By: IPWEA Buildings.PLUS
All organisations should be focused on optimising the lifecycle of their building assets. Knowing the current condition of your assets is essential if you’re going to accurately predict on-going maintenance and renewal expenditure, reduce reactive works and reduce the risk and cost associated with asset failure. This is a key element of the organisation’s wider asset management framework.
The IPWEA Buildings.PLUS software solution provides a cloud-based Mobile platform to deliver infield condition assessments that is aligned with IPWEA’s Practice Note 3 – Building Condition & Performance Assessment Guidelines. The results of the infield assessment instantly produces an asset register and lifecycle renewals plan, as well as the ability to export into IPWEA NAMS+ or other systems.
However, collecting condition data is costly and time-intensive. Often a full condition assessment may only happen once every five years, or longer. Therefore it’s essential to take the time to plan the approach and outcomes of the assessment to ensure that the full benefits are achieved.
To help organisations with this, SPM Assets, the software providers of IPWEA Buildings.PLUS, has developed a checklist that will assist when it’s time to evaluate your assets. This takes into account their inspectors own experiences in delivering condition assessments across different industries, as well as their observations of the challenges other organisations typically face.
This checklist is divided across three key phases, as outlined below:
Phase 1 – Prepare and Review
The planning phase is critical to ensure that the overall project is a success. One approach to take is to work backwards from the end state, to ensure that all decisions relating to data capture and methodology align to how the resulting data will be used. Regardless, clear success criteria or Key Performance Indicators, should be developed at this stage to guide the process.
- Determine your asset management objectives and business needs.
- These will drive the type and extent of the survey required.
- Evaluate software options available in market.
- Choose the software before determining the condition assessment process, for example IPWEA Buildings.PLUS. Condition assessment is an ‘asset information management’ process that starts and ends with data.
- Evaluate organisations experienced in conducting condition assessments.
- Or choose an internal staff member who can carry out the assessments.
- Review and rationalise your current data validity.
- Existing asset registers are usually a good start, so make use of current condition data or reports prior to commencing data collection.
- Establish templates based on your specific needs.
- Asset names, unit rates, criticality, and useful lives aligned to your local environment.
Phase 2 – Set up and test
The second phase provides an opportunity to test the assumptions and objectives that were established in the Phase 1. What is critical in this phase is to allow for a hold point after the initial assessments to validate the outcomes. This should then feed into the final documented approach that is supported by a QA script to be implemented in Phase 3.
- Run a pilot assessment with an experienced inspector over 3 to 5 days.
- Test the level of detail, the time needed in the field, analytical results produced, and the range of reports.
- Identify gaps and improvements to tailor the condition assessment process delivering the business needs, and the system setup as needed.
- Document the setup and train the inspectors.
- Consistency is the key to produce quality data and thereby the assessment outcome.
- In the first few days of assessment check for consistency by continually monitoring assessor progress hourly and undertaking further training if needed.
- Write up a ‘quality assurance’ (QA) script.
- Every condition assessment project is different, and the QA checks established need to be based on the business needs. Check to ensure the right data is being collected to the right level of detail.
Phase 3 – Start the assessment
Once the first two phases are completed, it is then time to deliver the bulk of the infield assessment. This still requires a level of on-going review and management to ensure that the project objectives continue to be met, as measured by the defined success criteria. At the conclusion of the project, lessons should be documented and stored for consideration with future projects.
- Get your inspectors in the field to conduct the survey, collecting data using the chosen mobile assessment software.
- Assess data confidence at a component level.
- Quantities measured, condition grading, unit rates, and economic lives.
- Report the overall data confidence of the project.
- Completeness: percentage of the total number of assets that should have been identified – aim for 90%.
- Reliability: aligned with the skills and experience of the inspectors – from 70% to 100%.
- Accuracy: indicates whether component quantities and condition grades have been guessed or measured.