Veteran’s Administration – Time to Better Manage its Facilities? Need for Global Oversight and Local Implementation of Robust Business Processes, Transparency, and Collaboration.

The Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) 21 Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) offices oversee 152 VHA healthcare facilities and over 1,220 related community based outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and Vet Centers throughout thecountry. After 16 years, the VISN offices’ expenses had increased over $164.9 million, over 500 percent above the original estimate of $26.7 million.
To this day, however, there is virtually no global oversight, nor implementation of consistent robust business process relative to the numerous facility renovation, repair, sustainability and minor new construction project performed daily.   As a result, efficient management is impossible.  As a result, proper stewardship, so critical for building users and taxpayers, is at best questionable.
VHA lacks budget formulation and execution controls and reliable staffing and expense data to monitor VISN offices and ensure the effective and efficient use of funds. As a result, VISN offices lacks adequate fiscal controls and accurate information to ensure transparency, accountability, compliance with policies, and the effective and efficient use of funds …. VHA allows its VISN offices to operate independently ….
– VA Office of the Inspector General, Office of Audits and Evaluations
The above audit was concerned primarily with operations expenses and associated cost increases, however, standardized practices specifically with respect to facility repair, renovation, sustainability, and minor new construction would dramatically improve fiscal transparency and simply get more on these important projects done on time and on budget.
Job Order Contracting, using RSMeans cost data, and associated JOC specific technologies have been proven to provide the required levels of transparency, accountability, and productivity.  To date, the VA has not implemented a “best-practice” JOC process across its portfolio.   Isn’t it time?

2013 Global Construction Survey

In 2013, KPMG interviewed executives from 165 engineering and construction companies around the world, serving a range of markets including energy, power, industrial, healthcare/pharmaceutical, manufacturing, mining, education and government.

Key findings:

1. “66 percent feel that national governments’  infrastructure plans are the single biggest driver of market growth”

2. Slow recovery / growth continuing with “stable or higher margins”

3. “budget deficits and public funding is the biggest barrier to growth”

4. Growth areas: “power and energy top the list by a significant distance, other target sectors include water, rail, mining, and roads and bridges”

5. Standardization is critical to improving “project and risk management”.  “Whenever new people start on a project, they bring with them different processes. To spread good practices,  contractors can increase their use of… ” cost estimating and …. “project management software and step up training…. consolidate project delivery, and tighten
all leakages as much as possible.”

6. “Become a strategic partner to clients’ businesses By working more closely with clients from all sectors….”

via http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner.

 

 

VA’s / Veteran Administration’s Sustainability Initiative

The VA is doing some cool things in the BIM and Sustainability areas.  Below is a recent assessment initiative.

That said, the VA doesn’t have a standardized, efficient method to cost estimate and manage facility repair, renovation, sustainability, and minor new construction projects.  Most sites apparently rely upon the RSMeans Costworks product and ad hoc processes vs. a dedicated cost estimating and project management system.

The VA’s sustainability initiative would be well served to link dedicated tools to internal processes to improve accuracy, transparency, timelines, and scalability.

For example JOC / Job Order Contracting is being used, however, tools to support JOC would be a big win, especially if linked with BIM initiatives.  Costworks is not a cost estimating 0r project management system, but bascially RSMeans cost data in digital format.  Dedicated systems incorporate the various construction delivery methods and tools to dramatically increase collaboration among owners, contractors, and A/E’s, resulting in projects completed on-time and on-budget.

Veterans Administration Awards Contract to Green Building Initiative/Green Globes® for Online Evaluation Tool

01/25/2011
WASHINGTON D.C. — The Green Building Initiative, (GBI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the acceleration of sustainable building practices, was recently awarded a contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide online, green building self-evaluations for 173 hospital facilities using Green Globes® Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings environmental rating and assessment tool.  As part of the contract, GBI will provide training for VA facilities management personnel who will be performing the web-enabled assessments.  This recent award follows a 2009 pilot project by the VA in which 21 hospitals across the US were assessed and certified using the Green Globes system.

The Green Globes Continual Improvement for Existing Buildings (CIEB) tool was selected and GBI was awarded the contract based on VA requirements that included:  tool compatibility with a third party green building rating system developed by an ANSI – accredited organization,  compatibility with the Federal High Performance and Sustainable Building Guidance dated 12/1/2008, cost, and demonstrated experience with the assessment and certification of other Federal Government facilities.

The Green Globes CIEB program helps establish performance baselines, best practices and certification for operations and maintenance of a building in the environmental assessment areas of energy, water, resource management and emissions and pollution. The fully interactive, web-enabled tool also allows facility personnel to measure, document, and improve the sustainability of a building over time.

On February 28, 2006 the Department of Veterans Affairs joined 21 Federal departments and agencies in signing the Memorandum of Understanding on Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings.  The MOU commits the signatories to demonstrate leadership in implementing common strategies for planning, acquiring, siting, designing, building, operating, and maintaining high performance and sustainable buildings. The Sustaining Guiding Principles employ integrated design, optimizing energy performance, protecting and conserving water, enhancing the indoor environment, and reducing the impact of materials as best practices to achieve these goals.

“The 173 buildings to be assessed encompass some of the largest and most complex commercial buildings in the US. This project represents the first steps in what could be a broader sustainability assessment/certification initiative spanning entire campuses,” commented Ward Hubbell, President of the Green Building Initiative. “Green Globes is highly compatible with the elements of the High Performance and Sustainable Buildings Guidance and is an important tool to help federal agencies evaluate compliance with the Executive Order,” he added.

Upon implementation, this project represents the first large scale, nationwide deployment and application of online evaluation tools for comprehensive sustainability assessment within a major Federal Government agency.

ABOUT THE GREEN BUILDING INITIATIVE: The mission of the Green Building Initiative is to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in energy-efficient, healthier and environmentally sustainable buildings by promoting credible and practical green building approaches.  A not-for-profit education initiative, the GBI is supported by a broad cross section of organizations and individuals with an interest in residential and commercial construction.  For more information on the Green Building Initiative, please visit www.thegbi.org