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Ready or Not, Here It Comes! Building Condition Surveys Are Due in 2020

Every five years, all public school districts and Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in New York State are required to complete a Building Condition Survey for student occupied buildings.

A Building Condition Survey (BCS) is a visual inspection of all student-occupied school buildings conducted by a school district-selected team that includes at least one licensed architect or engineer. At a minimum, the survey assesses the current condition of all program spaces, plus major building infrastructure and site features and components. The intent of the survey is to assess these items for evidence of code compliance, deterioration, and structural failure, probable useful life, need for repair and maintenance, and/or need for replacement.

If you have been through the process in the past you know that the BCS document submitted to New York State Education Department (NYSED) can be, well, less than helpful for planning for your district’s ongoing capital work. However, there are ways to make this process result in a supportive and critical document for future capital improvement plans far beyond the five-year requirement.

The basic BCS requires the submission of the NYSED survey document, which does little to support your current and future planning needs. Many districts seek additional deliverables from their consultant, and NYSED encourages districts to use the survey process to deepen their understanding of their facility needs.

LaBella’s approach is to customize our deliverables to meet your needs. We can prepare and package a great deal of information to make your BCS into a living, usable document that is the foundation of your Five Year and Ten Year Plan. Our approach includes facilities staff interviews and collaboration to better understand the history of the building and its day-to-day operations. We’ll provide you with a comprehensive spreadsheet that is keyed to the rest of the report. It identifies items, locations, areas, proposed corrective actions, and cost estimates. We prioritize items based on deficiency conditions and impact to building occupants. This spreadsheet becomes your Five Year Capital Plan.

Some typical deliverables include:

  • Executive summary
  • Five Year Capital Plan
  • NYSED survey document submission
  • Spreadsheet with anticipated costs referenced to the survey document
  • Photographic documentation keyed to spreadsheet and floor plans
  • Full-service staff investigation, including architects, MEP, civil, and structural engineers
  • Colored reference plans identifying years of construction, types of flooring, asbestos locations, and types of ceilings
  • Hazardous material survey, if requested
  • Roof reports
  • Security assessments
  • Mechanical data, including unit age, model numbers, manufacturers, and filters
  • Arc-Flash hazard surveys
  • ADA accessibility surveys
  • Room-by-room data sheets

The above are typically priced per square foot, and many districts choose what they need from an à la carte list. Selecting a BCS consultant now may seem premature, but it will allow for scheduling priority for surveying during the busy summer recess. Don’t hesitate to ask to see a sample report during the selection process.