Find answers to your questions about the many functions of Facilities Management, including building and landscape services, fleet services, production management, customer service and maintenance requests, project management, and sustainability.
Is the UC San Diego electrical system reliable?
Yes. The UC San Diego electrical system is an example for others to emulate. It is reliable, innovative, and well-maintained. The design is similar to the systems used reliably at many other large California research universities, including UCLA, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and Stanford.
UC San Diego’s utility infrastructure has received recognition and awards including:
- 2010 EPA Energy Star Award for Cogeneration System
- UC/CSU 2006 Best Practices award for Best Load Management Program
- UC/CSU 2005 Best Practices awards for Best Load Management and load-shed programming
- Recognized in November 2010 Power Magazine’s article Smart Power Generation at UCSD
- Frequently hosts visitors from around the world who come to learn about the campus’ innovative micro-grid and energy systems
What makes the system reliable?
UC San Diego is connected to the SDG&E utility grid; SDG&E is recognized as one of the most reliable utilities in the western U.S. Power to campus is supplied by three separate SDG&E feeders that merge at a single connection point at the East Campus Switching Station (ECSS). By having three separate SDG&E feeders supply power, a loss of power to the campus will only occur when all three routes for power are interrupted. Although rare, this can happen as the result of a regional power failure or other catastrophic event.
The campus power system also has built in redundancies at multiple levels to reduce the risk of power loss. These redundancies include:
- Three power transformers capable of delivering power to campus circuits. Two transformers can supply the campus and the third ensures service if one of the first two units is unavailable.
- Redundant power feeds. There are two electrical connections to each building on campus. Each electrical feeder is rated to carry the full load of the buildings in case one is not available. Most other campuses do not have this level of redundancy at the building level.
Maintenance practices meet or exceed manufacturer’s recommendations and industry best practices.
If the electrical system is so reliable, why were there several power outages in less than one year?
While the campus power system is reliable, many factors outside campus control can affect it. This occurred with the recent power outages that resulted from a regional loss of power and a fire where power enters the campus at the East Campus Switching Station (ECSS).
UC San Diego has a cogeneration plant and fuel cell that generate electricity. Why does the campus experience an outage when SDG&E power is interrupted?
UC San Diego is currently dependent on SDG&E power. While we do generate much of our own power through our cogeneration plant and fuel cell, these resources operate in conjunction with SDG&E’s power grid, not as a standalone system or a backup system.
What is being done to minimize future outages and improve ability to restore power quickly when an outage occurs?
We have received funding to increase stability of the campus grid and improve the abilities of campus generation resources to supply power – including the cogeneration plant, fuel cell and photovoltaic system – in the event of an SDG&E power loss. These improvements began in summer 2012 and will take approximately one year to complete.
An engineering consultant has been hired to help assess the overall condition of campus utility systems as well as provide recommendations for improving the campus utility infrastructure and the associated costs. The consultant will also assess the condition of campus generators and related Automatic Transfer Switches, which automatically switch power to generators when utility power fails.
Facilities Management has also taken the following actions:
- Conducting monthly operational testing of generators and annual generator load transfer testing.
- Procuring five additional towable generators (10 total), and twenty-five additional smaller hand-carry portable generators (30 total) to help support critical loads where emergency power is unavailable; distribution priorities are based on risk to life (human first, then animal), followed by property (research/medical, teaching, administrative support).
- Purchasing two fuel trailers for more efficient generator refueling during outages and implementing a comprehensive fueling plan for diesel generators to ensure fuel is available if an extended outage occurs. Refueling priorities are based on risk to life (human first, then animal), followed by property (research/medical, teaching, administrative support).
- Instituting a new communications protocol for actions that could potentially affect power to buildings and equipment, which includes adopting the Campus Triton Alert system for more immediate campuswide communication regarding power outages, emergencies, and other events.
- Implementing a Department Operations Center to improve communications and coordinate response during power outages and other campus emergencies.
- Performing a $1.5 million project to repair the May 2012 fire damage to East Campus Switch Station, scheduled for completion by January 2013. Once completed, this project will reestablish a redundant pathway for power to the Revelle, School of Medicine, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography areas.
- Working with UCSD’s Department of Continuity & Emergency Services to:
- Develop an appendix to the existing campuswide Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) to provide specific guidance for addressing planning/prevention, response, and recovery actions in the event of power disruptions.
