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How much should be spent for facilities?

When can one defer maintenance?

These and other policy questions are the subjects of Simulation for Policy Inquiry, a recently published book with contributions from Whitestone authors.

Edited by Anand Desai, a professor in the John Glen School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University, this work consists of a collection of papers on the use of simulation models in a broad collection of policy areas. Simulation is a tool for informing decisions regarding the functioning of complex systems or processes over time. Two chapters address a question particularly relevant for facility management: how much should be spent for facilities?

In the chapter, Simulating Life Cycle Costs for Nuclear Facilities, a model anticipates the changing costs of facilities as they pass through their life cycle-from construction through operation to decommissioning-and are affected by the risk of shutdown from internal (lack of maintenance funding) and external (acts of nature) factors. Novel in this model is the assumption that the risk of facility failures can be related to the condition and proximity of neighboring facilities, particularly for the nuclear industry.

In another chapter, Simulating the Multiple Impacts of Deferred Maintenance, the chain of funding decisions for facilities maintenance results in a collection of outcomes. The demonstrated model has two parts; one representing funding trade offs between current and overdue repair needs, and another representing the multiple impacts-to condition, efficiency, productivity, sustainability and safety-of deferring maintenance. It is argued that a composite index reflecting multiple impacts would provide a richer basis for decision making than the single dimensional Facility Condition Index in common use.

Whitestone analysts Peter Lufkin and Jon Miller are coauthors of the facility cost chapters.

Simulation for Policy Inquiry


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Whitestone Research, with offices in Washington, DC and Santa Barbara, California, specializes in applied policy research and software development. Whitestone products and services are used every year by hundreds of major corporations, government agencies, and public and private institutions.

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