Public sector asset managers from around the world believe there is a need to decrease the total amount of both physical assets and space in their respective nations.

1 Angel Square interior

They also seek to transform the vast amounts of data they receive into actionable intelligence. In addition, the managers are concerned about a lack of standardized training and education needed to attract talent and develop professionals for the twenty-first century.

Further, in light of the immense backlog of deferred maintenance that governments have accumulated among their portfolios, managers recognize that the old way of managing assets is unsustainable. The future model must be more strategic to prevent these backlogs from continuing.  

Those are among the most important insights in a major international study which was released at RICS’ Summit of the Americas, DC2016, in Washington. The RICS Public Sector Asset Management: Roundtable Report is based on roundtables conducted with public sector asset management (PSAM) officials from eight different cities. RICS is an international organization focused on the land and property sector. 

The research also found that public sector asset managers, now more than ever, are well-positioned to influence public policy as governments seek ways to manage their assets more responsibly. The managers said that this is true for several reasons: widespread initiatives towards sustainability; a recognition that technology is transforming how the workplace is utilized; executives’ desire for greater visibility of their enterprise through recent advances in analytics; and a major interest in technology, especially enhanced automation.

The study was spurred by a call to action at last year’s RICS Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, by James B. Balocki, Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Army Reserve Command. At that event, Balocki asked for private sector assistance in helping his and other public sector agencies better manage their assets in changing and challenging times.

This research identifies a number of findings that enhance our understanding of public sector asset management. The framework suggested here points us in that direction and will be helpful as we look to a future with even greater need to find efficiencies in the employment and sustainment of our real property assets. It points to the need for creative, collaborative solutions, which are precisely what we seek to more effectively employ those critical resources.

The Building People, which is based in Leesburg, Va., lead the research and wrote the report.

Our team, including Managing Director Charles Dilley, was honored to be selected by RICS to lead this research effort and leverage our asset management and public sector expertise across the globe. Working with RICS members around the world was an exciting experience, and I am thrilled with the level of passion and complexity that our public sector partners brought to the research effort.

Kristin Bammel, who managed the project for RICS, pointed out that the study breaks new ground:

This research is the first of its kind on a global scale and although the results may not come as a surprise to some, it is important to see that issues in public asset management are not local but global. This research is also a good starting point for both the industry and RICS to do more in-depth studies in specific directions as well as for the development of applied training and education.

Read the next page in this section