- Enhance the comprehensive emergency and disaster management program to specifically include power outage response and recovery, and incorporate Department Operations Center procedures that place the support of research at the highest priority initially and throughout a crisis.
- Working with several campus departments to identify their backup power needs. Requirements will be compared to the existing backup power supply and suggested solutions and cost estimates will be provided to close identified gaps in backup power needs.
- Continuing to educate the research community to increase understanding about the current capabilities/limitations of backup power generation to buildings, the risk to human and animal experiments, and the risk of having research materials stored in a single location.
- Recommending and providing enhanced services where resources are available and services are deemed critical.
- Working with the campus research community and Research Affairs to coordinate a feasibility study that will examine the possibility of providing campus-sponsored freezer farms to support cell lines and collections.
- Working with Facilities, Design & Construction to develop specific campus backup power standards for new buildings and substantial retrofits to existing ones. These standards would ensure the integrity of utilities and systems in support of research during critical events and outages.
What is the difference between “emergency power” and “backup power/optional standby power”?
Emergency power is the power needed to support life-safety systems (e.g., emergency lighting, fire alarms) in the event of a power outage. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and the California Electrical Code (CEC) require all buildings to have enough emergency power to support life-safety systems.
Backup power, or optional standby power, is the power needed to supply equipment or systems whose failure will not impact life safety. Optional standby power is not required by code.
In the event of a power outage, what type of power is available — emergency power or optional standby power?
Every building has been designed and constructed to have enough emergency power for life-safety systems, as is required by code. For smaller buildings, this power may be supplied by internal battery backup systems. In larger buildings, such as many campus research facilities, a generator is required to supply this emergency power.
In some buildings, optional standby power is available. Building occupants have specifically requested this power, usually to support critical lab equipment, and it was included in the initial building design and costs.
What should I do if I want to add optional standby power capability to my lab?
Please submit an online work request. We will assign a Project Manager to work with you to determine requirements and develop a project scope and cost estimate.
Will Facilities Management fund the cost of adding optional standby power to my lab?
Facilities Management is unable to fund the cost of adding optional standby power. However, we will work closely with you to develop a cost-effective solution.
What is being done to ensure generators function properly?
Facilities Management performs maintenance in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations, applicable code requirements and industry best practices. Specifically:
- Generators are inspected, tested and operated monthly to ensure functioning properly.
- Preventative maintenance is performed on generators monthly
- Battery powered systems are checked and batteries are changed semi-annually.
- Emergency power inverters are checked and maintenance performed annually.
- Full load tests of backup generator systems are performed annually.
Facilities Management has hired an engineering consultant to assess the condition of campus generators and related Automatic Transfer Switches (ATS), which automatically switch power to generators when utility power fails.
Does Facilities Management have enough funding to address the campus utility system maintenance and repair needs?
Funding levels do not adequately meet campus needs. Since FY 2006/07, the campus has added 1.4 million square feet, generating an additional annual maintenance support need of $7.3 million, yet Facilities Management received less than 10% of the required funding. During the same period, overall staffing levels decreased 24%.
Inadequate funding has been an issue for many years, resulting in a deferred maintenance backlog of well over $300 million. To help address the backlog, Facilities Management successfully lobbied for and received funding to address some of the most critical maintenance items. Since FY 2007/08, we have been able to obtain and allocate $37 million towards deferred maintenance projects with a continued campus commitment to spend at least $3 million annually on the most critical projects.
How are maintenance and repair projects prioritized and by whom?
A working group comprised of members from all VC areas and campus support staff prioritizes deferred maintenance projects. Prioritization is based on a weighted point scale involving several factors, including VC area priority, which is the most highly weighted factor.
Building and Landscape Services
Does Building Services clean every night, including vacuuming, emptying trash, dusting, etc.?
Yes, we do clean every night, but we perform different functions each evening. Refer to our List of UCSD Cleaning Services for a detailed daily schedule.
Why do custodians throw recycling materials in regular trash cans?
Some custodians use gray trash cans or angled, wheeled receptacles called tilt trucks or “Queen Marys” to collect recycling materials and trash. If you see this being done on a Tuesday evening, which is recycling collection day, they are not mixing the 2 together. Trash is collected on Friday evenings. However, we know it does happen sometimes, and we are continuing to educate and train all custodians, including temporary staff, in the importance of recycling and following campus regulations.
