According to a new study released by FacilitiesNet, more facility managers have reported increases in capital and operating expense budgets in the last year, and there have been more increases in staffing than reported decreases. The data was gathered by Building Operating Management.

The information came from facility managers representing a number of different building types, including corporate offices; colleges and universities; government, with breakdowns for federal, municipal, and state buildings; hospitality; K-12 schools; leased space; and healthcare facilities.

The survey asked facility managers whether capital and operating budgets increased by 5 percent or more, increased by less than 5 percent, stayed the same, decreased by less than 5 percent, or decreased by 5 percent or more. It also asked about expectations for next year.

The survey found that capital expense budgets — based on 1,391 responses — showed that 6 percent saw a decrease of 5 percent or more; 6 percent reported a decrease of less than 5 percent; 30 percent said they experienced an increase of more than 5 percent; 15 percent said they saw an increase of less than 5 percent. Meanwhile, 43 percent reported budgets remained flat.

The results are not that much different for operating expenses. During 2018, 30 percent of respondents said they added positions; 56 percent reported no change. Alternatively, 14 percent eliminated positions within their facilities.

For 2019, respondents think about a third will add positions and nearly 60 percent don’t expect staffing levels to change. Fewer than 10 percent expect their staffing budgets will be reduced.

“In past surveys, facility managers have sometimes tended to overestimate the chances of adding staff or to underestimate the chances that positions will be cut,” the website reported. “For example, in 2017, only 7 percent of respondents expected staff cuts in 2018, but 14 percent of respondents this year reported that positions had been lost.”

Regarding budgets overall, finances for facility management budgets have overwhelmingly remained the same; the range hovers somewhere between40 to 46 percent of budgets that are the same year-over-year, but slight increases are happening. For those reporting increases in budgets, the number who say their capital expense budget increased by 5 percent or more was twice the number who reported increases of less than 5 percent.

“Combined with the large number of stay-the-same responses, suggests that overall capital spending on facilities has increased strongly during the current economic expansion,” the report authors suggest.

Regarding operating expense budgets, this is the second year in a row that increases outnumbered stayed-the-same responses. The number of reported increases has climbed steadily and the number reported decreases has dropped.

Building Operating Management began tracking staff change in 2008, and in 2009 staff cuts more than doubled from 22 percent to 45 percent. Since then, staffing levels have grown every year while the number saying they had cut positions has fallen.

The Building Operating Management survey does suggest, though, that “a slow but steady increase in outsourcing,” with numbers remaining consistent from year to year regardless of the economy.

For example, 7 percent to 10 percent reported decreases in outsourcing; 16 percent to 20 percent reported increases; and 71 percent to 75 percent reported they are remaining the same. Thus, about twice as many respondents reported increases in the category than the number of decreases.