How to Conduct Facilities Condition Assessments: 3 Ways to Leverage Digital Twins

How To Improve Facilities Condition Assessments with Digital Twins

Effective facility management plays a vital role in safety and preventative maintenance plans. But, it also plays a role in asset management. After all, if a facility is in great shape, it’s a boon to any portfolio. Facilities condition assessments are key to this. Sadly, this important tool isn’t given the digital treatment it deserves.

With the implementation of digital twin technology, you can make your facility condition assessments more effective, more accessible, and easier to create. First, let’s establish a strong foundation of facility condition assessment knowledge and dos and don’ts.

What is a facility condition assessment?

A facility condition assessment (FCA) is an in-depth look at numerous components of a facility to determine the overall condition of a facility. An FCA can help with identifying necessary renovations as well as day-to-day tweaks, and plays a vital role in helping determine an organization's facility condition index (FCI). The FCI rating is determined through division of the sum of the building’s total repairs by the cost of replacing the entire building.

Facility Condition Index: The overall rating of a building’s health

The Facility Condition Index (FCI) is a metric used to assess the condition of a building or facility. It is typically calculated by dividing the cost of necessary repairs by the current replacement value of the facility. The formula for calculating FCI is:

FCI = Total cost of repairs ➗ Cost of replacing the building x 100

An FCA is typically conducted by one or more professionals, ranging from architects to engineers to commercial building inspectors. While facility condition assessments aren’t typically conducted by a facility manager, the facility manager does take ownership of the FCA and spearhead efforts. Note: Unlike a property condition assessment (PCA), which usually takes place once before a sale or portfolio assessment, an FCA is ongoing and should become a regular part of preventative maintenance and asset management.

A facility condition assessment is performed at regular intervals to help facility managers stay on top of maintenance, safety, compliance and more. Not only this, FCA data can help determine and improve the useful life of physical assets, give building owners more for their capital investments, and take out the guesswork with data-driven decisions. 

To ensure those objectives are met, an FCA typically includes information on:

  • On-site inspections of the physical condition of the facility

  • Inspections of major building systems, including HVAC systems, safety equipment, etc.

  • Determination of system and asset ages and condition

  • Creation of a maintenance backlog and cost estimations

  • A plan for dealing with urgent maintenance

  • Evaluation of energy efficiency and a plan for improvement

  • Accessibility evaluation and a plan for furthering accessibility

Because an FCA is an ongoing process that occurs at regular intervals, it’s important to note that what you include in an assessment can change over time. This is especially true as regulations and compliances change, as your facility will likely have to adapt. 

An FCA should also change to address recurring issues. For instance, if you’re regularly finding similar maintenance issues during your FCA, both your maintenance program and the scope of your FCA likely need to change.

Why you need to assess facility conditions  

Reasons for assessing facility conditions extend well beyond maintenance. While facility assessments enable more effective preventative maintenance, FCAs are important for a number of additional reasons.

Risk prevention

Safety is a foundational element of facility management. When you’re staying on top of your facility, you’re staying on top of maintenance and facility repairs — both of which have a direct impact on safety and risk.

Without regular FCAs, your facility can fall into a state of disrepair, equipment can break down or malfunction, and you can more easily lag behind compliance and regulatory laws.


Energy efficiency and overall sustainability are important to long-term business success. An FCA gives you a complete picture of your facility and the benefit of historical data. With this information you can project energy consumption and cost, determine which equipment is in need of replacement, and come up with a long-term plan for running a more sustainable facility.

For example, if you know one of your biggest energy-consuming pieces of equipment is nearing the end of its life, you can note this in your FCA and make plans to replace it with something more efficient.

Maintenance programs and scheduling

Reactive maintenance is costly and dangerous, as it typically entails in-depth repairs or total replacement of equipment. And, when equipment isn’t working properly it puts your team at risk.

On the other hand, when you’re regularly performing FCAs, you’re able to more easily create a facility maintenance program and determine which equipment needs service and how often. This is especially true as you build more and more historical data over time. This can result in more effective preventative maintenance, which can have an ROI of up to 400%, according to some organizations.

Budget planning

Maintenance and facility upkeep are both large sources of financial burden. As mentioned above, regular FCAs can help you stay on top of maintenance and potentially reduce costs there. On top of this, facility condition assessments can help you identify which major facility expenses you have coming up, from equipment costs to safety updates and so on. This all allows for more accurate and effective capital planning.

Informed decision making

When you’re regularly running facility condition assessments, you’re getting a complete picture of every element of your facility or facilities — maintenance needs and forecasting, upcoming compliance requirements, accessibility needs, and more.

With the information provided by an FCA, you can partner with other teams across your organization and make more informed decisions. For example, if your finance team is trying to determine budgetary needs for your department, you can quickly provide an in-depth breakdown and forecast of any potential maintenance costs or upcoming equipment purchases.

Without an FCA, you’d have to stop what you’re doing and try predicting upcoming maintenance costs. Not only would this process take up valuable time, it would also be less effective due to lack of historical data. Because you’re running regular FCAs, you have historical projections to compare your estimations to.

