BUILDER™ Sustainment Management System

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)
Published Dec. 3, 2012


The BUILDER™ Sustainment Management System (SMS) is a web-based software application developed by ERDC’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) to help civil engineers, technicians and managers decide when, where and how to best maintain building infrastructure. Because building assets are so vast and diverse, a “knowledge-based” philosophy drives the BUILDER™ SMS process. The process starts with the automated download of real property data, and then more detailed system inventory is modeled and/or collected which identifies components and their key life cycle attributes such as the age and material. From this inventory, Condition Index (CI) measures for each component are predicted based on its expected stage in the life-cycle. Objective and repeatable inspections can then be performed on various components to verify their condition with respect to the expected life-cycle deterioration. The level of detail and frequency of these inspections are not fixed like other processes; they are dependent on knowledge of component criticality, the expected and measured condition and rate of deterioration, and remaining maintenance and service life. This “knowledge-based” inspection focuses attention to the most critical components at the time. In addition to these condition assessments, functionality assessments can be performed to evaluate user requirement changes, compliance and obsolescence issues. This provides a comprehensive picture of the overall performance of building assets and their key components.


The US Army owns over 165,000 buildings comprising 1.1 billion square feet. It spends about 55 percent of its installation real property maintenance funds on maintenance and repair (M&R) of these buildings. But, because of tighter resources on funding and personnel, inspection and preventative maintenance programs for critical building systems and components have been abandoned at many installations. This has forced building managers into a largely reactionary mode, responding to unexpected component breakdowns and system failures at the most inopportune and expensive time. In addition, many buildings currently serve some function to the mission that is much different than the originally intended purpose when designed. The total result is that work cannot be planned, programmed and budgeted efficiently. BUILDER™ SMS addresses these issues by providing managers responsible for the building assets with a support tool for sustainment, restoration and modernization (SRM) decisions.


BUILDER™ SMS is an asset management solution to repeated US Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticisms of existing Department of Defense (DoD) facility management practices. It is an important tool in ensuring mission readiness and sustaining building infrastructure investment. With information about condition, functionality and remaining service life, short- and long-range work plans can be developed based on sound investment strategies, prioritization criteria and budget constraints. Penalty costs are reduced allowing more work to be accomplished with the resulting improvement in mission readiness. Simulations can be run to show the future impact of current M&R decisions. The result is a flexible list of work items expected to be accomplished based on actual funding levels. In all, the BUILDER™ SMS process provides a more proactive means of asset management and resource allocation. In addition, the knowledge-based principles have been proven to significantly lower the cost of re-inspections while providing more meaningful SRM decision support metrics.


BUILDER™ SMS has been selected as the enterprise condition assessment program for the US Marine Corps. Implementation for US bases was completed in 2010. The US Navy has also selected BUILDER™ SMS as its enterprise life cycle analysis and long range work planning tool. Leveraging existing US Navy data, integration with US Navy information systems is expected to be developed and tested in 2010/11. The US Army has successfully completed several trials for various building components using BUILDER™ SMS.

BUILDER™ SMS is the only approved system to manage roofing components (using the ROOFER module). A new version (3.1) incorporates the ROOFER functionality and is currently being field tested, with expected completion summer 2011. The US Air Force completed a trial in Fall 2009.

Updated 3 September 2021

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center | Construction Engineering Research Laboratory

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