Facilities Renewal

Facility Renewal


In 1998, Penn initiated an effort to assess its portfolio of buildings on the West Philadelphia campus to determine the amount of deferred maintenance that existed.  To perform the assessments, Penn hired a full-service engineering and architecture firm to perform facility conditions assessments (FCAs) for each of the buildings. The firm completed the survey in 2003 and, during the investigation, analyzed over 13 million square feet of building space which included air conditioning, heating, ventilation, plumbing, sprinkler, electrical service, electrical lighting, and fire alarm systems. Other areas of construction that were included in the investigation were building foundations and sub-structures, structural systems, exterior envelope (roofs, windows, doors, etc.) and conveying systems. Cost estimates were developed for in-kind replacement, and in 2004, a database was created to house the results of the assessments.

Since that initial round of FCA, 20-25% of the campus is re-surveyed every year and the data is updated to reflect projects that have been completed, changes in deferred maintenance backlog and adding any new needs. In 2015, the FCA program was revised and a new standardized assessment program was developed and implemented. The intent is that the customer (School or Center) will use the prioritization, organization, and report generating capabilities of the database as an effective capital budgeting tool.

The data in the FCA database is one of the tools available to identify eligible projects for FRF funding. In general, eligible projects must meet the following criteria:

  • Replacement of building assets that are non-programmatic and would be considered part of the building and its infrastructure, agnostic to the school or center occupying the building.
  • Replacement of existing assets only. New or additional equipment is not eligible.
  • Replacement of assets which have reached the end of their service life. Service life is based on industry standards provided by ASHRAE, BOMA and others.
  • Replacement of assets deemed “Immediate” or “High” priority. See below for explanation of these designations.
  • Fire sprinklers that are required by changes to the Philadelphia Fire Code. 

The building assets that are not eligible for funding from FRF generally includes programmatic equipment, furniture, floor coverings, interior paint, fire sprinklers not required by code and/or required by code due to changes initiated by the school or center.

Project Priority Levels

Each asset in the FCA database is assigned one of four priority levels. The priority levels indicate the severity of the need for replacement as well as the recommended time frame. The four priority levels are defined below:

Immediate Level

Address immediately. These include safety or code violations, and critical equipment that is not functional or close to failure. Generally scheduled for execution in the first year.

High Level

Schedule soon. These include items needing attention in the near term, as failure would impact the mission. Generally scheduled for execution two to four years out.

Medium Level

Schedule in the foreseeable future. Generally scheduled for execution five to seven years out.

Low Level


Less important projects related to aesthetic or minor performance issues, or projects related to systems or equipment that will reach the end of its useful life cycle within the ten-year scope of this Assessment. Generally scheduled for execution eight to ten years out.