Cost of deferred maintenance at U of T drops slightly from last year

UTSG’s delayed repairs rise to $478 million

Cost of deferred maintenance at U of T drops slightly from last year


The university’s annual report on deferred maintenance reveals that the total cost of repairs required on U of T’s buildings is $549 million, down $2.5 million from last year. The cost of deferred maintenance represents the amount of money in repairs that the university is delaying, typically as a cost-saving measure.

The majority of the liability for this year is at UTSG, which accounts for $478 million, up by $4 million since last year. About five per cent of this figure — approximately $24 million — represents deficiencies that must be addressed within the next year, while approximately $287 million represents deficiencies that must be handled in the next three to five years.

UTSC’s deferred maintenance repairs this year totalled $42 million, down $2 million from last year. UTM accounts for $29 million of the total cost of deferred maintenance, down $4 million from last year’s figure.

The report also stated that the university’s combined facility condition index (FCI) — a number obtained by dividing the cost of repairs required by the cost of replacing the building — stands at 13.4 per cent, higher than the 11 per cent the Council of Ontario Universities last reported in 2015, but 0.5 per cent lower than last year. If an FCI is over 10 per cent, then repairs are needed.

The FCI of the 10 buildings at UTSC is 11 per cent . The 14 buildings at UTM have a combined FCI of 6.7 per cent.

UTSG’s FCI currently stands at 14.7 per cent, down slightly from last year’s 15 per cent. Of the 101 academic and administrative buildings audited for the report, 71 were classified as being in poor condition.

The report also noted that the majority of UTSG buildings were built post-war and have lower construction quality than pre-war buildings and modern, complex buildings on campus. These post-war buildings tend to require a “fundamental renewal of building systems.”

The report also pointed out that the combined internal and federal funding is “approaching” the roughly $28 million needed to reduce the FCI to 12 per cent within 10 years at UTSG. According to the report, the university “can maintain and even start to improve the condition of our academic and administrative buildings [at U of T]” with this funding.

The document also detailed changes to be made to how the deferred maintenance figures are assessed, including shortening the auditing frequency from every seven years to every five years, incorporating costs associated with professional services and consulting fees, and providing more accurate building information.

$13 million increase in deferred maintenance over the past two years

Necessary repair costs soar, FCIs shrink

$13 million increase in deferred maintenance over the past two years

The University of Toronto’s annual deferred maintenance report details a staggering number of required repairs for many buildings across all three campuses. Some structures have accumulated up to $50 million in deferred maintenance costs. 

Administrative and academic buildings are rated on the Facility Condition Index (FCI). Buildings with an FCI of 10 per cent or more are considered to be in poor condition. The university’s combined FCI is 13.4 per cent, down from last year’s figure of 14.1 per cent. The average FCI across the Council of Ontario Universities is 11 per cent.

The majority of buildings in need of maintenance are located on UTSG, where 72 out of 104 buildings that were audited are considered to be in poor condition. UTM has the most buildings in excellent condition with nine out of 14 audited falling under that category. UTSC has more buildings in excellent and fair condition than those in poor. For the second year in a row, St. George’s Mary Hall carries the largest FCI of 52.1 per cent. 

The report states that over the past five years, FCIs across all three campuses have been either flat or on the decline; it goes on to say that internal and provincial funding allows U of T to maintain or improve the condition of the buildings audited in the report.

Buildings are placed into one of three categories: priority one items are those that should be rectified within the next year; priority two items are those that should be addressed in one to three years; and priority three items should be addressed in the next three to five years. UTSG has accumulated $23,273,777 in priority one deferred maintenance costs, while UTM sits at $2,490,750, and UTSC at $107,607. 

During this fiscal year, $18,730,000 has been spent in major projects to improve buildings in serious need of repair. The report concludes that funding for maintenance will allow for the improvement of building conditions, although it will not be sufficient to solve all of the present issues.

The Medical Sciences Building — St. George

The Medical Sciences Building is the the most recently audited building on the St. George Campus and is home to U of T’s Faculty of Medicine. It carries a deferred maintenance cost of $54,593,261 and an FCI of 16.9 per cent. 

The Science Wing — UTSC 

UTSC’s Science Wing carries a deferred maintenance cost of $24,848,394 and an FCI of 18.2 per cent. The report does not specify when the next audit of the building will be; it only indicates that the most recent audit was in the 2010–2011 year. 

The Galbraith Building — St. George

The Galbraith Building is part of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering and was completed in 1960. It currently houses the office of the registrar and first year office for the faculty, as well as the Department of Civil Engineering. It carries a deferred maintenance cost of $20,801,508, and its FCI is 51.5 per cent. 

The Kaneff Centre for Management and Social Science — UTM

The Kaneff Centre houses the business, commerce, and management programs at UTM, as well as the campus Blackwood Gallery. The building was expanded in 2011. Its deferred maintenance cost is relatively low at $1,626,215,  but it carries a 23.4 per cent FCI, the largest at UTM.

Sidney Smith Hall — St. George

The central building of the Faculty of Arts & Science, carries a deferred maintenance cost of $27,795,964 and an FCI of 44.1 per cent. Both numbers are lower than the previous audit.

Deferred maintenance crosses half billion dollar mark

Facilities and Services confident that situation under control

Deferred maintenance crosses half billion dollar mark

The University of Toronto’s Medical Sciences Building was built in the late 1960s, at the height of the university’s Brutalist architecture fad. Last week, part of the roof between the main building and the JJR MacLeod Auditorium fell in. The Medical Sciences Building tops the university’s deferred maintenance list, with some $54 million in outstanding repairs.

