Using Risk Assessment Codes to Rank Order Facility Projects


Fred Fanning, CFM, PMP, LEED Green Associat

Virginia, USA


It is the author’s experience that facility professionals do not get all the resources they need to perform preventive maintenance, as well as facility improvement projects. This often results in a backlog of work. There is a way that facility professionals can rank order facility improvement projects so that the most important ones are presented to management with a better chance of approval. This is done by identifying the risks associated with each project and recommended those with the highest risk. After high-risk projects effort can be placed on medium risk and then low risk. Usually resources run out before all medium risks are done, but using this method will ensure high-risk projects are done. In this paper, the author explains a process he has used for over twenty years with very good success that can be easily explained to budget staff and senior leaders.


“Facility professionals typically are responsible for the oversight, operation, and maintenance of the buildings and grounds, as well as service contracts” (Finance, 2013). Facility maintenance consists of preventive maintenance, planned and unplanned replacement maintenance, planned minor works, breakdown maintenance, and unplanned property services. The author will refer to all the maintenance except preventive maintenance as facility improvement projects. Facilities maintenance normally requires a 2-4 percent of the building replacement cost be reinvested each year in maintenance to keep the facility fully operational. Unfortunately, most facilities reinvest less than 2 percent of the building replacement cost, which creates a backlog of maintenance that grows each year (Predicting, 2012). Preventive maintenance costs run the same each year with an increase for inflation; however, many of the facility improvement projects have a high one-time cost and are known as capital projects (Operations, 2013). These capital projects are required to compete with other projects outside of facilities but within the organization. It is essential that all projects are competitive. Facility professional often think some funded projects do not seem as important as facility projects that were not funded.

Capital projects compete against each other and those that make the best case are funded. To get their projects funded facility professionals must submit the best project packages they can. These packages must provide a clear description of the project, its cost in current and future dollars, and justification for funding. Putting the best packages forward gives the facility projects a better chance of being funded. Unfortunately, the reality is that many facility professionals are never taught how to prepare project packages and that results in facility packages not getting funded.

The author is a trained and certified facility professional. Over the years, he has developed a process that leads to effective project packages that get funded. One of the essential elements of any project package is a clear description of any safety risks posed by the work of the project. Projects with a safety risk should be funded before projects that don’t have any risk to them. Facility professionals must be able to identify projects that have a safety risk and rank order them so that the most dangerous projects are funded first. It is essential for a facility professional to have a complete list of all capital work that needs to be done. From this list, each project must be analyzed to determine the hazard of injury, illnesses, or environmental damage. The results of this analysis will be provided on the list of facility projects.


To read entire paper (click here)

Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 2nd annual University of Maryland Project Management Symposium in College Park, Maryland, USA in June 2015. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.


About the Author


pmwj38-Sep2015-Fanning-PHOTOFred E. Fanning

Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA



Fred E. Fanning
, CFM, PMP, LEED-Green Associate, is retired from the US Government where he served as a program and project manager. He is also an independent author. Fred is the author of Basic Safety Administration-A Handbook for the New Safety Specialist. He authored the chapter Safety Training and Documentation Principles that was published in the best-selling Safety Professional Handbook and in Hazard Prevention through Effective Safety and Health Training. He also authored the chapter Safety Training that was published in the best-selling Construction Safety Management and Engineering. Fred’s book and all three chapters were peer reviewed and published by the American Society of Safety Engineers. Fred has authored several other books and over 40 technical articles. Fred has presented several papers before national audiences. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College and master’s degrees from National-Louis University and Webster University. Fred can be contacted at [email protected]