Home/Conditions Assessment System (zCAS™)

Case Study for Parsons Brinckerhoff / Ammann & Whitney (PB/A&W)

The Challenge

Parsons Brinckerhoff /Ammann & Whitney (PB/A&W) had to implement an Integrated Building Conditions Assessment System (BCAS) to fundamentally improve the efficiency of their ability to conduct assessments, collect the resulting data, and facilitate the Capital and Operating Budget development for 1,500 schools in the New York City area. The challenge was the need to integrate three disconnected pieces of the assessments:

  • Inspectors in the field were collecting data with as many as 80 schools being inspected in a week.
  • The data that was being generated had to be QA/QC by data managers in the office.
  • The entire final data had to be aggregated and compiled to produce the final report for the end customers.

zLink worked with PB/A&W to implement an integrated BCAS to better serve the planning and maintenance requirements for the schools throughout the year.
The major outputs of this effort include:

  • Establish accuracy of condition assessment information collection
  • Track and maintain assessment information related to major school assets
  • Improved efficiency of several on-going inspection processes
  • Improved information exchange among various stakeholders
  • Implemented a solution based on new cost-effective technologies
  • Expanded information access to include school-wide offices; and
  • Provided rapid access to Capital Budget options, scenarios, and reports.

This was implemented in phases. The initial effort focused on a cost effective condition assessment data collection solution based on emerging mobile technologies. This was based upon a review and update of existing inspection and data collection requirements. It also provided a basis for a review with New York City School Construction Authority (NYCSCA) to gain client feedback and acceptance of new technologies.

A follow on effort implemented enhanced assessment processes based on existing building drawings and documentation, and industry standards (e.g. Uniformat) that provided a consistent framework for aggregating deficiency costs and defining capital projects that can be the basis for competitive industry procurements.

Cost Management Solution

zCAS™ Cost Management Solution was developed to handle cost of addressing deficiencies. PB/A&W created accounts for multiple cost consultants to directly access the system. The consultants reviewed the unit costs and updated them for the current year. They were able to apply cost factors based on location. The system has the ability to archive cost data. This allowed the cost consultant to compare and identify changes from previous years.

Project Planning & Prioritization

After the assessment task is over the zCAS™ application allowed PB/A&W to create and prioritize remediation projects. A project can be created based on a combination of priority, system, school or any other criteria. These projects allow the user to see an aggregate cost as deficiencies are added to the project by displaying a dynamic total dollar value of the project. The integration with the Projects and Work Order software components provides the potential to then take a remediation project and see it through execution.

Conducted requirements analysis, designed and developed a Condition Assessment App to allow inspectors to collect building condition deficiency data. The app uploads data to zCAS™ as it is being collected to be reviewed and checked online. The system provides real-time inputs to Capital Planning Process.


zLink’s design of the zCAS™ platform supports the Condition Assessment data collection and integration with Capital Planning database and projects development.

  • It integrates various NYCSCA functions into a common information base for the portfolio of schools resulting in leveraged ROI.
  • The system provides an integrated, easy-to-use user interface to all of these functions
  • The functional capability is distributed in a web-based application and hand-held mobile devices to facilitate the inspection processes.
  • The system allows centrally managing schedules of 80 plus inspectors working on 1,500 schools all over New York City.

Application Interface