Don Briselden is the director of facilities at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire, and serves on both the K-12 and Strategic Assessment Model task forces of APPA. He can be reached at David Cain is the associate vice president at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, and can be reached at He is a member of the SAM Task Force and is one of four assistant directors for APPA's new Center for Facilities Research.

Imagine this scenario. A new vice president for finance and administration just returned from an annual NACUBO or SCUP conference and relates that he heard people discussing methods of forecasting capital asset funding. In those discussions people were comparing their institutions' Facilities Condition Index (FCI) as a useful measure of campus condition. The VP then turns to you and asks, "What is our FCI and how do we compare?" Of course, you are knowledgeable about your facilities and ready to provide the information requested. Or are you?

Let's respond to that question with a conversational definition of FCI. The technical definition is included later in this article. During a walking tour of any campus, a person with an eye cast toward the condition of buildings can form a judgment about their condition and can develop a sense of the existing maintenance liability. If one sees the paint pealing, indications of decayed surfaces, roofs that older than 20 years, you do not need to be an expert to realize that a sizable reinvestment is waiting. Often the outside condition reflects the condition inside. Students, faculty, administrators, staff, and all other stakeholders form opinions and make judgments about the institution based on the appearance. These critical opinions fall into four intuitive categories of poor, fair, good, and excellent.

The FCI in practical terms has been a numerical rating system that translates what you see on your educational institution tour into a rational measure of the amount of deferred maintenance and provides a means of gauging the condition of the facility. The FCI is a metric that is used by numerous institutions as part of their capital planning process.

We believe that the FCI is a useful assessment tool that should be in every facilities professional arsenal of tools. The FCI has been a feature of capital renewal and deferred maintenance (CRDM) planning for the past decade and is a generally accepted measure. More recently, the FCI was included as one of the key metrics within APPA's Strategic Assessment Model (SAM).

This article will provide a brief background of the development of the FCI, a few technical insights, and map the connection to the Strategic Assessment Model within the Financial Perspective. We will also offer the application of the FCI for the facilities professional.

FCI Development and History

The FCI concept resides within the development of studies and models for capital renewal and deferred maintenance. For the past 40 years, institutions of higher education have struggled with their responsibilities for identifying their facilities needs and the responsibilities to fund the continuing renewal of systems and the correction of maintenance.

Many articles and publications are available as references. Two bookends that provide relevant information are: Managing the Facilities Portfolio (Applied Management Engineering and Sean Rush) and Charting a New Course For Campus Renewal (Rod Rose). Managing the Facilities Portfolio, published by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), provided the first conceptual framework for managing facilities assets. It was within that comprehensive framework that facilities professionals could see the value of the FCI as a measurement within a facilities renewal model.

More recently, the history of CRDM and the various funding models for capital renewal is documented by Rod Rose in Charting a New Course for Campus Renewal. That APPA publication brings forward a common vocabulary, defined processes, and helpful descriptions regarding capital renewal funding models. In those two documents, the facilities professional can find the information needed to establish a process for the campus.

The work to date has defined a common vocabulary and developed processes that are similar in content. The process for CRDM planning consists of these steps:

The Facilities Condition Index (FCI) is a comparative indicator of the relative condition of facilities. The FCI is expressed as a ratio of the cost of remedying maintenance deficiencies listed in the deferred maintenance backlog to the current replacement value. The FCI. provides the facilities professional a method of measurement to determine the relative condition index of a single building, group of buildings, or the total facility (physical plant). This calculation also provides the facility professional a corresponding rule of thumb for the annual reinvestment rate (funding percentage) to prevent expansion of the deferred maintenance backlog. The FCI can be defined in terms of the following equation:

o Facilities Condition Index (FCI) Defined:
Deferred Maintenance ($)
Current Replacement Value ($)

Deferred Maintenance Defined:

The total dollar amount of existing major maintenance repairs and replacements identified by a comprehensive facilities condition audit of buildings, grounds, fixed equipment, and infrastructure needs. It does not include projected maintenance and replacements or other types of work, such as program improvements or new construction; these items are viewed, as separate capital needs.

Current Replacement Value Defined

Current Replacement Value (CRV) is defined as the total amount of expenditure in current dollars required to replace the institution's educational and general facilities to its optimal condition (excluding auxiliary facilities). It should include the full replacement cost for all buildings, grounds, utility systems, and generating plants. Furthermore, it would meet the current acceptable standards of construction, and comply with regulatory requirements. It is recommended that the average total project cost per square foot, multiplied by the gross square footage of educational and general buildings be used for the building portion of current replacement value.