3 practical applications of digital twins for facility conditions assessment

Facility condition assessments require a multifaceted approach, as they require the inspection of the facility itself, equipment and machinery, and more. While there are a number of steps that go into conducting FCAs, the process as a whole can be broken into a few key areas — with numerous opportunities for bolstering efforts through the use of digital twin technology.

1. Pre-assessment prep

Before the actual facility condition assessment process, there are a number of steps to take and documents to gather. This step is crucial no matter how you’re going about your FCA, but doubly so if you’re hiring a third party to run the assessment. Time is money, and any documents and prep work you can do ahead of time can help the assessment go smoothly.

Run through your own rough pre-assessment walk-through, checking the current condition of the structure itself, reviewing maintenance logs, utility conditions, and more. During your pre-assessment, try to get an idea of the scope of the upcoming FCA. If your facility is in dire need of upkeep, a more in-depth FCA is likely needed.

During the pre-assessment prep, it’s also important to gather any maintenance logs, repair records, floorplans, and any other relevant historical reports you may have handy.

How digital twins can help

The use of digital twins, such as those provided by Matterport, can help you capture more detailed records of your facility. Instead of 2D-floor plans and sketches, you can provide more depth with detailed 3D virtual captures of your space. Matterport digital twins are also easily accessible online, allowing other stakeholders to collaborate and offer feedback regardless of their location.

Using digital twin files and the collaboration made possible by Matterport, your team can accelerate preparation for FCAs and keep everyone in the loop no matter where they are. The UK-based Northumbrian Water is a great example of this, as they use Matterport digital twins to give their team context before they visit a site. This allows them to accelerate new projects without sacrificing quality.

2. Goal setting

This step can almost run in parallel with the aforementioned prep. With any FCA efforts, it’s important to set clear objectives and goals. Is your organization angling for an acquisition in the near future? Or are you looking to strengthen your safety and risk mitigation efforts? Improve ROI delivered by a certain facility?

Pull in stakeholders from throughout your organization, from finance to corporate and so on. Work together and identify weaknesses or opportunities for growth. Any of these areas could be a great focus for your facility condition assessment.

How digital twins can help

Whether your organization has numerous locations, distributed teams, or everyone under one roof, getting multiple stakeholders together and on the same page isn’t always easy. Digital twins can help.

When you’re using digital twins to create virtual spaces, you can quickly share files with other stakeholders and collaborate in the same “space.” 

For example, Central Lincoln People’s Utility District of Oregon was able to eliminate more than 250 site visits over four years by using Matterport’s digital twin platform. With these digital twins they could quickly collaborate with stakeholders from anywhere, assessing the sites and coming up with a plan for their massive power system upgrade.

3. Performing the inspection

With your goals set it’s time to perform the inspection itself. If you’re using an outside party for your FCA, collaboration is key. Give them secure access to the files you’ve created thus far, and make sure they’re in the loop as far as your own assessment and goals.

If you’re performing the condition assessment yourself, leave no stone unturned. Even if your goals are largely safety or maintenance focused, you still want to ensure you’re being thorough with data collection and checking every facet of your facility: the structure itself, HVAC, utilities, foundation, equipment, safety and accessibility measures, the flow of the space, etc.

When tackling the FCA in-house, it’s important to make sure nobody is overwhelmed. Break into teams, with different stakeholders taking point for their area of responsibility. A seasoned maintenance lead can lead the maintenance portion of the FCA, an experienced floor lead can lead the FCA inspection of the manufacturing space, and so on.

How digital twins can help

Without digital twins, you’re ultimately at the mercy of any existing facility documentation, as well as your own photos, videos, and notes taken during the FCA. Matterport digital twins are quick and easy to capture, especially when using any of the Pro camera models. Unlike other scanning methods, this makes it possible to quickly capture scans of the space as you’re performing the assessment.

Once you’ve completed a scan, you can securely share the file online with other team members. From there, they can use Matterport tags to comment on items, note issues, and collaborate. 

JFC & Associates, an enterprise management company out of Florida, used Matterport digital twins to bolster asset management efforts in a similar manner. With Matterport digital twins, their clients can easily access captures of real spaces, including the equipment inside. From there, they can click the equipment and even trigger workflows through Maximo. 

This kind of technology not only makes it easier to conduct thorough FCAs, but also opens the door to streamlined manufacturing and maintenance workflows. 

4. Iterate and repeat

Facility condition assessments aren’t a one-and-done effort. Your team will conduct them time and time again, changing the goals and focus over time. With each FCA, your team should get more efficient at running the assessments, and the assessments themselves should evolve.

By implementing the Matterport platform into your organization, you can improve your building condition assessments in a number of ways:

1. Matterport digital twins are easy to navigate 24/7.

2. Digital twins provide instant reference capabilities, especially for remote or distributed teams.

3. Digital twins clear up ambiguity that sometimes comes with 2D visuals.

4. Anything tagged in a plan is searchable and easier to navigate for a wider audience.

5. Digital twins provide in-depth operational records for facilities in a secure and shareable format.

6. Matterport digital twins can easily be turned into floor plans, CAD files, and BIM files for further flexibility.

Get the most out of your facilities and your FCA efforts with Matterport today. Start by signing up for a free account today.

Still a few pieces to put in place for your foundational facility condition assessment knowledge? Read on for the answers to the most common questions about FCAs.


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