About | Standards Michigan


The annual spend of the US education facilities industry is on the order of $300 billion annually -- a number that resembles the annual revenue of the top three Fortune 500 companies and the gross domestic product of many developed nations such as Denmark. Arguably, for many reasons that are economic, political and cultural; the education industry in the United States is a sovereign nation onto itself with hundreds of "cities-within-cities" noteworthy for comparative affluence and homogeneity of mindset.


Standards Michigan Group, LLC

Standards Advocacy for Lower Costs in the Education Industry

University of Michigan | Jasper Cropsey (1855)

We are the reconstruction of an outward-looking enterprise begun at the University of Michigan in 1993 that focused on making education facilities safer, simpler, lower-cost and longer-lasting with assertive advocacy in ANSI-accredited and open source standards in the global standards system.   At the time, there was no education industry trade association advocating the user-interest in consensus document development in any meaningful way.  We found that the revenue stream of many of these trade associations supported competitor stakeholders.   The decision was made to advocate the University of Michigan safety and sustainability agenda; thereby setting an example for other asset management executives at other educational institutions.   

By collaborating with other colleges and universities — and especially incumbent stakeholders — we achieved reductions in the cost of buildings and infrastructure at the University of Michigan which are now shared possibilities for all other colleges, universities and school districts in the United States.  We understood that we could not force these cost reduction possibilities upon any educational institution — habit and organizational cultures are not to be underestimated — but those possibilities were there for the taking whereas they did not exist before the University of Michigan created them through the US standards system.   

We estimate that the original enterprise*  achieved 1 to 2 percent avoided cost opportunities in annual facility operating budgets by negotiating technical and policy compromises using US consensus standards system administered by the American National Standards Institute.  In an industry that spends about $300 billion annually designing, building, operating and maintaining some of the most valuable public assets, a 1 to 2 percent reduction in prospective facility management budgets is meaningful.

In preserving most of the brain trust of the original enterprise we continue providing the following:

  1. Cross-cutting perspective and recommendations for action on global technical and management standards action relevant to the safety and sustainability objectives of the education industry.  
  2. Standards are highly interlocked and cross referencing.  Many standards developers and committees are unaware of what is happening elsewhere.  We have our finger on most of them; or know people who have their finger on them.
  3. Support for ANSI accredited standards developers who need documentation of user-interest outreach and engagement for the 5-year audit ANSI conducts for conformity to its due process requirements.
  4. Specific code advocacy.  If a prescriptive requirement is nonsense financially we go to where the “buttons” are.  We have a lengthy portfolio of success.
  5. A  “sherpa” service to organizations whose goals align with the user-interest.  ANSI’s  Central Staff already does this to a large degree already but we can supplement ANSI guidance with peer-to-peer insight specific to the education facilities industry based upon where we have succeeded in the past.
  6. Studies and reports on standard of care and best practice as reflected in accredited standards.
  7. Anticipatory intelligence for strategic safety and sustainability planners.
  8. Faster access to network of subject matter experts in most building industry disciplines.
  9. Consultation and support to the legal community to fill gaps in their own understanding and status of relevant codes and standards.  We do not provide expert witness services but we provide technical support for legal staff that may need the most current information.
  10. Education.  We find that most faculty is engaged in seeking funding for their next research project.  We provide support to faculty who are not exactly in the loop on the current standards action in a variety of disciplines.  We support faculty who have teaching grants for standards education. 

Campuses learn best from other campuses.  Relationships are important.  We  “keep the door propped open” every day at 11 AM Eastern time to answer questions about anything have to do with codes, standards and regulations that affect the education facility industry.  Use the login credentials at the upper right of our home page.

*About | University of Michigan Leadership 1993 – 2016


The views and opinions expressed on this blog site are those of all of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the University of Michigan, a trade association or standards developer.

Retweets are not endorsements

© Standards Michigan Group, LLC


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