Toronto District School Board

Facility Condition Index (FCI)

The Facility Condition Index (FCI) rating is a measurement of the condition of a school building. It does not reflect on the safety of the school building. 

The health and safety of students, staff and community members are our top priority when planning school repairs. Our Facility Services staff works year-round to ensure our schools are safe regardless of their FCI rating.

Almost half of the 583 TDSB school buildings were built more than 60 years ago. Older schools often have a higher FCI rating as some building components such as walls, lights, floors and ventilation systems may require major repairs or replacement.

Key Facts:

  • The FCI rating does not reflect on the safety of a school building.
  • Even with the additional renewal funds provided by the Ministry over the last few years, our renewal needs backlog sits at approximately $3.7 billion as of September 2017 and continues to rise. 
  • Unlike most other Ontario school boards, the TDSB does not qualify for Educational Development Charges (EDCs) because there is surplus space across the system, which puts the TDSB at a disadvantage. 
  • The TDSB keeps advocating for the Ontario Government to amend the Education Development Charges (EDCs) regulation (20/98) to allow the TDSB to collect EDCs to help support urgent school infrastructure needs and reduce overcrowding in high-growth areas of the city.

Learn more about the Renewal Needs Backlog.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Facility Condition Index (FCI)?

The Facility Condition Index (FCI) rating is a measurement of the condition of a school building expressed as a percentage. It is obtained by dividing the amount of a school’s renewal backlog by the school’s total Asset Replacement Value (ARV).

What is the Asset Replacement Value of a building?

The Ministry of Education has a standard formula to determine how much space is required per student. This formula doesn’t include all the features that exist in a number of older TDSB schools. The ARV is the cost needed to completely rebuild a new school to accommodate the same number of students using the Ministry standards. In other words, the ARV is proportionate to the number of students in a school. However, some of the features in the existing school might not be included in the new school. For example, if the existing school has a swimming pool, the new school would not have a swimming pool.

Why is the FCI from the TDSB and Ministry of Education different?

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) data is based on information provided by the Ministry of Education plus repairs we make during the year.

The Ministry hires external consultants to inspect each school every five years and provides the TDSB with updated information. This is equivalent to 20 per cent of our schools.

Therefore, while the FCI released by the Ministry is based on anticipated renewal needs for the next five years, our data is based on one year and includes repairs done during the year.   

Learn more about the Ministry of Education’s FCI.

The FCI of my school is over 100%. How can that be?

Since the TDSB has a large number of older buildings, it has unique spaces in its schools such as wide corridors, larger room sizes, parenting centres, lunchrooms, child care facilities, swimming pools and auditoriums, which are outside the scope of the Ministry’s Area Benchmark or ARV. Although some of the renewal backlog might be related to these spaces, the cost of the replacement school does not include these spaces or features in its design. This results in a lower ARV and subsequently a higher FCI. 

Although the formula that the Ministry uses in calculating the ARV is applicable to most situations, there are instances where it results in a very low ARV. For example, we limit the number of special needs students in a classroom to only nine. Since the ARV is based on the number of students, it will be lower in schools that have many special needs classrooms, leading to an artificially higher FCI.

In addition, it costs more to replace individual building components when they have failed as opposed to do it when building a new school. When a new school is built for example, the boiler can be put in place before certain walls of the building are built. When that boiler needs to be replaced in an existing school, it could require sections of the school’s walls to be removed and then rebuilt in order to have the appropriate space to put the boiler in place.

Is my school safe while the FCI is high?

The FCI rating does not reflect on the safety of a school building. A high FCI can be attributed to the age of building components and excessive spaces over the Ministry’s standard.

Proper maintenance of aged building components will extend their life cycle without compromising safety. Building components that cannot be repaired are replaced with new ones.

Our staff works year-round to make sure that the schools are safe regardless of their FCI value. The health and safety of students and staff is considered a top priority in planning school repairs.

Does the FCI determine where the renewal funding should be spent?

Ideally, the FCI would drive renewal spending. However, that is not the case with our schools because of the large renewal backlog we have in place. We assign the highest priority to the repair or replacement of components related to health and safety of the building users. The prioritization of renewal projects is based on the condition of building components. Whenever possible, we repair or replace portions of building components to extend their life cycle. If they cannot be repaired, we replace them with new ones.

TDSB updates the FCI database after it completes a construction project. This action results in a reduction of the renewal backlog over the course of the year.  

Every September, the TDSB adds the renewal needs requirements for the new school year to the current backlog, which results in a higher backlog.  For example, as of August 31, 2017, the backlog was $3.1 billion, but if we add the $600 million needed for repairs in the 2017-2018 school year, this amount increases to $3.7 billion. 

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