Observations on the use of technology in asset management

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1 Municipal Engineering Foundation of Victoria 2012 North American Study Tour Observations on the use of technology in asset management Report by David Elson, City of Boroondara

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3 Municipal Engineering Foundation of Victoria 2012 North American Study Tour Observations on the use of technology in asset management Report by David Elson, City of Boroondara

4 Table of contents 5 Acknowledgements 6 Executive summary 7 Recommendations 8 Introduction 10 Talking the same language What is asset management? 14 Jelly beans Geographical Information Systems 19 Outputs Analysis and work programs 22 Different strokes Some other uses of technology 28 App mazing Alternative solutions 30 It s how you use it People 31 Conclusion 32 Appendix A Asset management models 33 Appendix B Portland business risk modelling

5 Acknowledgements Firstly I would like to thank the Municipal Engineering Foundation of Victoria who provided me with this wonderful opportunity to travel to North America to expand my knowledge and awareness of asset management and civil engineering. It was tiring and exhausting but it was truly a memorable and valuable experience. Secondly I would like to thank Warren Roberts who was a great mentor and support in both planning the trip and who, for the first two weeks of the tour, was the leader of our adventure. It would have been a lot tougher without his help. Thirdly I would like to thank City of Boroondara for supporting my application and allowing me to participate. In particular, I would like to thank David Powell who provided terrific support. Fourthly, I would like to thank all the wonderful people in North America we met and who hosted our visits, answered our questions, provided information and who were willing to participate in making our trip so worthwhile. And finally I would like to thank my fellow travellers Glenn and Vito for making the trip so enjoyable. Glenn, Vito and David at the City of Robbinsdale Works Depot Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America 5

6 Executive summary There are significant differences between local governments in Victoria and in North America in regards to their responsibilities, their political structures and in the key issues that they face. There is also a wide variation in the size, resources and capabilities of local government within North America itself. However there is much in common in the area of asset management. The issues of ageing assets, the understanding of asset condition, the planning of asset renewal and the allocation of resources are similar issues to those we are familiar with in Victoria. The term asset management was often referred to in a narrow sense in the United States, referring to the collection of asset attributes and condition information, and for the planning of renewal programs. This is in contrast to Victoria and from what was observed in Canada, where asset management is used more generally to refer to the management of the asset lifecycle incorporating all the elements of design, construction, maintenance, renewal and disposal. It was evident from the councils we visited that there was an intuitive understanding of lifecycle issues even if it was not articulated in those terms. While conversations often started around the topic of maintenance management, we were shown various examples of proficient data management systems, extensive collections of asset attribute and condition information, impressive analyses of asset information and comprehensive asset renewal planning methodologies. There were some differences between organisations in the focus of their activities but these differences generally related to the priorities of individual councils or departments. The use of Geographical Information System (GIS) tools to communicate asset issues and information was universal. GIS was used to illustrate and explain asset inspection, condition and renewal programs. Asset renewal planning typically involved the use of risk and consequence techniques and there was a common practice of assessing the cost of a likely failure to calculate the base business risk exposure. The results were typically presented using GIS to visualise the issues across the network of assets. We saw numerous presentations that demonstrated various uses of technology to meet different needs or to achieve specific outcomes as well as suiting various resource levels. The wide range of solutions and technologies that are available to address asset management issues was clearly evident at the American Public Works Congress. Technology is rapidly changing and it is becoming more accessible and easier to use, smart phones and tablet devices show great promise in providing cheap and effective solutions that can complement high end enterprise systems. Ultimately however technology is only a tool. The most impressive presentations were by people passionately involved in their work. Their enthusiasm and drive was evident in their work and their results. People need to be provided with support and opportunities and then the innovation and results will follow. 6 Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America

7 Recommendations The tour facilitated many interesting and stimulating meetings in relation to our study topic of asset management. We were exposed to a wide range of knowledge and information that was valuable to all our individual areas of study. Specifically in relation to my area of study, the observations and learnings are highlighted in the following recommendations: 1. Consideration should be given to having a dedicated GIS support for asset management to enable the comprehensive mapping of asset information and its detailed analysis. 2. Renewal programs for all assets should be available on corporate GIS platforms to facilitate the coordination of works programs across the organisation. 3. The combined mapping of the condition of different asset categories should be undertaken for the planning of renewal and refurbishment projects. 4. The mapping of issues, strategies and works programs should be considered at a corporate level to improve the coordination and delivery of projects. 5. The application of risk and consequence modelling for asset planning, particularly in a GIS format, should be considered. 6. The benefit and disadvantages of the integration of asset management systems with other corporate systems should be thoroughly assessed before implementation. 7. Asset management systems should be regularly reviewed to determine if they are delivering the required outcomes. 8. Scoreboard or dashboard modelling of asset condition, maintenance and related issues should be considered for public websites. 9. The facilitation of asset information on smartphones, tablets and laptops should be undertaken for field staff. Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America 7

