MU adds dorms to standard inspection rotation

Jun 19, 2014

Credit Adam Procter / flickr

In an effort to continue its standardization of inspection patterns, the University of Missouri has added residence halls to its regular facility inspection process. The fatal walkway collapse that caused the death of a Columbia, Missouri firefighter at University Village Apartments in February called attention to the safety of MU campus facilities.

The campus uses a national inspection system called ISES to assess its buildings. MU Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said through the system, MU inspects 20 percent of the campus's buildings each year. That means each building is inspected every five years.

In the past, residential facilities conducted inspections independent of the university's standardized procedures. Minor said many of the residence hall facilities are fairly new, so the need for them to go through the campus's regular inspection cycle is not as significant compared to other older campus buildings.

"We've been doing [inspections] in a systematic fashion it's just that we haven't standardized using ISES until more recently. We began that process in 2009," Minor said.

Prior ISES inspections of residence halls took place in 2009 and 2013. Other similar assessments were completed in 2000, 2005, and 2012.

Minor said the future residence hall inspections would examine a variety of factors including the buildings' exteriors, as well as plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems. He said the process would allow for advanced planning and provide insight into when these systems will need to be replaced.

"It anticipates what the lifecycle is and anticipates what the replacement cost is going to be so that institutions can then plan accordingly to do preventative maintenance to prolong the life of the systems," Minor said.

Adding the dorms to the regular ISES inspection will require more funding, but Minor says it will be beneficial overall.

"We feel it's well worth it because it gives us information on which to better plan. So rather than having unanticipated system failure, we can project many years out when a routine system might begin to fail," he said.

Minor said revenue generated from campus auxiliaries, which includes residence halls, dining centers and student unions, will fund these inspections. He says this money strictly comes from the auxiliaries and is not supported by tuition or state dollars in any way.

Moving forward Minor said he is happy to be a part of the process.

"I think this is another example of the university showing good diligence in trying to maintain its facilities and plan ahead so that we're using our resources wisely," Minor said.

If utilized properly, he said the process could help save money in the long run. 

Although the exact schedule for residence hall inspections is still being worked on, Minor said the first round should begin in 2015.