Photo courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress

Over a 20 day audit period in the winter, interior temperatures peaked over 80°F on 15 days and peaked over 85°F on 6 of those days.

Our U.S. Navy’s “Sufficiency of United States Naval Academy Infrastructure Report” finds an infrastructure and deferred maintenance backlog is impeding the Academy’s mission goals. In response, Vice Chief of Naval Operations has commited $15 million every other year to fix. Clearly, deferred maintenance backlogs are more than line items on a budget or statistics on a map. The Navy’s report has cast light on the seriousness of many black swan maintenance issues lurking in the basements, crawl spaces, attics, and mechanical rooms of one of the most important educational facilities in the country.

What maintenance risks are hiding in your building?

For the Naval Academy, deferred maintenance backlog risks include:

Risks of (1) hindrances to executing the academic and physical fitness mission; (2) loss of academic accreditation; (3) safety and health hazards and regulatory violations; and (4) damage or loss of significant Naval historical documents, pictures, and artifacts. Overall, this could lead to long-term negative impacts on the heritage and reputation for USNA and the Department of the Navy. – Ronnie Booth, Assistant Auditor General, Energy, Installations, and Environment Audits

This report is based on property record cards, Maximo maintenance logs, and planning documents. A summary analysis ranked on scales of 0 to 100 the Physical Quality (functionally support building occupants), Mission Dependency (impact to the mission should the facility be damaged or destroyed), and Condition Ratings (general physical fitness and maintenance status, independent of its mission) for 15 individual facilities.

Examples of the deferred maintenance include exposed metal rebar, standing water and mold, and significant water intrusion from deteriorated roofing and exterior masonry. Foundations are cracked, walls are leaning in towards public sidewalks, and excessive amounts of energy is wasted due to a) old lighting technology wired to a single switch per floor and b) original HVAC systems from 1973 remain in-place, with various components “at the end of their useful life.” Not only that, certain electrical systems are aged and “not designed to accommodate current electrical demands.”

Of course, we aren’t torpedoing the Navy for its stark, insufficient maintenance. The fittings on those ’73 HVAC components aren’t tightening themselves! Indeed, the Navy should be commended for running this maintenance audit and committing to a plan of action that addresses the issues identified. And the Navy is not alone; the CEO of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority admits it’s at a switch in the tracks between a $40 billion overhaul or a death spiral of neglect.

Deferred maintenance is a major risk and Gridium is here to help.

About Millen Paschich

Millen has been thinking about the built environment since he was four, when he started with site walks on residential construction projects. He began his career at Cambridge Associates and has an MBA from UCLA. Talk to him about bicycling, buildings, businesses, and green chile burritos!

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