8 Introduction The Municipal Engineering Foundation of Victoria was established in 1966 to provide opportunities for municipal engineers to improve their knowledge and skills. Each year it awards scholarships to enable the successful applicants to travel overseas to study a topic relevant to their work. I was fortunate to have been selected for the 2012 Study Tour of North America which had asset management as its general theme. My fellow awardees and our areas of specific study were: Glen Deaker, Manager Operations, Central Goldfields Shire Asset management and the construction/ maintenance of infrastructure Vito Albincini, General Manager Assets, Frankston City Council Achieving service outcomes for communities through best practice project and asset management David Elson, Manager Asset Planning, City of Boroondara Uses of technology to manage assets. The 2012 Municipal Engineering Foundation Study Tour of North America incorporated visits to eleven municipalities in the United States and Canada as well as attendance at 2012 Public Works Congress and Exposition in Anaheim, California. The municipalities visited were: United States City of Portland, Oregon City of Vancouver, Washington Pierce County, Washington City of Santa Monica, California City of Bloomington, Minnesota City of Minnetonka, Minnesota City of Maple Grove, Minnesota City of Robbinsdale, Minnesota Canada City of Cambridge, Ontario City of Hamilton, Ontario City of Toronto, Ontario New York was also visited and, while no formal visits to organisations were undertaken, observations were made of the public infrastructure. The American Public Works Congress is an annual event held at different locations across the United States. Over 6,000 delegates attended the Congress and the exhibition hall contained over 400 exhibitors. There were four keynote presentations and 142 education sessions to choose from over the four days of the congress. In addition there were various activities available to attend including nine workshop/tours and 16 exhibitor presentations. There was something for everyone interested in public works. 8 Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America

9 City of Santa Monica! Reserved parking sign for the Australian delegation There are over 22,000 municipal and county governments in the United States and over 3,700 in Canada. There is a significant variation in their size and in the range of services they provide to their communities. The municipalities we visited ranged in size from Robbinsdale with a population of 14,396 and an area of 7 square kilometres to Toronto with a population of 2.6 million and an area of 641 square kilometres. The most obvious difference to Victorian local government was that the municipalities we visited provided educational, police, fire and water supply services as well as providing the typical services provided by Victorian municipalities. Despite differences in political systems and organisational structures, the asset issues they have to deal with are similar to those that Victorian local government faces: that is, ageing assets, limited budgets, political and community expectations. Due to the small number of municipalities visited and the limited time spent at each one, the contents of this report are the observations of the author and should not be taken as generalisations applicable across North America. Australian delegation and hosts at the Ira Keller Fountain, City of Portland Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America 9

10 Talking the same language - What is asset management? Asset management is a generic term used in Victorian local government covering the lifecycle issues associated with the planning, maintenance, renewal and disposal of infrastructure assets. It was noticeable in the United States that asset management was seldom mentioned and, when it was, it was often in the narrow context of condition rating and renewal programs. It was not until we got to Canada that asset management was commonly referred to in the wider context of managing assets over their lifecycle. Staff at the Canadian councils we visited talked about asset management in terms that would be familiar to most Victorian council asset managers. They face similar issues and they follow similar practices. The recognition of the need to implement sound asset management practices has been widely accepted over the past decade. Asset Management Fundamentals InfraGuide - National Guide to Asset Management 1. What do you have? 2. What is it worth? 3. What condition is it in? 4. What needs to be done? 5. When does it have to be done? 6. How much money will it take? 7. How do we fund it? Cambridge Implementation Information Inventory Condition Assessment Remaining Serviceable Life Technology Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Core Database Work Management System Expert Analysis Tools / Processes Mobile Computing Business Policy, Practices, Procedures Current and expected future legislation Records Management Level of Service Planning / Financing Risk Management City of Cambridge Asset management fundamentals In conversations with the American infrastructure managers we met, the primary issues were the maintenance of the asset infrastructure and cost efficiency. Our initial impressions were of their strong focus on maximising the use of limited maintenance budgets and of a limited consideration of long term asset planning. Most councils had a maintenance management system (MMS) either a proprietary enterprise systems such as IBM Maximo, CityWorks or Hansen or they had an in-house developed system. 10 Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America

