be regarded as an asset.

The production of a digital database of assets enables identification of key risks, allocation of risk mitigation budgets, and allocation of capital and maintenance funding. Detailed data-sets of asset condition, and their relative priority of importance, facilitate improves planning. However, most local government bodies typically have poor data or a lack of understanding of which data is needed.

Manchester City Council (MCC) appointed Faithful+Gould to review its estate, deploying a digital approach to asset information modelling, and including full measured building surveys.

Manchester City Council – The Challenge

The proactive management of MCC’s property portfolio is challenging due to the age, size and diversity of the estate and the level of capital funding available for the planned maintenance of buildings. Although well-managed under these circumstances, MCC’s building maintenance has been largely reactive, and the budget for planned maintenance is obviously constrained in the current climate.

MCC decided to adopt a long term, proactively managed investment programme, underpinned by robust building condition data. A significant portion of the portfolio was selected for this initial programme.

The Approach

The first step was to develop a high quality asset information model, alongside full measured and costed condition surveys of the buildings (including fabric and M&E). The surveys considered immediate repair requirements, forward maintenance activity and works needed for better functional use. This enabled a detailed understanding of the condition of the buildings, and led to production of a complete asset register.

The project scope included:

  • Determine the condition of each building 
  • Identify investment requirements for each building, based on condition and user needs 
  • Identify cost implications of each building’s needs up to and over 15 year period 
  • Develop a planned and programmed approach to building and related services maintenance 
  • Enable funding to be targeted based on current, accurate and timely information 
  • Process for keeping the asset and information management systems up to date

The Technology

The project included development of MCC’s CAFM systems to handle the asset data, aligning with the goal of proactive long term estate management. MCC surveyors were trained in the data capture software, to optimise future system utilisation.

MCC’s survey data is in accordance with industry standard RICS NRM. The team are working with their CAFM system provider to ensure that the system links to SFG20, which in turn is fully aligned with the NRM 3 elemental cost data structure. This enabled MCC to standardise its property asset coding and create a core asset database with detailed information for each building.

MCC surveyors were trained in the data capture software, to optimise future system utilisation.

The MCC project utilised the unique expertise of NRM3 author and Faithful+Gould technical director Andy Green. Andy has been instrumental in evolving standardised asset information models (AIMs), allowing data to be held in a common format, so it can be used to create, hand over and operate local government buildings more effectively.

The Value Created

  • MCC now has a benchmark to efficiently manage its estate, and can use the same approach on the remainder of the estate in due course. 
  • The data supports capital investment planning, works programming and maintenance management.
  • The asset data has allowed informed decisions in relation to the estate strategy; where to invest and divest.
  • The pitfalls of traditional condition surveys are avoided – the data can be sustainably managed. 
  • The asset data can be updated daily – always a live view.
  • An inter-departmental view of the estate is now possible.
  • Asset intelligence has been unlocked, enabling good control and management. 
  • Asset performance, risks and costs/resources can be quantified.
  • A 15-year planned maintenance approach is now possible.
  • More detailed overview allows informed phasing, and economies of scale when tendering works/equipment.
  • Cost planning over a 15 year period is now much more achievable.
  • Faithful+Gould engaged and utilised M-Futures apprentices, creating social value.

 

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