8 key actions help ensure holistic and flexible higher education facilities planning

By John Holbert 

College and university facilities managers face multiple, often competing, challenges these days — getting a new building constructed on time and on budget; addressing a growing backlog of deferred maintenance; and managing increased calls for sustainability projects in response to environmental concerns and climate change.  

How can you juggle it all, often while budgets are being trimmed?  

A visioning and planning approach can offer a holistic view to help facilities managers make strategic decisions, prioritize facilities’ needs, and meet budget realities. It is a flexible and customizable program of services begun early in the project planning process to help you meet your goals and objectives. 

Aspects include:  

  • Master planning: Addressing when and where buildings will be constructed, providing the necessary supporting infrastructure, and planning for minimizing energy use to reduce the carbon footprint with renewable opportunities such as solar and wind energy.    
  • Visioning and budgeting: Deciding on ideas and goals for the future and setting a groundwork to achieve them. 
  • Decarbonization: Reducing or eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from facilities. 
  • Intelligent buildings and technology integration: Working with facility, IT, and business application data to design a smart or smart-capable building.  
  • Land development and site planning: Organizing the design and layout of buildings and landscaping. 
  • Seismic retrofit planning: Planning which structures need modifications to make them more resistant to earthquakes.   
  • Infrastructure assessments and surveys: Mapping existing IT infrastructure, analyzing its performance, and identifying weaknesses and strengths. 
  • Facility assessments, life cycle cost, life safety, benchmarking: Providing an analysis of building systems and infrastructure and their ability to support future needs. These analyses can be general or detailed, depending on the information needed.   

Bringing an engineering team onboard at the start of the planning process is vital to developing a holistic and flexible facilities or campus plan. By so doing, however, you can save money and provide better outcomes for your college and university buildings. 

Listen to John discuss trends in the education market in this podcast. 

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