11 City of Santa Monica Maintenance Connections maintenance management system Usually the different departments or bureaus would have different systems, such as Hansen for water supply and Maintenance Connections for street services. Some of the reasons for this were the specific needs of each department, such as the need to comply with regulated water supply reporting and maintenance practices and the need for expert systems such as pavement management systems. Set of Tools The asset management process is carried out with the aid of various computerized programs: Pavements: Municipal Pavement Management Application (MPMA) Bridges: Ontario Bridge Management System (OBMS) Traffic Signal Plant: Signalview Street Furniture: Work Order System/GIS There is no overarching asset management system that integrates the output of individual asset systems/databases. 39 City of Toronto Transportation Services asset systems Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America 11

12 Not only were the systems usually standalone databases, they also lacked integration with other corporate applications, although data was typically visualised using GIS tools. The prevailing impression gained from the American councils was that the primary use of these systems was for the management of inspection regimes and work orders. Usually the link between corporate applications was a paper based or manual transfer of information. Compared to current Victorian practice it was surprising that there was little or no integration with other corporate applications such as finance or customer service systems. On our visit to Santa Monica the City Manager stated it was a preferred approach to avoid the complexity and complications created by integrating systems from different vendors using different platforms. Our impressions about the general lack of interest in long term asset planning were reinforced in a paper presented by Pinellas County at the American Public Works Congress which was titled Asset Management vs Maintenance Management. The presentation acknowledged that the terms were often used interchangeably but treated them as two separate topics. The conclusion was that both asset management and maintenance management are needed and that GIS had the potential to be the link between them. However, on closer scrutiny the maintenance management systems often contained extensive asset condition information and attributes, and we were shown various sophisticated asset analysis practices that were far beyond mere maintenance reporting. While the initial discussions were on day-to-day activities, pot holes and snow clearing, as the conversations progressed an intuitive understanding of longer term issues was evident. City of Vancouver An explanation of asset management 12 Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America

13 The most comprehensive explanation of asset management at an American council was by a representative of Veolia, a contractor to the City of Vancouver. Veolia run the City s sewage treatment plant and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency requires certain asset management practices to be undertaken. These practices were both comprehensive and advanced. See Appendix A for other examples of asset management models. Veolia'Water'+'Advanced'Asset'Management+ EPA'Comparison Complete Asset Hierarchy Complete Data Mapping Continually improve GIS with QA/QC procedures Define Condition Assessment Methodology Initiate Condition Reviews Use VW Pipe Laboratory to assess water mains Develop Maintenance Summary Sheet for Asset Type, Code, Context and Unit Load Valuation into WAM / ICOMMM Criticality Guidelines Workshop Determine Key Performance Indicators Consult stakeholders on desired level of service Figure 4-1. EPA 10 -Step Asset Management Approach Relative Criticality Ranking Tool Detailed risk assessments to identify key assets Use Reliability Centered Maintenance, RCFA, PDM Prioritize Capital program using risk, cost and performance ranking criteria Utilize hydraulic models to prioritize based on capacity Maintenance budget Optimize the decision making process Develop Advanced Asset Management Plan City of Vancouver Advanced asset management It was apparent that the initial incentive for most American councils to acquire asset systems was to manage maintenance activity, work orders and scheduling, with a focus on managing costs and budgets. Asset management was generally considered to be something different involving asset condition and renewal planning, although this was acknowledged as an important and complimentary component to maintenance management. However, it was evident that many American and Canadian councils are implementing relevant and effective asset management practices even if it is not articulated in the same asset management framework familiar to Victorian asset managers. Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America 13

14 Jelly beans Geographical Information Systems The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) as a visualisation tool for assets was universal, ranging from the smallest councils to the largest. GIS was not just used to display asset locations; it was also used display a multitude of scenarios such as network condition information, business risk modelling and plans for combined asset renewal projects. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services collects and maintains extensive asset information in its MMS, including condition ratings and CCTV inspection data. It uses GIS to display the condition of its underground sewer pipes in 10 foot (3 metre) sections. CCTV surveys identify individual structural defects which are rated and scored, and this is used to calculate the structural condition grade of the pipe. Grading of 10 foot Segments City of Portland Mapping of pipe condition Further analysis of the grade 4 and 5 pipes is then undertaken by mapping failures and previous failures against the asset, along with the risk and consequence of failure. This captures the innate failure mode of the pipes by recognising that pipes generally fail in segments. The failures are scheduled for spot repairs unless the previous failures have reached 10 per cent and there is at least one near failure in the segment, then the pipe is scheduled for replacement. The required works and their priorities are then mapped. 14 Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America