How do I get my floors refinished, my carpets cleaned, or my windows washed? Is there a cost?
Contact the Customer Relations help desk, (858) 534-2930, to have them assessed. If you would like to proceed, submit a work order requesting this service, and Building Services will provide an estimate. Your department will be charged accordingly. See the list of cleaning services for the most up-to-date information on services and rates.
How frequently can I request landscape services, such as power washing or tree maintenance, without charge?
Refer to our List of Landscape Services for details. If you require any services more frequently than is provided, submit a work order through the Customer Relations help desk, (858) 534-2930, and your department will be charged accordingly.
What is a bollard? Whom do I contact to unlock a bollard?
A bollard is a post that restricts traffic. Contact Susan Condra of Facilities Management, (858) 534-2927, to check out a key. The person requesting the bollard to be unlocked assumes liability for providing the access for vehicles to drive on walkways, plazas, pathways, etc.
What is recycled water?
Recycled water is the product of a 3-stage treatment process in which municipal wastewater is settled, biologically oxidized, clarified, chemically coagulated, filtered and disinfected. The resulting water is clear and colorless. Although recycled water may have a slight chlorine smell, to the human eye it is indistinguishable from tap water.
Where is recycled water used to irrigate the landscape?
We use recycled water on these landscaped areas:
- 1 Miramar St.
- All east parking areas except lot 702
- UCSD Science Research Park
- Medical Center La Jolla
- Preuss School
- Campus Point Drive
- Warren Field
- Gilman Drive, east side between Voigt Drive and Villa La Jolla Drive
- Hopkins Parking Structure
- Social Sciences Building
- San Diego Supercomputer Center
- All north campus recreation areas
- North Point Drive
Is there a charge for cleanup after a special event held in a campus open space?
Yes. Since there is no way to know how clean an event site will be left, we charge by the hour for labor. A supervisor will view the area and determine the amount of cleanup time needed; you will be charged $15 per half-hour.
Is it OK to use the concrete trash and recycling receptacles to clean up during and after a special event?
You may use on-site concrete trash receptacles if you pay to service them during and after your event. Or, you may order plastic trash and recycling receptacles from Special Events. Call the Customer Relations help desk, (858) 534-2930, or submit a Special Events Equipment Request online.
How can I get irrigation turned off for my event?
Must I notify Facilities Management if I am having an event inside or outside?
How do I dispose of old, nonworking electronic equipment or furniture?
Your nonworking electronic equipment or furniture may be disposed or recycled through Surplus Sales. See How to Transfer Equipment to Surplus Sales for instructions. Pickup will then be scheduled by the Surplus Sales staff.
What should I do if I see an active beehive on or near a building?
Who pays for the work our building needs?
If the work involves a safety issue or a maintenance problem for a state-owned building, equipment or utility, Facilities Management covers the cost of repairs of basic building services, such as heating, air conditioning, gas, water, and electricity. If the job goes beyond basic building services, the department requesting the work pays.
How long do repairs take?
Our work is done on a first-come, first-served basis, with jobs involving health and safety issues taking priority. Facilities Management makes every attempt to get the work done in a timely manner.
How do I get a project started?
Call the Customer Relations help desk, (858) 534-2930.
How do I know if you can do the type of work we need done?
Facilities Management does any type of work needed on campus. Depending on our workload and the size of the job, we may deem it necessary to hire an outside contractor, which we will oversee.
During what hours will you work on our project?
We work between 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. weekdays. If the situation warrants, work can be done on an overtime basis.
Does a person from my department need to be present during the project?
All we require is a contact name and phone number. If you would like someone to be present, then by all means do so.
Who maintains the work after it’s complete?
If the work was done on a university-owned asset, Facilities Management will maintain it. If the work was done on department-owned equipment, the department is responsible for maintenance.
Can my department place items in the space where mechanical equipment and building utilities are stored?
That space, called the core, can be dangerous and should only be accessed by Facilities Management personnel. Do not place any equipment there.
Where can vendors park? How long can vendors park before getting a ticket?
Vendors may park at loading docks for 20 minutes. For longer visits, purchase a parking permit at a pay station in any parking lot or at one of the visitor information booths at the north and south entrances to the campus. Metered spaces are also available. Don’t park in a space reserved for UC vehicles; you may be ticketed. For more information, see the Visitor Parking.
