Forecasting FM costs when renovating or expanding

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Many organizations are currently undergoing complex facility renovation or expansion projects. Much energy, money and time are diverted into these grand projects.

But new space makes it dicey when it comes to strategic planning. How do you accurately forecast FM costs and practices in the new facility?

“I argue that having current figures is a must to budget for the new construction’s operating costs,” said one of our clients, a facility administrator looking at an upcoming major capital campaign. He collects those essential figures to forecast FM costs in an annual benchmarking study endorsed by his professional association.

Benchmarking is an invaluable tool for strategic planning. Benchmarking:

  • Gets supporting data for effective decision making
  • Helps establish goals and action plans
  • Gathers performance measurement data
  • Helps justify costs and practices
  • This article lists some of the data that can impact your forecast. In future articles, we will go back to our tradition of sharing these data with you.

    A Case Study for Benchmarking

    Another client shares that her institute “… is planning to move from our current 90+ year-old facilities to a newly renovated building in about four years. I have used the information from the … Benchmark survey as a baseline to estimate operational costs at the new site. I have also used the report to justify higher staffing levels for the Building Operations Department at our current location.”

    To get an overall picture of how a benchmarking survey can support your FM organization’s strategic planning, it’s helpful to look at what is measured.

    Facilities benchmarking studies typically measure:

  • Utilities
  • Costs of building operations
  • Organizational structures
  • Space utilization
  • Ratios of number of workers used
  • Outsourcing
  • Janitorial/custodial services
  • Building maintenance
  • Exterior grounds maintenance
  • Strategic facilities planning
  • Disaster recovery planning
  • Project management processes
  • Performance-based contracting
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Service level agreements
  • Chargeback of facility costs
  • Best practices
  • Building security
  • Current and future trends
  • If you don’t have quality data of your own with which you feel sufficiently comfortable, your organization could hire a benchmarking consulting firm to develop a custom study for your firm—a custom study allows your organization more control in selecting the factors measured. Or you could opt to join an on-going benchmark study that is endorsed by a professional association or other group in which you have confidence. Participants in on-going studies can sometimes request additional measurement factors.

    Articles written starting January 2009 are based on data from FM BENCHMARKING, the online benchmarking tool for facilities managers and CREs. Data tracked by FM BENCHMARKING includes cost data (utilities, maintenance, custodial, security), sustainability data, and best practices. FM BENCHMARKING is available on a subscription basis for $275 or less per year (with discounts for multiple buildings); included with each subscription is the ability to compare one’s building to any others in the database, through a comprehensive set of filters. For more information, go to

    Articles written prior to January 2009 were written by Facility Issues. FM BENCHMARKING is a collaboration between Facility Issues and FMLink.