15 Rehab Level Spot Repair Whole Pipe Replacement Monitor by Inspection City of Portland Pipe rehabilitation prioritisation The coloured symbols are colloquially called jelly beans. For additional information on the prioritisation process, see Appendix B. City of Portland Pipe rehabilitation priorities Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America 15

16 By contrast to Portland, the City of Robbinsdale is a very small council with limited resources. However it has undertaken the comprehensive mapping of its assets and their condition, and of the forward asset renewal programs. It has captured the key information about its assets and this information is maintained in spreadsheets and linked to its GIS. It generates maps of the various categories of assets, displaying attributes such as location, age and condition. The primary driver of its capital works program is the renewal of underground water and sewer assets, particularly those built in the 1920s and 1930s. The failure of these assets has the highest risk and consequence for council. The 10-year renewal plan of Robbinsdale s assets is based on the combined mapping and analysis of all assets categories that overlays their condition ratings, ages, soil types, failures, flood prone areas and other relevant data. The software and techniques used were relatively basic but the impressive results demonstrated that effective asset planning can be undertaken with limited resources. City of Robbinsdale Combined asset condition mapping 16 Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America

17 At Pierce County, field crews use surplus laptops to access GIS maps and to undertake the annual field condition survey of sidewalks. It is considered more cost efficient than specialised mobile equipment and only three laptops have been lost in three years. Supervisors and other staff can also capture information and undertake mandated inspections. The maps are set up so that clicking on an asset prompts an ArcPad form to open for the recording of data. Every vehicle has a GPS locator to record the location of asset information and to help manage resources and personnel. The GPS locator demonstrated its worth to personnel in the response to a truck rollover. A web based customer request system is used, which allows field crews to add notes and photos on site, although it is not linked to the maintenance management system. They have recently acquired a works scheduling system that selects what personnel and resources are needed and this ensures better utilisation of personnel and resources. To maximise effectiveness, personnel are no longer dedicated in teams but available to be scheduled for any type of work. This was considered important as it is an area where heavy winter snowstorms can demand all resources to be applied to snow clearing to meet their black road service level. The works scheduling system has enabled $1million of surplus plant to be sold off last year and it also freed up the equivalent of one full-time employee. With this system they can now measure their workflow and review why things did not go to schedule. Pierce County Works scheduling office Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America 17

18 The Major Capital Infrastructure Coordination group of the City of Toronto considers that it has a GIScentric asset management process. In a very large organisation it is important that large separate bureaus and directorates are aware of the works and forward plans of other areas. This was the basis for the establishment of the coordination group and GIS is the perfect tool to visualise and compare the various issues and plans across the city. However, unlike other councils we visited, due to its large size Toronto does have a dedicated Geospatial Group to maintain its GIS information. The information is made accessible for both internal and external uses. Residents can log on online to see where works are happening, and internally GIS is used to map the five-year renewal program, to map potential conflicts, to group issues and plan projects. It is an essential planning and communication tool in a very large organisation where bureaus usually operate independently Vendors of maintenance and asset management systems realise the importance of GIS as a visualisation tool. They all incorporate and promote their tight integration with one or more GIS solutions and their asset system s capability to handle spatial information. CityWorks promote the structure of their asset management system as a competitive advantage in that their system is truly GIS-centric as there are no separate asset tables and the data is contained in an ESRI spatial database for seamless GIS mapping. Toronto Water GIS-Centred Asset Management Operations Support Hydraulic Modelling Capital Planning GIS Enterprise GeoDatabase 0 Data and Data Management Work Order Management System Asset Management City of Toronto GIS is the preferred communications tool 18 Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America

19 Outputs Analysis and work programs The analysis of the asset information presented to us was typically centred around the concept of base business risk. This was typically displayed as a colour-coded GIS map. Standard risk and consequence techniques were used to calculate the cost of failure against its economic, environmental and social impacts. Remaining-useful-life curves were then used to estimate the remaining life of the asset. At the City of Portland the base business risk exposure was estimated by graphing the cost of failure against the estimated failure year and the alternative business risk was determined by graphing estimated project cost against the year of renewal. Net benefit was identified when base risk was greater than project cost. This provided the ability to rank renewal projects by the net benefit cost to the community. For further information see Appendix B. Net Benefit Cost Ratio -Jelly Beans City of Portland Mapping of the net benefit cost of renewal projects Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America 19

