Case Studies

Software options: New maintenance management system reduces 16 steps to one

Prism Computer Corporation

The University of Minnesota, with its four campuses, was using maintenance system software that required users to go through 16 separate steps to simply get labor reporting from the origination point to the final payroll process. It was based on an outdated database architecture that was difficult to upgrade and required a high level of attention simply to maintain the existing functionality.

The university considered streamlining the process, but the limitations in the old software did not allow the database to interface with the payroll system. Another problem was that the closed architecture of the system made it impossible to generate the detailed reports that were needed.

As the large expenditure to upgrade the system for Year 2000 compliance loomed, the university decided to start over. The university selected FAMIS Enterprise Facilities Management suite from Prism Computer Corporation. The primary criteria in selecting a new system was that it have an open architecture that would interface with the university's other systems, possess flexibility that would make it possible to upgrade business processes, and substantially improve reporting capabilities to provide decision support information.

FAMIS is designed to manage every aspect of the facilities process from work identification to work completion; including components for managing inventory, purchase of materials and services, and management of construction and capital projects.

The new software provides an electronic time-gathering form that feeds employee time information into job costing, invoicing, payroll, financial accounting and other applications. The 16 steps that had been required to move timesheet information through the organization were reduced to a single step. This approach eliminated a considerable amount of data-entry time and made it possible to move one data-entry clerk and one supervisor to other positions, providing $105,000 in annual savings.


Washroom updates: Renovation exposes high costs of outdated washroom fixtures

Bradley Corporation

The Mecklenburg County, Va., school district began upgrading its high schools' and middle schools' washrooms and, in doing so, came across costly problems that affected four of its largest schools.

The problems went beyond restroom aesthetics, although updating the outdated look of the restrooms was a priority. The restroom facilities also were not standardized throughout individual restrooms, not to mention the district as a whole, and did not comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. These standardization and compliance issues were causing the district unnecessary maintenance costs.

Beginning in 1999, the school construction committee began its renovation effort, which included replacing all plumbing, sinks and lavatories, toilet partitions, washroom accessories, lighting, heating and flooring. When choosing products, they were most concerned about achieving a standard look across the district, ensuring ADA compliance, using the most cost-effective products and addressing the likelihood of vandalism. They also wanted to use highly durable materials that could be cleaned and maintained easily over time.

The district also replaced all water closets, along with flush valves and metal covers. The “knee” wall and lavatories also were removed, and cast-iron lavatories were replaced with two-station floor-mounted Express Lavatory Systems made of Terreon, an impact-resistant material that resists stains, burns and chemicals.

All toilet partitions were replaced with HDPE solid partitions, which are resistant to rust, dents and delamination, and were incorporated into an ADA-compliant stall design for the schools. All washroom accessories — mirrors, hand dryers and grab bars — were replaced and standardized throughout the district.


Air-quality concerns: School adds classroom ventilation system to get passing grade for indoor air quality

Titon, Inc.

When administrators at Dover Campus Community School, Dover, Del., received concerns from teachers about stale air and inattentive, sleepy-eyed students, they suspected high carbon-dioxide (CO2) levels. A consultant was brought in to test for indoor pollutants.

The structure was built in the 1960s for use as a residence hall and then converted for classroom use. It was determined that the problem did not stem from mold or other indoor air pollutants. However, CO2 levels measured 5,000 parts per million, far exceeding the acceptable levels by the EPA in its “Tools for Schools” guide. The solution was to ventilate each room to provide the right combination of fresh and healthy air.

Titon Trickle Ventilators, a supplemental ventilation system, has narrow air inlets at the top of windows. These ventilators were installed in each room, along with a small 550 cfm exhaust fan. When opened, the ventilators allow an ample flow of fresh air to be drawn inside by a fan, which is on the opposite side of the classroom.

The ventilator allows for a consistent and controlled amount of flow of fresh air to enter the room. The result has been compared to leaving the windows open, day and night, but without endangering a building's security. IAQ can be brought into compliance without measurably affecting energy costs for either heating or air conditioning. In addition, drafts are eliminated because the air trickles into the room near the top of the window area. Incoming fresh air, mixing with room-temperature air, caused no noticeable discomfort.

Following the installation, the CO2 air-quality levels in the test classroom improved by nearly 80 percent over the pretest numbers, averaging 1,050 parts per million — well within EPA and ASHRAE guidelines.


Access control: University locks up key-control issues and improves building security

IR Security & Safety

The Florida International University (FIU) system in Miami-Dade County has gained control of its key system and improved building security by standardizing with the Falcon M-Series high security keying system. The system is designed to meet the ongoing keying needs of the growing university, while simplifying its key control.

Since its opening almost 30 years ago, FIU has grown from 6,000 students to more than 32,000. With more than 20 buildings on its campuses and more being planned, the potential of locks for 10,000 to 15,000 doors demands an upgraded key-control system.

Until recently, several keying systems were in place, some of which were as old as the school itself. While there were many Falcon M-Series mortise locksets, several keying systems from other manufacturers also were used in some areas. Key control was time-consuming and lacked uniformity. Volumes of paperwork and an outdated computer program made it difficult to determine who had keys to which doors.

The ultimate goal was to produce a single grand master key that will unlock all the doors on campus. The key-control department, a vice president and a few of the university's directors would hold this level of a key. The rest of the system is being set up with building masters, with keys for individual areas and specific doors under them. The key-control department will handle issuing and tracking keys.

With a strong base of Falcon locksets in place, it was decided to re-key and upgrade the entire campus under one grand master-key system, while adding appropriate access controls, and upgrading doors at the campus to ADA standards. Falcon's restricted M keyway was chosen, but with 0.025-inch pin increments instead of 0.018 inches. This distinction made it possible to establish a larger key system that can accommodate future expansion. To prevent unauthorized duplication by users at hardware stores or mall key shops, the system uses restricted key blanks that are only available to authorized users from the manufacturer.

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