Explanation of the Problem.
Typical facility master plans are designed to follow a series of rigid steps aimed at achieving fixed goals and objectives, within a particular timespan and at an expected cost. Such time horizons are usually five, ten, and sometimes even fifteen or twenty years. Fixed plans tend to serve well when the future is foreseeable, and few unexpected events occur in the markets, population, and other change trends of the area. In our facilities management consulting work with school districts in the USA, changes often resist predictability. This has led to many school districts abandoning master plans altogether, or to engage them in fits and starts. Out of more the than 150 school districts with which the authors have worked, fewer than 10 have had active master plans. In the others the plans had been invalidated after only a few years by changes in external circumstances.
In our consulting practice, we recommend that school districts adopt a continuous, perpetual facility master planning process, as opposed to a rigid plan. We developed this process ten years ago for a school district that had not had any type of facilities plan for nearly eight years.
We present the essential elements of the continuous facility master planning process as we have structured it in our recommendations to school districts. This process can be used by owners of large building inventories of all types as a viable alternative to fixed plans.