Do you have the keys to my office? Can you let me into a building?
Your department’s key control representative should have a key. If that person is not available, call the lock shop, (858) 534-2930, 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. weekdays. After 4:30 p.m. and before 7 a.m. weekdays, and all day on weekends, call the campus Police Department, (858) 534-4357. You must show identification to both Facilities Management and the police.
Can you help me with my personal vehicle (e.g., dead battery, keys locked in car)?
Can I rent a vehicle from Fleet Services for personal use?
Can I drive a rented university vehicle into Mexico?
No, but we can help you rent from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which allows Mexico travel. UCSD doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with Mexican travel.
Can I park my personal vehicle at Fleet Services while driving a vehicle I rented there?
No, personal vehicles must be parked in appropriate spaces. A vehicle parked at Fleet Services is subject to parking citations. See more information about parking.
Can you order discounted auto parts for my personal car?
Fleet Services orders parts for university business only.
Does Fleet Services accept cash, checks, or credit cards for vehicle rentals (and other services)?
Fleet Services accepts valid recharge index numbers only.
What does Production Management do?
Production Management supports all Facilities Management departments with the execution of maintenance work by receiving, planning, estimating, scheduling, and coordinating work. For a more detailed description, see Facilities Management Project Management Group.
What are metrics and benchmarks, and why are they important?
Production Management establishes measurements we call metrics so we may compare them to benchmarks, or standards. This allows us to assess the quality of our services objectively. To help improve performance, reliability, and client satisfaction, Production Management uses all available data, which includes researching best practices and establishing standards of performance.
Does UCSD have a strategy for keeping its buildings in good repair?
Facilities Management maintains a long-range maintenance plan for major needs, which helps when projecting the appropriate funding for a budget year. The goal is to perform more planned maintenance, rather than reactive maintenance.
What is CMMS, and why is it necessary?
CMMS stands for computerized maintenance management system, which tracks campus assets that Facilities Management maintains daily, including buildings, mechanical equipment, and linear assets such as tunnels, streetlights, and underground utilities. CMMS also records all work against assets to track frequency of repairs, determine equipment life cycles, and analyze costs. This system also tracks shop activity, such as how long it takes to complete a request and the backlog status.
Why is your backlog so large?
Our backlog, or accumulation of projects yet to be performed, represents a variety of situations: Some projects are in a pre-estimate stage, in which planning and scope are involved. Some projects are waiting for customer funding approval or pending until parts arrive. Others, like simple trouble calls, are handled in the order they are received, with situations involving health or safety issues receiving highest priority.
When can I call or visit the Customer Relations help desk?
How many calls do you get a month?
Customer Relations receives about 2,500 calls per month. They include trouble calls, miscellaneous requests, and status inquiries.
How many work orders do you process in a month?
Customer Relations processes about 2,300 work orders per month, including trouble calls, planned work, and preventive maintenance.
Why does it take so long to get someone to come out?
We prioritize each work request according to urgency, using guidelines such as life and safety, the impact to programs or research, and building system failures. Nonurgent work is prioritized at the shop level on a first-come, first-served basis. Some shops have larger backlogs than others. The shop lead or supervisor can let you know when work should start and finish.
What’s the status of my work request?
Call Customer Relations help desk, (858) 534-2930, between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays to follow up on a request that has been submitted.
Can I submit a work request online?
What’s the difference between Facilities Design & Construction (FD&C) and Facilities Management (FM)?
FD&C generally handles large construction projects on campus, such as new buildings or major additions. Facilities Management’s project management group handles maintenance projects and smaller renovation and alteration projects valued up to $1.5 million.
What does a Facilities Management project manager do?
The project manager, or PM, works with the client to develop the scope, budget, and schedule of renovation and alteration work. Once an agreement is reached, the PM manages the construction to final acceptance and beyond, facilitating any warranty work that may arise. See Facilities Management Project Management Group for a more complete description.
What does my 15% charge pay for?
We add 15% to your project’s cost to cover the many expenses involved in managing it. For example, it pays for work service center contract processing and your project manager’s time throughout the process.
When do I need an architect or engineer?
A licensed professional must be involved in projects that require plans and specifications or that present complicated issues, such as structural review or aesthetic appearance.
What is the Stull Act?
The Stull Act, part of the California public contract code, limits university personnel involvement on projects more than $50,000 in value, and on painting projects worth more than $25,000. Scientific equipment installation is an exception to the Stull Act.
