February 2023
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced the official opening of its Workplace Innovation Lab. Located at GSA’s HQ in DC, the lab functions as a proving ground where federal agencies can test out recent innovations in workplace furnishings and technology, and aligns with the President's agenda to reimagine and build a roadmap to the future of federal work. GSA's initial six vendor partners are: Allsteel, Cisco, Haworth / Price Modern, Miller-Knoll, Kimball International and Swiftspace / VOE. GSA is operating the lab as a pilot Federal Coworking Space. Federal employees are able to work in the 25,000-square-foot space and can use the lab for periods ranging from a single hour to weeks.

The Workplace Innovation Lab features new types of layouts and furniture solutions designed to support both individuals and teams, as well as technology that enhances connectivity and effectiveness. The lab also features sustainable technology solutions ranging from power-over-ethernet cabling (which eliminates the need for expensive steel cabling) to solar-powered light fixtures that support GSA’s drive toward net zero carbon facilities.

According to APPA, the organization for leadership in educational facilities, as many as ¾ of facilities at some institutions are 30 to 40 years old and already past a first cycle of major renewal expenditures.

Higher ed institutions are under intense pressure to maintain facilities with a shrinking budget and staff, identify new revenue streams and improve capital management overall. The planning that goes into replacing major components of your infrastructure isn’t something you can leave to the last minute. It typically takes years of preparation. AkitaBox prescribes 3 steps to help ensure you have budget dollars already in place by the time your next round of major replacements comes due.

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Offering best practices to education FMs to boost their campus sustainability efforts, The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) recently announced the 12 winners for the 2022 AASHE Sustainability Awards. The winners represent campus sustainability leadership from across the globe — Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Fiji, Kenya, Switzerland, the United States and Wales. 

The AASHE Sustainability Awards raise the visibility of high-impact higher education sustainability projects and collaborations, pioneering research and student leadership, helping to disseminate innovations and inspire continued progress toward environmental, social and economic health.

Education and federal government facilities managers, executives, engineers and allied professionals will gather March 21-23 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland for NFMT 2023, the National Facility Management and Technology Conference & Expo. The McMorrow Reports & FMLink have been attending for at least 20 years, and we know our readers should, too. 

Both the educational conference sessions, starting on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. and ending on Thursday at 4:45 p.m., and the expo floor are bountiful with exhibitors from all segments of FM. To start, the Education Facilities Think Tank for Elite-Level Attendees is a 60-minute informal discussion focused around campus/school buildings and trends. This will allow education professionals to network with peers in a small group. Pull up a chair and ask questions to like-minded facilities managers. Each roundtable will have an official moderator to help guide the conversation.

For both government and education building professionals, look into the following sessions: From Design to Construction: Successful Transitions to Sustainable Operations with John Rimer, CFM, ProFM, president, FM360 Consulting; Safety and Security in Schools Panel with Clarence A. Carson, CCA, CCP. SVP-USA, DCS Global; Demonstrating Commitment with GBI’s Green Globes for Existing Buildings Health & Wellness Distinction with Adam Wellen, Director, Membership & Community, Green Building Initiative; Security & Safety Challenges in Today’s Facilities in 21st Century with Randy Braverman, Facility Engineering Associates; and Facility Management in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and Automation with Dean Kashiwagi, PhD., IFMA Fellow, Kashiwagi Solution Model.

Traditionally, Facility Condition Assessments (FCA) of buildings were performed by A/E firms every five to seven years. That’s no longer acceptable. Contemporaneous data on buildings is in demand as property owners want to know how their real estate is performing or serving the needs of the business. New software enables the availability of up to the minute data to be accessible to the facility and building management team and all the technicians who service building equipment. Eileen McMorrow, editor-in-chief, The McMorrow Reports and FMLink, learns how data is obtained and managed continuously in a discussion with Josh Lowe, co-founder and chief solutions officer of AkitaBox.

What is the importance of facility condition assessment data for capital planning?
Lowe: The overarching goal is to create a facility spending plan that enables an organization to accomplish its mission. Capital planning that is accurate is a desired result. Accuracy and dependability of the data is key: The more comprehensive and accurate your FCA data is, the more accurate the resulting capital plan will be.

