Facility Renewal Expenditure Prioritization Tool (for the Ottawa Public Library)

Danix Management Limited was retained by the Ottawa Public Library to prepare a “roadmap” to guide facility renewal investments.  Like many organizations, the need for renewal funding exceeds projected availability.

To assist, a prioritization tool was built (an Excel based calculator) that assigned a renewal strategy to each facility and then within each strategy produced a prioritization based on two indices (a usage intensity index based on unit based circulation and a facilities conditions index).

Although the tool  as delivered “locks up” the behind-the-scenes math functions, all of the input data and assumptions remain accessible for adjustments (for instance, updated circulation figures, a change in funding available, a change in strategy posture for individual facilities, a change in facility condition due to repairs etc.). The output of the tool is a list of facilities, by strategy, by priority indicating the amount of funding required for life-cycle repairs and the implementation of the selected renewal strategy. 

The tool is being used by staff to explore renewal priority options in preparation for their capital budget submissio


Total Cost of Ownership / Alternate Services Review (for the Ottawa Public Library)
Daniel worked with senior library staff to calculate "total cost of ownership / servicve delivery" for the main service modalities: branches, book mobiles and self-serve kiosks. The historical costs were extracted from the corporate accounting software and then allocated by delivery modality. 
The costs were then divided by a suite of  service delivery metrics to arrive at a "unit cost of service delivery" - per modality.  The purpose of this work was to help senior management develop an investment plan for presentation to the Library Board.

Capital Investment Decision Framework (Ottawa-Carleton District School Board)

The impetus for this project was the annual struggle at budget time for the Board to reach decisions concerning its submission to the Ministry concerning capital spending priorities.  The budget debates had a tendency towards acrimony.  Danix Management was retained by the Board to assist in the creation of a capital expenditure decision framework.

It was recognized that the allocation challenge faced by the Board is complicated by at least six factors: (1) overtime, the facility platform wanders out of alignment with the distribution of program demand due to shifts in demographics (as neighbourhoods age and renew); (2) new programming structures are introduced;  (3) individual communities mobilize to protect specific facilities; (4) facility conditions deteriorate unexpectedly (unanticipated events), (5) higher facility standards are introduced, and (6) available funding is not always fungible.

This set of challenges is not unique to OCDSB but is a characteristic of all organizations that do not have a market mechanism for augmenting spending capacity commensurate with needs.

The project included the development of a structured “process” to assist the Board in reaching expenditure decisions and a prioritization “tool” to be used by staff during the preparation of expenditure recommendations. 


Housing Affordability Calculator (for the City of Ottawa)

This project, led by Daniel Nixey, evolved over several assignments, the first being the design of an engagement process to involve local housing developers in a discussion about mixed use development.

The next step was a discussion with developers, as part of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability, concerning the desire, by the City, to create a policy direction concerning minimal levels of “inclusion” of affordable housing units in all future development.

To facilitate a productive discussion, a “calculator” was developed in collaboration with a working group comprised of municipal planners, non-profit housing providers and local developers.  The calculator was structured to reflect an industry standard proforma and then enhanced to allow various project configurations to be tested with various unit mixes and levels of affordable housing.  The calculator allows for adjustment to a wide range of assumptions including: the definition of affordability, unit size, construction costs, financing arrangements etc. 

The calculator was “locked” to protect the behind-the-scenes math functions and then distributed to local developers and builders (through the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association) for their use.

For the City, Mr. Nixey used the calculator to perform a range of sensitivity tests (some of which were suggested by the developers) and produce a Research Note describing the process used to develop the calculator and observations based of the sensitivity testing.

The tool is in use by City staff for ongoing research.


Recapitalization Funding Allocation Model (for First Nations and Inuit Health Branch)

Daniel Nixey led a project team that was engaged to assist the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (Heath Canada) develop a transparent tool to promote the equitable allocation of scarce recapitalization dollars based on identified cost drivers (e.g. facility size and condition, location, service standards etc.).

The tool is an allocation model with two funding “pools”. One pool is allocated on a modeled basis using facility size, age and location factors (which identify the premium costs for remote locations). The other pool is allocated in proportion to funding requirements identified in approved facilities condition reports.  The model allows for weighting of the allocation between the two pools – the objective being to steadily increase the portion of funding made available to the second pool to provide an incentive for managers to complete facility condition reports for their segment of the portfolio.

A draft of the model (developed in Excel) was prepared for discussion and then refined based on input from a working group.  Based on this input the model was then expanded to include facilities cost estimating and to allocate both capital and operating dollars with the output of the model fed into the Long Term Capital Plan.


Accommodation Mapping Tool for Bedford Institute of Oceanography (for PWGSC)

A team led by Mr. Nixey developed a decision support tool for Public Works Government Services Canada to assist with accommodation planning for the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.   The tool maps the migration of occupant groups during a series of moves related to portfolio renewal of the BIO campus and the occupation of the new laboratory and proposed office building (construction projects arising from the campus planning study).