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Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

6.2 Building Preservation

The purpose of building preservation is to optimize, at minimal cost, the value, performance, functionality, efficiency, and appearance of buildings and sites. It is a comprehensive approach that requires a focused and concerted initial effort to develop. Once established, significantly less effort is necessary to manage, update, and maintain a good program.

Surprisingly, some postsecondary institutions with extensive buildings and facilities portfolios—and consequent exposures—seem to have limited success in establishing and managing a comprehensive building and facilities preservation program. The problem seems to be a lack of understanding of how to establish a program without making a significant initial investment in professional consulting expertise and specialty software and without investing in costly ongoing professional updating and software maintenance. As a result, administrators and boards are reluctant to propose, approve, and support preservation efforts, which leads to depleted values, diminished uses, operational anomalies, and inefficiencies in buildings and facilities that are not well defined, predictable, or understood.

An improved effective and efficient approach is necessary to reverse this trend. The purpose of this section is to suggest a process and approach for creating and managing an ongoing capital plan that can be implemented and maintained for a fraction of the cost of an outsourced proprietary system.