When do you have to put a project up for public bid?
Projects need to go to public bid when the cost exceeds $100,000, per university policy and procedures. Projects cannot be split up to avoid the bid process.
Can we get the same project manager for all our projects?
A project manager may be available upon request, depending on workload. Work assignments can also be made according to location, so someone already handling projects in an area will often be assigned to a nearby job.
Will Facilities Management charge my department for an initial visit?
The first hour of consultation is free. If extensive pre-estimate work is required, you may be charged hourly.
What does a typical construction schedule look like?
Construction schedules vary in detail, but the main components are start and end dates, critical path components — in other words, the significant steps that must be undertaken and the order in which they must be performed — and major milestone completion dates.
What is UCSD doing to promote sustainability?
In an effort to reduce UCSD’s “carbon footprint,” a number of programs are under way that cut waste,increase energy efficiency, and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, including:
- Installing 30 kilowatts of solar energy or photovoltaics (PV) and negotiating to add more than 1 megawatt (1,000 kilowatts) of PV
- Acquiring a 1.2-megawatt fuel cell that uses renewable methane gas as an energy source (July 2008)
- Procuring more than 250 electric vehicles
- Adding 35 hybrid vehicles to the passenger fleet
- Converting our diesel fuel supply to a blend of ultralow-sulfur, 20% biodiesel fuel
- Improving storm water management
- Expanding our use of reclaimed water for campus irrigation
- Planting native or drought-resistant vegetation
- Maximizing recycling and waste minimization practices
- Applying "green" building practices to all new construction and renovation projects
To learn more, visit Sustainability 2.0, and read about what Facilities Management is doing to conserve energy.
Why don’t we have more solar energy or photovoltaics (PV) on campus?
Our on-campus solar energy generation has steadily increased since our first installation in 2008. By the end of 2014, we will have 21 photovoltaic installations, totaling 3.1 megawatts of capacity. Our solar network includes conventional flat panels, sun-tracking and -concentrating photovoltaic panels, and a solar energy storage project.
In addition to electricity generation with solar panels, we also have a 300-kilowatt solar water-heating system installed at North Campus Housing, which is one of the largest solar-thermal projects at a North American university. The Canyonview swimming pools are also heated by solar water heaters.
Location is the main factor limiting future PV installations. To be cost effective, PV panels must be exposed to sunlight all day, and if mounted on a structure, the structure must be built to support not only the weight of the panels themselves, but also the potential wind load that PV panels add. The campus performed a complete rooftop evaluation to determine which structures can currently support PV panels. By the end of 2014, we will have covered nearly all suitable locations.
Another limiting factor is the age and condition of the roof. Older roofs that need to be replaced are not suitable locations for PV installations.
What is LEED? Does UCSD follow LEED guidelines?
The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance “green” buildings. UC’s Sustainable Practices Policy (PDF) and related guidelines (PDF) require that all new construction and major renovation projects — except laboratory and acute care facilities — be built to a LEED “certified” rating. New laboratory buildings will meet the LEED certified rating as well as the Laboratories for the 21st Century, or Labs21, Environmental Performance Criteria, as appropriate, in the future. Our policy also requires that each campus complete one project for existing buildings by 2008, and that large interior renovation projects meet the LEED Commercial Interiors certified rating.
For more information, see Sustainable Building Design and Construction.
Are there LEED-certified buildings on campus?
As of early 2011, five buildings have been LEED-certified:
- Campus Services Complex, LEED Existing Buildings Silver
- Seaside Forum, LEED New Construction Certified (Basic Certification)
- Mesa Childhood Development Center, LEED Commercial Interiors Gold
- Sustainability Resource Center, LEED Commercial Interiors Gold
- Goody’s Place and Market, LEED Commercial Interiors Silver
Going forward, new construction will be designed with the goal of LEED Silver or higher.
What is building commissioning?
“Total building commissioning” is a process for validating that facilities and building systems can be operated and maintained according to their design intent. The commissioning process begins at project inception and continues for the life of the facility, from schematic design through occupancy and operation.
This reduces costs by integrating the many interdependent systems associated with campus projects, which results in fully functional, fine-tuned facilities, with complete documentation and well-trained operating and maintenance personnel.
What should I do when I see lights left on during the day, or when offices are not occupied?