20 Questions to Ask Prior to Beginning the Annual Budgeting Process

by John H. zumBrunnen, Founder and CEO, zumBrunnen, Inc.

The annual budgeting process is a critical step in managing your facilities and strategic planning. We have developed a list of questions that should be answered before finalizing your annual and 20-year budgets.

  1. Are you planning changes in services that may affect building systems or equipment needs?
  2. Are any critical warranties provided by a developer, contractor, or major equipment or systems manufacturer set to expire during the next year?
  3. Are any of your contracts with service contractors or vendors set to expire?
  4. Do you have any significant issues with any of your service contractors or vendors?
  5. Have any significant environmental or geological events occurred on or near the property that may have a negative impact?
  6. Have any new mandated changes been made to the building codes?
  7. Have you received any building code citations?
  8. Have any significant building system components been added, overhauled, or replaced?
  9. Have any major systems or equipment become obsolete?
  10. Has there been any extreme wear or damage to major building systems or equipment?
  11. Are there any technological changes or product developments that may result in a change to a major component or system?
  12. Has any maintenance been deferred to building systems or equipment?
  13. Has pricing/inflation been significantly impacted?
  14. Did reserve funding and expenses occur as planned?
  15. Have reserves deviated from the desired percent-funded goal?
  16. Have there been any changes in demographics or competition that need to be responded to?
  17. Have there been changes in the board or senior levels of management?
  18. Have there been any legal challenges that may affect the budget?
  19. Is there a plan to refinance, complete a major renovation or expansion, apply for accreditation, or attempt a sale or merger?
  20. Have three or more years passed since an independent consultant updated your building systems and equipment assessment and funding plan?

John H. zumBrunnen is the CEO and founder of zumBrunnen, Inc., an independent building consulting firm based in Atlanta, Georgia (www.zumbrunnen.com). The recipient of a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of North Dakota and a member of LeadingAge, zumBrunnen has 35 plus years’ experience in construction, assessment, and property development. He is the inventor of the FacilityForecast® software system and a respected speaker in the industry.

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