INTERACTIVE: Maps of the deferred maintenance on University of Toronto’s three campuses

U of T’s total deferred maintenance rose to $505 million last year according to a report presented at the January 27 meeting of the Business Board of Governing Council.

The half-billion dollar figure represents a $21 million increase over last year’s $484 million, but Ron Swail, assistant vice-president, facilities and services, and the report’s author, says that the university is moving in the right direction. “I think we’re managing the issue,” he said. “We haven’t seen as big a jump in the total deferred maintenance. That is because we’re getting money and putting it towards this issue.”

The Facilities Condition Index (FCI) is a measure of a building’s condition. An FCI of 10 per cent indicates a building or property portfolio in poor condition; U of T’s average FCI sits at 14.1 per cent, down from 14.3 per cent last year.

Swail emphasizes that the numbers in the report are “order of magnitude figures,” and should not be taken verbatim. The university’s deferred maintenance totals do not include the federated colleges of Victoria, St. Michael’s, and Trinity, which manage their own property portfolios.

The university deals with two kinds of repairs, explained Swail. Routine maintenance like replacing bulbs or fixing broken faucets is low-cost, and is covered under the Facilities and Services operational budget. Deferred maintenance issues are considered capital projects, which are “large in nature, and by definition they are things that are not routine — when you repair a capital item it lasts for many years, sometimes 20–30 years.”

Expansion and maintenance can go hand-in-hand, since maintenance work is sometimes undertaken as part of larger capital projects. This allows the university to reduce costs by using construction companies already on-site, Swail said. Such collaboration efforts include the renovations of 1 Spadina Crescent, the Munk School of Global Affairs, and the Lassonde Mining Building.

Swail also cited a section of the Jackman Humanities building roof that was paid for from the deferred maintenance budget, because it was not included in the original renovation plans. “A lot of what we’ve funded for maintenance is in the renovation projects, the capital projects that replace old and tired space,” said Scott Maybury, vice-president, operations, at the Business Board meeting.

The emphasis on expansion is also a result of provincial funding structures. “The province likes to fund new projects, new buildings while deferred maintenance bills go up,” Maybury said.

Ben Coleman, a member of the UTSU’s board of directors and a candidate for one of the two undergraduate student positions on Governing Council, said that the university needs to work around this problem. “People say maintenance isn’t sexy, and is therefore hard to fund,” he said. “Some of these repairs help U of T save energy, or could be tied in with renovations that make our spaces more innovative or allow us to expand hands-on research learning. If we sell maintenance on those benefits, it might be easier to get the province to cough up.”

UTSU president Munib Sajjad admitted that the union has not been active on the question of deferred maintenance. “However, we are a little disappointed in how U of T has been maintaining its own buildings,” he said. “We definitely think that the university is over-prioritizing expansion rather than maintaining its current quarters as well as its current students.”

Direct provincial funding for deferred maintenance through the Facilities Renewal Program (FRP) fell from a high of $4.7 million in 2010. The university anticipates receiving $3.2 million for 2013–2014. Swail said the university has shown a significant financial commitment to dealing with the issue. “Over time it inversed quite quickly — our internal funding eclipsed what the province was giving us,” he explained.

The university provided $13.1 million in internal funding for 2013, and that number is expected to grow by $1 million this year, to $14.1 million. Added to the anticipated $3.2 million fro the FRP, the anticipated total deferred maintenance budget is $17.3 million. Swail’s report suggests that maintaining the current condition of U of T’s buildings will require a yearly investment of $19.3 million.

In an October interview with The Varsity, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Brad Duguid said that universities need to take responsibility for the upkeep of their own buildings: “If an institution doesn’t have the capability of maintaining a facility, they ought to not be applying for funding for us to build it.”

Sajjad called for the university to reconsider which capital projects it funds. “If there’s going to be enhancements to the learning, enhancements for expansion, I think that’s where the province comes in,” he said. “I think the university really needs to take steps and re-prioritize its own funds in maintaining its own buildings.”

Coleman, who attended the Business Board meeting, says the university needs to do a better job of caring for its facilities. “The leaders of our university need to step up — right now the long term plan is “Sit tight and hope for the best,’” he said. “I think that the students and faculty that work and learn in these buildings deserve better.”

Mainawati Rambali, one of the two student members of Business Board, attended the meeting but did not respond to a request for comment. Andrew Girgis, the other student member, was not present on January 27 and also failed to respond.

The provincial Liberal government will draw up its 2014 budget in the coming months. Duguid said that new funding for capital projects is unlikely to be included in the budget.

Deferred maintenance maps

U of T's $505 million in outstanding projects

Deferred maintenance maps

Deferred Maintenance Maps KeysThe 2013 Annual Report on Deferred Maintenance was presented to the Business Board of the University of Toronto’s Governing Council on Monday, January 27. The university has a total of $505 million in deferred maintenance across its three campuses.

The condition of buildings is indicated by the Facilities Condition Index (FCI), which measures the dollar value of the deferred maintenance outstanding on a building against its replacement value (the cost to replace every part and system of each building, i.e. the build-from-scratch cost). An FCI above 10 per cent indicates a building or property portfolio in ‘poor’ condition.

The maps below show the FCI of every building assessed for the 2013 report. Click on individual buildings to see numbers.


University of Toronto St. George (UTSG)

U of T’s St. George campus accounts for $435 million of the university’s $505 million deferred maintenance backlog. UTSG has an FCI of 15.1 per cent.


University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM)

U of T’s Mississauga campus accounts for $32.7 million of the university’s $505 million deferred maintenance backlog. UTM has an FCI of 8.3 per cent


University of Toronto at Scarborough (UTSC)

U of T’s Scarborough campus accounts for $37 million of the university’s $505 million deferred maintenance backlog. UTSC has an FCI of 12.6 per cent.