Survey Reveals Majority of Facilities Teams Are Unprepared for Catastrophes

Just 14% of facilities teams are fully prepared for catastrophes, which are shown to occur approximately every two years at $500K average cost per event


WALNUT CREEK, Calif., Nov. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Survey statistics in the just released eBook, “Information Management for Facilities and Operations” show that building managers and their facilities teams aren’t as prepared for the next catastrophe as they’d like to be. Released by AIIM Market Research and ARC Document Solutions, the eBook highlights trends in facilities management on preparedness and recovery, including cloud storage and accessibility of building information, the ability to respond to emergencies, and succession planning to preserve knowledge and information.

“As a company, ARC promotes the use of solid building information practices so it was a privilege to partner with AIIM on conducting this ground-breaking industry research,” stated Brian Bailard, EVP and general manager of ARC Technology Solutions, a unit of ARC Document Solutions. “Vice President and Chief Analyst of AIIM Market Intelligence Bob Larrivee’s independent survey analysis provides valuable insights for strengthening the ability of facilities managers to respond swiftly and effectively during a catastrophe while improving their day-to-day operations.”

The survey reveals a catastrophe in a commercial building or public facility can be expected every two years, far more often and at a far higher cost than previously believed. Catastrophe types incurring the highest costs include water, fires, wind-related and earthquakes and overall, there was an average cost of $500,000 in damages to buildings.

Accessing information, including emergency response plans, ranked as one of the top three challenges faced by facilities teams following a catastrophe. Of the survey respondents who cite having digital policies and procedures in place, only 29% report these documents are in the cloud, and only 15% say they are accessible on mobile devices. The standard practice of storing information in paper form is far more vulnerable in a catastrophe than information stored in the cloud, adding urgency to implement technology resources that provide a more comprehensive approach to preparedness.

The survey also shows that facilities teams are overworked and incurring far more overtime than previously thought. Average overtime budgets are approaching $50,000 for facilities management staffs. Information inefficiencies and disorganization of warranty information prove to be a substantial cost for building managers. The survey also highlights that searching for information consumes a substantial amount of time that can be better spent performing preventative maintenance.

Facilities team workers as a group represent an aging workforce according to the survey; on average, 29% of facilities team workers are age 55 or older. Many of these workers are the sole source for specific building information details, making the preservation of information difficult once they retire. When they retire and leave the building, so does their knowledge, which adds to the challenge of onboarding new employees as quickly as possible. The survey includes estimates of how long it takes new employees to reach full productivity.

“Historically, facilities, engineering and operations teams have been viewed as non-revenue drivers, resulting in fewer budget dollars allocated for productivity and emergency readiness tools,” observed AIIM’s Bob Larrivee. “This survey strongly suggests that bottom line performance can be improved with technology tools that make accessing critical information easy and fast.”

“The survey results highlight the urgency for facilities and operations teams to adopt modern practices for building information storage and retrieval to be prepared for the next catastrophe,” stated Brian Bailard. “The added benefit of cloud storage is enabling anytime, anywhere access to facilities dashboards via mobile devices.”

The eBook contains insights from a survey conducted in August 2017 by AIIM to their 190,000+ global community of facilities and operations professionals. Analysis of the survey was provided by Bob Larrivee, who noted the survey’s timeliness in light of recent hurricanes in the Southeast, wild fires in California and Oregon, and tragic mass shootings.

For more survey findings, download the eBook. A free, 1-hour webcast will also be held on November 30 at 11:00AM PT to discuss additional survey insights and analysis.

About AIIM

AIIM is a global, non-profit organization that provides independent research, education and certification programs to information professionals. AIIM represents the entire information management community, with programs and content for practitioners, technology suppliers, integrators and consultants. They provide the education, research and certification that information professionals need to manage and share information assets in an era of mobile, social, cloud and big data.

About ARC Document Solutions

ARC provides technology and document solutions for every stage of the building lifecycle. ARC solutions deliver productivity improvements and cost savings by providing instant access to accurate facilities information anytime, and on any mobile device, online or offline. Facilities managers use dashboard apps to view, update and share documents for maintenance requests, during construction projects, and in the event of an emergency. (NYSE: ARC)