Higher education, K-12, and government FMs have seen their workloads expand and an increase in regulations they are expected to know to manage public and private campuses and to care for public servants at work. Training for facilities that serve education environments includes broad concern for safety and how to plan for bursts of work in the summer season. There’s a body of knowledge to be mastered for government FMs and their focus on energy management and real estate conservation.

If you have opinions on your level of training and that of your staff, now is the time to share your opinions in the 2023 FM Training survey! Facility management professionals and employers are encouraged to complete the survey by Friday, March 4th. All survey participants will receive a complimentary Pro Level registration to NFMT Baltimore, March 21-23

The 2022 FM Training Outlook Survey provided valuable insights in four categories: building and retaining the FM workforce, the value of FM training, addressing the FM skills gap and the importance of FM credentials and qualifications.

Fast reads . . .
The Book of the Week from FMLink's new Books section hails from the Costbooks category. This collection of peer-reviewed titles from BNi Books has been curated by the editorial team at FMLink to provide facilities, engineering and A&D professionals with access to publications relating to estimating costs.

In light of inflation, supply chain disruptions and sharp increases in wage rates, plus labor shortages, the 2023 BNi Public Works Costbook can help you confidently estimate the cost of all types of public works projects involving paving, excavation, drainage systems and much more. A trusted source of accurate pricing data for 76 years, BNi offers precise details for virtually every component, working to make sure that every cost item is based on the latest and most authoritative information available. This new Costbook includes over 600 regional cost modifiers for adjusting your estimate to local conditions.

Solving the challenges of balancing aesthetics and functionality with the harsh realities of outdoor spaces is an innovative category of site furnishings that utilizes recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to create pieces that are reinventing the role of plastic in high-profile, high-design outdoor spaces. From picnic tables to benches, lounge chairs and other outdoor solutions, these furnishings play an important part in improving material sustainability and diverting plastics from landfills while adding comfort, character and color to public and commercial outdoor destinations. The material shines in its endurance and resiliency, standing up to the elements, resisting heat and cold, and retaining lively color even in full sun. Plus HDPE furniture is easily recyclable at the end of its durable lifespan.

The Glide bench from Landscape Forms showcases the way in which these HDPE-based furnishings can simplify and minimize the design of familiar site furnishings to make uniquely modern and eye-catching design statements, creating welcoming outdoor spaces. The distinctive form of the bench — the way the seat and back seamlessly join the base — is minimal and elegant, featuring the enduring combination of HDPE and aluminum without any visible screws or fasteners. The result is a unique understructure that enables the plastic components to naturally expand and contract in changing temperatures while maintaining a seamless connection to the metal base.

Just released, the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA) Experts’ Assessment, Vol. 2: Future working environments and support functions toward 2030 is an in-depth analysis of what the facility management (FM) industry has learned since the first Experts’ Assessment study was conducted in 2020, and how changing organizational priorities are shaping the future of the built environment and FM roles. Assessing insights provided by subject matter experts (SMEs) from around the world, the report aims to build industry resilience and help FM professionals prepare for significant shifts in how organizations operate.

From July to September in 2022, IFMA used real-time Delphi methodology to survey 222 experts who are readying their organizations and clients for new ways of working toward 2030. Five thematic sections synthesize the subject matter experts’ perspectives on:
  • Facilities in demand toward 2030
  • Technology, work and workforce development
  • Workplace management and strategy
  • Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG)
  • Facility management in 2030

No one could have predicted the Covid-19 pandemic. Education facilities managers (FMs) have had to navigate a series of challenges over the last two years brought on from the pandemic, leading many to begin implementing risk management programs. Having the proper protocols in place have helped school systems across the country prepare for extreme hazards, such as the current respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) outbreak and weather events. In this video from fnPrime, John Shea, CEO, The New York City Department of Education, speaks on what risk management plans the New York Public School system has put in place since the pandemic began and how they have made schools a safer and healthier place to be.