20 These techniques were particularly evident in the water supply bureaus, probably because of the high and measurable cost of pipe failures; the asset management compliance standards imposed by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the high impact these failures have on the community. There may be limited application to apply the same techniques to typical Victorian local government assets due to the difficulty in calculating the cost of failure, the slow and incremental deterioration of condition and the relatively remote chance of catastrophic failure. Risk serves as the basis for a Tactical Planning Framework Criticality Model Consequences of Failure Economic Impact Operational Impact Environmental Impact Social Impacts Probability of Failure Rating Systems Condition & Reliability Operational Adequacy Regulatory Compliance Economic Efficiency Decision Model Planning Tools Long Range Forecast Lifecycle Models What if? Analysis Sustainable Funding Full Cost of Services Response Toolbox Capital Program Urgent Action Planned Action Repair & Renewal New Growth Others? Maintenance Program Planned Work Predictive Work Preventive Work Others? Inspection Program Trouble Reports Visual Inspection Testing Regiment Flow Monitoring Others? 20 Hamilton Asset Management City of Hamilton Risk Framework 20 Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America

21 At the City of Vancouver sewage treatment plant, extensive use of the asset management system is used to record assets, link work orders and generate reports. These are used to generate reliability centred maintenance modelling with detailed analysis of critical assets. The system measures KPI data, overtime rates, preventative and reactive work. It provides criticality reviews, condition assessments and lifecycle data. GeoResults mobile mapping is used in the field. As builts and field inspections are fed into an ArcGIS SDE database for analysis and capital planning with the data transferred into the Hansen asset management system. As builts are provided electronically and used to create the spatial data. Criticality is based on location, environmentally sensitive areas, size and depth. All sewers have been mapped for criticality. Many of these asset management practices are mandated by the EPA for all treatment plants, which is why the water bureaus we visited generally had a more complete and sophisticated approach to asset management compared to other areas within their council organisation. Criticality)Analysis)Ranking Consequence)Areas)Ranked)for)Each)System s)failure)scenarios Safety Capacity Environmental/Water)Quality Operating)Costs Stakeholder Collateral)Damages ) Ranked)As: Unacceptable Major Undesirable Minor City of Vancouver Criticality ranking Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America 21

22 Different strokes Some other uses of technology The Palisades Garden Walk project is a $47 million public space project being developed by the City of Santa Monica. It is a free-form open space project with pathways, lights, landscape features, facilities and services. Numerous designers and consultants were involved in the project, preparing the construction plans for their component of the project. It was recognised that there was a significant potential for conflicts, delays and cost increases. To expedite the construction of the project, and to reduce the incidence of design conflicts, it was decided to have the project designs modelled in 3D using Navisworks software. The modelling was outsourced overseas and cost approximately $27,000. The merit of this decision was quickly demonstrated with the identification of various clashes and errors in the location of services and assets. The early identification of issues has resulted in the initial cost of the 3D modelling being quickly recouped and the model is now used as a primary project management tool at site meetings to monitor construction progress. City of Santa Monica 3D model of the Palisades Garden Walk project 22 Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America

23 City of Santa Monica Services clash identified by 3D modelling City of Santa Monica - City Hall and Garden Palisades Walk Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America 23

24 The 3D model facilitates quick decisions on changes and collaboration across teams. The site model is loaded onto Trimble devices on bulldozers that shape the site to the design profile. City of Santa Monica Palisades Garden Walk site works Other uses include contractors using it to set out formwork or to lay services in what appears to be a random pattern across the sites but which facilitates the most efficient use of space and reduces the time of construction. At the completion of the project the 3D model will provide accurate as builts to be transferred to council s asset management system. At the Congress, the Town of Windsor gave a presentation outlining how they are using GIS, GPS and web technologies to improve customer service and service delivery. Their objective is to engage citizens, empower staff, improve satisfaction and maximise the return on investment. The technology is GIS-centric for visualisation. Mobile tools are considered inexpensive, pervasive and easy to use, presenting a common picture and providing unified communications. Trucks have hard-wired modems in their cabins, with portable modems in contractor trucks, that provide real time communication, quick responses to complaints and the sharing of timely and accurate information. While a lot of new technology makes for efficiencies, a presentation by the City of Oakland at the Congress noted that they received a 30 per cent increase in customer requests after iphone and communication information was published. There is a need to plan and manage the potential implications of change and to understand why things change, as various factors may influence them. 24 Observations on the use of technology for asset management in North America

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