The cost to replace grounds, utilities and generating plant should also be include to the extent they support general educational facilities. There will likely require an apportionment of total replacement cost for these components that is consistent with the educational and general facilities they service and should exclude the auxiliary portion. Insurance replacement values or book values should not be used.

The Strategic Assessment Model and the FCI

APPA's Strategic Assessment Model, known as SAM, is an organizational excellence and continuous improvement model that is of high value to facilities professionals. SAM in its third and newest revision combines features of two performance models; the Malcolm Baldrige Quality program and Balanced Scorecard developed by Robert Kaplan of Harvard's Business School and David Norton of Renaissance Solutions, Inc. The Balanced Scorecard application within SAM has four perspectives-financial, internal processes, learning and growth, and customer service. SAM combines the features of the two models integrated into three components: The four perspectives of a Balanced Scorecard, the quantitative performance indicators, and the qualitative criteria for determining the levels of performance. The FCI resides within the Financial Perspective. When one considers the CRDM model developed and explained in Managing the Facilities Portfolio, it becomes evident that the inclusion of the FCI within SAM is a logical step.

SAM's Financial Perspective

Financial Perspective reflects the organization's financial performance in ensuring financial integrity and demonstrates stewardship responsibility for capital and financial resources associated with the operation and preservation of physical assets throughout the campus. Financial performance indicators are tracked to ensure that services are delivered in an efficient cost-effective manner. The Financial Perspective is linked to the other perspectives through the relationships between cost and the results in achieving the other scorecard objectives. For example: The facilities manager should understand how improving internal processes or customer satisfaction correlates with increasing or decreasing costs. Another application might be the determination of how financial benefits are derived from improvements in employee safety, absenteeism, and turnover. Primary services include those for operations and maintenance, energy and utilities, and planning, design and construction.

SAM enables the facilities professional to assess how the institution ranks within qualifying criteria at five levels of performance. The levels rank from the highest, Level 5 to Level 1. An institution at the highest level would have an established sound, systematic data collection, evaluation, and refinement program that was fully established which accomplishes overall perspective objectives. A Level 1 program applies to an institution where there is no systematic financial data collection program evident. Only anecdotal information is available on how well financial integrity and physical asset stewardship are satisfied.

A fully developed Level 5 institution would make full use of the FCI and have extensive documentation of the facilities conditions and use that information to support the CRDM funding model.

SAM Survey Results and the FCI

This past year, APPA's SAM Task Force has gathered, through an extensive institution national survey, a range of facilities related performance data. Illustrated here are the key graphs from the strategic assessment national data (FY 99).

Application for Facilities Professionals

The process of capital budgeting presents a full and useful kit of parts for the facilities professional. It is a process that can be adapted to fit the local situation. The FCI, can be applied in a variety of ways. It is a key component in the planning process, as a calculation that brings insight to the campus facilities conditions, and as a comparative metric by which the facilities manager can see where the campus stands within a broader perspective.

Here are some thoughts about applying the FCI and a few insights into expectations. The Capital Renewal Model and the FCI, particularly its use within the context of SAM, provides leadership opportunities within the institutions financial and facilities planning structure. The facilities professional can utilize attributes of SAM and its included FCI to develop capital renewal recommendations for campus administrators and funding authorities. The FCI can be a valuable tool in planning specific renewal projects by providing insights into priorities. It can also be used to discern whether to continue to invest in capital renewal for a particular facility or look to new construction to replace the facility.


This article may serve as a refresher to some who are aware of the FCI and SAM. It may very well be an introduction for others. We hope that it has shown that the FCI is indeed a useful and necessary tool that needs to be a part of every facilities professional's toolbox.

The new and improved model has just been published in a completely revised second edition of the APPA book, The Strategic Assessment Model. The application statistics about the use of the FCI will be available. We hope that the comparative measures will be useful to a wide range of facilities professionals.

Stay tuned and in touch.


APPA: The Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers. The Strategic Assessment Model, second edition Alexandria, Virginia: 2001.

Applied Management Engineering, P.C., and Sean C. Rush. Managing the Facilities Portfolio: A Practical Approach to Institutional Facility Renewal and Deferred Maintenance. Washington, D.C.: National Association of College and University Business Officers, 1991.

Rose, Rod. Charting a New Course for Campus Renewal. Alexandria, Virginia: APPA, 1999.