Vice President & Principal & Director of P2S Construction Management & Public/Private University Market Segment Leader
PE, LC, LEED AP BD+C
Importance of Utility Systems Master Planning in Campus Environment
Utility systems are an essential component of a functional group of facilities in a campus environment. Often hidden and invisible, they are also the most overlooked, forgotten and neglected systems in a campus environment. These utility systems typically comprise of electrical, water, gas, centralized heating and cooling systems, sewer system, storm drain and telecommunications systems and are sized to meet the demands of the group of facilities existing in a campus environment.
Addition of new buildings on campus (usually dictated by academic and facilities master plans) are often planned and budgeted without considering the impact of these buildings on the current utility systems. In some cases, the budget fails to include either extension or upgrade of these utility systems to serve the proposed facilities.
Utility systems master planning is thus an essential effort and an important step towards creating an effective and useful planning tool in guiding a campus in not only expanding and maintaining these utility systems to support existing facilities but also support future facilities planned at the campus. Without a good utility master plan, utility expansion may not be sized properly for the added facility; utilities may be added and/or installed without proper isolation valves and tees, manholes, or junction boxes located where future connections may be required and utilities may be sized for only one particular facility without considering the need to serve future facilities planned in the area that might necessitate a larger size.