Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

2.3 What to Include in a Building Inventory

Definition of Building. A building is defined as a roofed structure for permanent or temporary shelter of persons, animals, plants, materials, or equipment. The building inventory may encompass many different types of structures, including marine and space structures (whether staffed or not); research vessels; aquarium structures; and trailers that are not on wheels and are used for offices, residences, or storage (see technical definitions in chapter 3).

Buildings to Be Included. The inventory should include buildings that are under the jurisdiction or control of the institutionís governing board, regardless of their location. Where the institution occupies space in buildings not owned by the institution or that is shared with other tenants, include in the inventory only that portion of the building leased or controlled by the institution and its pro rata share of gross area, assignable area, and Nonassignable Area (see definitions in chapter 3).

Institutions will normally exclude various minor structures from their inventory based on various criteria. As a guideline, separate, minor structures should be included in the inventory if all of the following criteria are met:

  • They are attached to a foundation.
  • They are roofed.
  • They are serviced by a utility, exclusive of lighting.
  • They require significant maintenance and repair activities as determined by the institution.

Following these guidelines, an example of a minor structure to be included in a building inventory is a traffic control or information booth that is roofed, attached to a concrete pad, with lights and at least one other utility service such as a telephone, and on a regular maintenance schedule. An example of a separate structure not meeting the above criteria is a bus shelter, which is roofed and attached to the concrete sidewalk, but which has only lights as a utility service.

Institutions may choose to include parking structures and field buildings that do not meet all of the above criteria in their inventories because of requirements to manage and maintain such facilities. The inclusion of such facilities permits the space to be assigned to specific functions, disciplines, and organizational units. Additional clarification and examples are provided in chapter 3.

Buildings to Be Excluded. The following types of buildings may be excluded from the inventory if they do not house functions considered part of the institutionís academic mission:

  • Investment properties that are buildings used only for revenue generation and not for institutional purposes;
  • Hospitals not owned by the institution, except for any space in the hospital used, leased, or controlled by the institution;
  • Public schools not owned by the institution but used for practice teaching; and
  • Federal contract research centers identified by the Office of Management and Budget.

Other Plant Assets. For management purposes, institutions are encouraged to inventory all other physical infrastructure elements (physical plant assets). Examples of such infrastructure elements (assets) not encompassed in the definition of a building include uncovered swimming pools, athletic tracks, bleachers, and additional playing fields that otherwise do not qualify as gross areas. Institutions are also encouraged to itemize the infrastructure components. Examples include utility distribution systems (heating, cooling, power, water, and waste disposal) and support facilities that provide access or safety-related services (roads, campus lighting, etc.). Additionally, institutions may wish to maintain inventory data on land holdings, capital equipment, and movable equipment. A suggested approach for tracking infrastructure assets is presented in chapter 6.