Published on November 30th, 2014 | by UC&D Magazine0
Owner Spotlight – DFCM
State of Utah DFCM Aims for Greater Efficiency, Transparency
Just over a year into his role as Director of the State of Utah’s Division of Facilities Construction and Management (DFCM), Josh Haines is confident that the changes implemented under his watch will bear fruit, but aware that much work still needs to be done in transforming DFCM into a highly-efficient, well-run organization that operates at peak efficiency while offering tangible benefits to its clients.
When Haines was hired in August 2013 he took over a program lacking focus, direction and accountability. As an outsider new to Utah, Haines wasn’t bound to any person and group, which he believes has allowed for greater autonomy and eliminated politics from the equation.
“We generally lacked the checks and balances we needed, or any kind of performance metrics,” said Haines,
who worked overseas in Mongolia and Afghanistan for five years prior to joining DFCM. “We lacked any kind of data that is important to the entire (DFCM) community. It was about putting metrics in place and developing better processes. It takes three years for a culture to change. Overall the buy in has been great. People who are performers are being recognized. The more we can facilitate projects and take an active role, the better projects will go.”
Haines and his executive staff of four others has been busy visiting various stakeholders and clients, including agencies and firms working within Utah’s A/E/C industry, in an effort to learn what DFCM can do better. That includes executives Bruce Whittington, Assistant Director; Jim Russell, Construction Program Manager; Darrell Hunting, Construction Field Manager; Jake Jacobsen, Facilities Program Manager.
“DFCM always said we had an open-door policy, but we didn’t really listen to people,” said Russell. “Our last director was defensive for our people, the one before that was defensive of everybody else. We are undergoing a cultural shift of communication and finding out what real problems and issues were.”
“We were not producing the right processes,” added Whittington. “Some of us still struggle in closing out project processes 100%. With DFCM management, when we implemented processes in the past we didn’t get (an agency’s) buy in. Now we let them understand the process and own it.”
“I personally have visited 400 to 500 different stakeholders, asking ‘does DFCM add value?” said Haines. “If we don’t, why bother having us around? We have to provide value, drive projects, and be more engaged in projects.”
DFCM manages all state-owned buildings and is responsible for all aspects of construction and maintenance of more than 3,500 buildings totaling 51 million square feet. DFCM also assists the state building board in developing capital development projects and allocating capital improvement funds.
The division has 161 employees, and oversees $10.1 billion of assets and interacts with 29 different agencies. From FY 2006 to FY 2013, DFCM oversaw an average of more than $409 million in non- state and state funded projects, including $451 million in FY 2013, up from $338 million in FY 2012, but below a peak of $494 million in FY 2009.
In regards to FY 2015, DFCM has requested 546 capital improvement projects totaling $196.4 million, and 29 capital development projects with a total value of $665.9 million. Major new projects as recommended by the state building board include a new Science Lab Building at Weber State University in Ogden ($57.4 M), an Allied Health and Technology Building for SWATC ($19.2 M), Unified State Lab Module #2 ($39 M), Camp Williams Infrastructure Improvements ($3.9 M) and Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Primary Children’s & Families Cancer Center ($17.5 M).
DFCM has also ramped up efforts with its Facility Condition Assessment (FCA) program, which analyzes a building’s general condition, including age, design, construction methods and materials. It can include on site inspections, mathematics modeling or a combination of both. In FY 2014, 246 buildings totaling more than 7.8 million SF are slated for assessment, up from 43 buildings and 3.5 million SF from FY 2013 and more than the past three years combined.
DFCM currently has 483 active projects in varying stages of design and construction as of September 2014, which amounts to 28 per project manager. Long range goals include better managing and preserving state assets, addressing infrastructure needs, utilizing space more efficiently, and organizing a master plan for all assets.
Haines said providing clients with better overall customer service should be second nature, and not acting like the division is above anyone else. Bureaucratic red tape leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths and reluctance to seek help or assistance on future projects.
“I hate to be seen as a bureaucracy,” said Haines. “We should be customer service driven. We should be facilitators.”
“When (Josh) first came on, people like Mike Perez with the University of Utah didn’t want to deal with DFCM,” adds Russell. “We were seen as punitive that did not provide value. We talk to our people about how we provide value to a project. There is a cultural change (happening) where the client is more engaged.”
Working with local A/E/C consultants and getting their feedback has also been a boon to the division. DFCM desires partnerships with its consultants, including designers and contractors.
Items discussed in recent months include fees for architects and general contractors, project delivery methods, sustainability, and ensuring a fair and competitive bid process. DFCM is also trying to be more inclusive with a wider range of firms, especially talented firms who for whatever reason may have shied away from division projects based on a previous bad experience.
Sustainability – with an emphasis on energy efficiency – is also a critical part of DFCM’s future. Agencies can decide whether or not to pursue LEED Certification on individual projects, but it is not a division requirement. A new building design, envelope and commissioning standard has been developed and implemented in an effort to lead the nation in energy efficiency, thus saving millions of dollars over the life space of new buildings. 40 current DFCM buildings have been verified as exceeding national Energy Star ratings, with 21 facilities having achieved LEED Silver status or higher. Haines added that roughly $9 million will go towards solar projects, mostly through Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program and other federal monies.
One such notable solar project is a $1.4 million 791 kW solar array consisting of 3,108 solar modules on parking shade structures adjacent to Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, which went online in November. It will save the facility more than $100,000 annually, and $3.7 million over the life of the building. “As the ROI (return on investment) gets shorter on solar projects, that is definitely something we will be pushing,” said Haines.