June 22, 2020
Horizon Needs to Fully Utilize the Maintenance IT System to Better Support Maintenance Decisions
REGINA, SK., June 23, 2020: In her 2020 Report – Volume 1, Chapter 8, Provincial Auditor Judy Ferguson reports Horizon School Division No. 205 needs to determine whether it is doing the right maintenance and enough maintenance to keep its facilities in a satisfactory condition.
Key Facts about Horizon School Division and its Facilities
- Covers about 31,000 square km with schools located in 30 communities in central Saskatchewan
- Owns and operates 38 schools, and 4 other facilities (head office, maintenance shops, bus garage)
- 87% of schools more than 50 years old and, on average, in poor condition—similar to the provincial average
- Annually spends, on average, $3 million to maintain its facilities
- Has nine full-time equivalent positions responsible for maintaining facilities with suitable qualifications
“Not carrying out effective maintenance and repairs on facilities can result in potential health and safety problems for students, staff and public, reduced quality of space, loss of facility value, higher future repair costs, and facilities not meeting their expected service life,” Ferguson reports.
The audit found Horizon School Division used varied and informal processes to plan for and track its maintenance activiites. It needs to:
- Prioritize all identified maintenance, or always do maintenance when expected. The audit identified seven sprinkler and 19 fire alarm systems with deficiencies unrepaired more than a year after the deficiencies were identified Also, for 23 of 32 preventative maintenance items tested, staff did not complete maintenance (inspect furnaces and/or playgrounds) as and when expected, or document reasons why.
- Use the maintenance IT system to its full capacity, and keep information in that system up-to-date and accurate. Audit analysis found staff had not properly documented the completion or status of over 20 percent of requests for maintenance listed as outstanding in the IT system. The audit also found key information in its IT system (e.g., condition and expected replacement year) remained unchanged from the 2017 Ministry third-party facility assessment. The IT system relies on up-to-date information to reliability calculate the facility condition index (FCI) and estimate deferred maintenance.
- Give its Board of Trustees sufficient information about whether the results of its maintenance activities are maintaining its facilities in a satisfactory manner to inform decision-making. The audit found reports provided did not include year-over-year trends in the FCI or deferred maintenance. Horizon’s FCI by school ranged from about 6 percent (fair) to 48 percent (critical). Also, the audit identified Horizon did not fully utilize its facilities maintenance budget over the past three years, though it had an estimated deferred maintenance of over $70 million.
“Without sufficient analysis and reporting of maintenance results, the Board cannot assess whether the Division effectively maintains its facilities and components, or whether maintenance funding is sufficient and efficiently used. Using the maintenance IT system to its full capacity would assist the School Division in improving its prioritization of identified maintenance deficiencies and in determining whether it is doing enough and the right maintenance to move towards having its facilities and components in a satisfactory condition,” Ferguson said.
(Note: The facility condition index (FCI) is the amount of deferred maintenance divided by the current replacement value. Deferred maintenance is the amount of maintenance postponed or phased for future action. FCI and estimated deferred maintenance help show whether the right maintenance is done at the right time.)
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