Kansas County Redesigns Facility Management
Kansas County Redesigns Facility Management
Integrated software maps out county facilities and future needs for strategic space planning
Located in the southwest quadrant of the Kansas City metropolitan area, Johnson County, KS, is home to nearly 500,000 residents and a host of sprawling buildings. Even with half of its 500 square miles dedicated to agricultural land use, the county still represents roughly one-third of the total real-estate value for the State of Kansas. To serve the area’s growing population, more than 250 county buildings span over two million square feet.
For help in analyzing the acquisition and development of facilities and land assets, the county’s Board of Commissioners recently decided to develop a Strategic Facilities Master Plan (SFMP). Goals were to provide integrated information about how county facilities were used and whether they best served established objectives. In addition, the SFMP would provide information to support the selection of new site layouts and locations, as county services grow to meet the expanding population.
“We also wanted to use the plan to help us respond to unanticipated changes with a set of clear objectives and flexible strategies,” says Michael Chamberlin, Information Systems Administrator for Johnson County’s Facilities Management Department. “These objectives must be continuously updated to reflect changing conditions.”
To ensure that all customers served by the county’s Facilities Management Department had a voice in the project’s direction, officials formed a steering committee consisting of 13 top-level county personnel, including the sheriff, district attorney, chief administrative judge, and deputy county manager.
The steering committee identified key criteria to guide the SFMP. For instance, to increase efficiency and reduce costs, the county sought to own its facilities, rather than lease them. Officials also looked for ways to consolidate services, unless a depart-ment’s mission required a decentralized strategy, such as with the county’s correctional and other confinement facilities.
Information obtained through the SFMP would also guide decisions about future facility sites, which would be selected based on their ability to accommodate projected growth, convenience to the public, and enhancement to communities.
After more than 150 departmental interviews, five major workshops, 30 facility tours, and countless brainstorming sessions, the county determined the level of detail needed to track and set space standards. Space needs were projected for a variety of settings, such as the number of offices and workstations required for a specific staff; support areas to accommodate files and meeting spaces; and benchmarked space standards for confinement facilities, court rooms, and laboratories.
“Prior to publishing the Request for Proposal (RFP), we identified which buildings and sites would be included in the study,” Chamberlin says. To determine the RFP’s scope, the county began polylining all buildings to the group level. With polylining, a polygon shape, drawn on-screen through computer-aided design (CAD) software, indicates an enclosed space, such as an office or hallway. Specific attributes, ranging from the area’s size to location, are then linked to the polygon.
During the polylining process, many of the diagrams had to be scanned in from paper drawings, while others required field measurements. The county hired a consultant, HDR, Inc., to work hand-in-hand with the Facilities Management Department.
The consultant was provided with standards for the vertical penetrations, service and group areas, as well as the divisions and departments assigned to each group polyline. Using this information, the consultant created spreadsheets for each department’s current and future space needs. Data from the spreadsheets was then used to create a new set of room standards, which were then re-applied to each line item in the spreadsheets.
Developing “Living Documents”
To draft “living documents” of continually updated information about facility spaces, the county selected Applied Data Systems, Inc., to provide a CAD software solution. The firm recommended and supplied Archibus/FM software, developed by Archibus, Inc., to create documents that supported the county’s business practices and processes. Because Archibus software integrates a variety of facility management tools, the county was able to tailor data for specific needs.
“We discovered that the organizational hierarchy we originally input into Archibus wasn’t going to match up with the way the consultants collected the data,” Cham-berlin says, “so we modified the structure to fit the plan.”
Using Archibus’s Data Transfer Utility to import the spreadsheets, the county created a space budget for both current periods as well as three additional periods of five-year increments. Information reflects staff counts and support space for current needs, plus projections for the next five, 10, and 15 years.
To meet changing space requirements, annual Needs Analysis Updates enable the Facilities Management Department to gather up-to-date information from each county department. As part of the county’s capital planning cycle, each department must review and update its space needs forecast. Departments can make modifications to their needs in Excel spreadsheets. The updated data is then entered into a new Space Budget within the Archibus/FM Strategic Master Planning application.
“We found that having up-to-date spatial needs for all of the departments, as opposed to just their existing space conditions, is critical to being able to handle space planning requests quickly and accurately,” Chamberlin states.
One substantial cost savings has already resulted from the project. Recently, the Facilities Management Department was called on to develop a plan for alleviating over-crowded conditions for several key departments, while relocating departments from leased space into county-owned facilities. Using data gathered from the needs analysis update, the county quickly determined the departments in greatest need, how much area was required, and what department could be relocated into vacated space.
“The final plan involved 333,000 square feet affecting 24 of our 44 departments, over 650 employees, and saving over $1 million a year in leases,” Chamberlin says. “Included is a new archives and operations center, three office buildings, a meeting and training center, and remodeling portions of the county’s Administration Building, Courthouse, and Health and Human Services Center.”
Future plans for the software include adding other county agencies under the Archibus/FM umbrella, as well as implementing forecasting and allocation functions into Strategic Master Planning applications.
With the facility management plan in place, the county has been able to better serve its constituents. Facility planning has become proactive, based on policy guidelines, and public-service levels can be specifically tailored to changes in population.
“Policy makers have a coherent picture of past developments, an understanding of current conditions, and a comprehensive vision of where we’re headed,” says Joe Waters, Director of Johnson County’s Facilities Management Department.
The facility management plan also contributes economic benefits. “By consolidating scattered operations, we expect significant savings in energy costs, space needs, and staff time,” Waters adds. “Over a 15-year time frame, we project $44 million in lease savings.”
By providing a concise picture of the county’s existing resources and projected needs, the master plan provides officials with the tools to eliminate unnecessary or redundant construction and renovation projects. The plan helps ensure that the county government is well equipped to serve and protect its public.
“The Strategic Facilities Master Plan provides a framework for sound decision-making and enables the county to effectively manage change,” Chamberlin concludes.
Applied Data Systems, Inc.—information systems for facility management. Visit: www.adsi-fm.com, or call 763-694-8900.
Archibus, Inc.—infrastructure and facilities management software and services. Visit: www.archibus.com, or call 617-227-2508.
HDR, Inc.—architectural, engineering, and consulting services. Visit: www.hdrinc.com, or call 800-366-4411.