asset management 101: a primer - National Research Council Canada


Nov 18, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


APWA International Public Works Congress
NRCC/CPWA Seminar Series “Innovations in Urban Infrastructure” 2000
Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council Canada
1500 Montreal Road, Ottawa, CANADA K1A 0R6
This presentation provides a retrospective overview of asset management in the construction
industry and emphasis is placed on assessing the decision-support tools for municipal
infrastructure planning. The present study classifies levels of implementation of asset
management using the six “Whats” for asset management, a proposed implementation plan for
the domain. The study identifies the extent of the asset management market in North America
according to these six “Whats”; addresses the need for decision-support tools for municipal-type
organizations, and identifies the challenges for maintenance, repair and renewal planning faced
by asset owners and managers. Integration with existing systems such as computerized
maintenance management systems, geographic information systems and corporate legacy systems
is the largest challenge for developing and using decision-support tools In reply to: asset
Cet exposé offre une vue rétrospective sur la gestion des biens dans l’industrie de la construction,
l’accent étant mis sur l’évaluation des outils d’aide à la décision en vue de la planification en
matière d’infrastructures municipales. Dans l’étude en question, l’auteur établit une classification
des niveaux de mise en oeuvre de la gestion des biens sur la base des six questions posées à ce
sujet, qui constituent le plan de mise en oeuvre envisagé pour ce domaine. Il détermine, d’après
ces six questions, la taille du marché nord-américain de la gestion des biens, traite de la nécessité
des outils d’aide à la décision pour les organisations de type municipal, et met en évidence les
défis auxquels sont confrontés les propriétaires et gestionnaires de biens en ce qui a trait à la
planification des actions d’entretien, de réparation et de renouvellement. Le plus grand défi, sur
le plan de la mise au point et de l’utilisation des outils d’aide à la décision, est l’intégration avec
les systèmes existants, par exemple les systèmes informatisés de gestion de la maintenance, les
systèmes d’information géographique ou les anciens systèmes d’entreprises.

Dr. Dana Vanier is a Senior Research Officer at the National Research Council Canada. He is
currently investigating the use of Information Technologies in the field of service life asset
management. He is an editor of ITCON, the Electronic Journal of Information Technology in
Construction ( and a member of the CIB W78 working commission on IT in
construction. He can be reached at or at (613) 993-9699. This paper can be
obtained electronically at in the Louisville 2000 proceedings.
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NRCC/CPWA Seminar Series “Innovations in Urban Infrastructure” 2000
1. Introduction
Managers of mixed urban infrastructure assets such as federal departments, state or
provincial governments, municipalities and universities have to manage a diversified set of built
assets, from complex underground networks (e.g. water distribution, sewers) to buildings, as well
as roadway systems, parks and any other equipment necessary to maintain all these
infrastructures. These built assets, however, are not protected from deterioration due to ageing,
climate, geological conditions, and changes in use. Furthermore, and in particular, because of a
lack of adequate funding and appropriate support technologies, certain components of the urban
infrastructure have been neglected and receive only remedial treatments (Edmonton 1998;
Winnipeg 1998; Burns et al 1999). Consequently, these built assets will not last their originally
predicted service life (HAPM 1995): unless of course there are major “premature” maintenance
and rehabilitation investments.
1.1 Definitions
Many different terms are used in the industry to explain the same concept, and some terms
are used interchangeably. The following terms describe concepts that are used in this presentation
relating to the domain of municipal infrastructure investment planning.
Asset managers and property managers are those responsible for managing substantial
amounts of maintenance, repair and renewal work. It is their responsibility to maximize the effect
of expenditures and to maximize the value of their assets over the asset’s service life. In many
instances, the design and construction costs are small compared to both the asset management
costs and service life costs.
The asset manager, by definition in this presentation, is responsible for major
maintenance, repair and renewal decisions, as well as the long-term strategic planning (beyond
five years) of a corporate asset portfolio. The property manager or facility manager primarily
deal with day-to-day accommodation issues and the implementation of the strategic plan. All
these managers work co-operatively to ensure an asset will attain its predetermined service life.
In this presentation, service life is defined as “the actual period of time during which [the
asset] or any of its components performs without unforeseen costs of disruption for maintenance
and repair” (CSA 1995). The term “unforeseen” is a key word in the definition: all components
and materials require planned maintenance and they must be maintained to ensure that the service
life is reached. There are two different types of service life, namely: technical service life and
economic service life. The term durability has ambiguous meanings in technical circles; its use
is discouraged as durability has so many different meanings to so many different people.
The asset managers have to maintain all constructed facilities, either inhabited or not, and
these can range from roadways and sewer systems to the building’s envelope and structural
system. The term maintenance is normally used to cover a broad range of planned or
unplanned activities for “preserving the asset stock and its services in the condition and for the
purpose for which it was originally intended” (Burns 1990, p. 6). Maintenance generally
consists of: (1) inspections that are carried out periodically to monitor and record how systems
are performing; (2) preventive maintenance that ensures that systems or components will
continue to perform their intended functions throughout their service life (e.g. obstructions are
removed and depleted protection fluids are replenished); (3) repairs that are required when
defects occur and unplanned intervention is required, (4) rehabilitation that replaces one major
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NRCC/CPWA Seminar Series “Innovations in Urban Infrastructure” 2000
component of a system when it fails at the end of its service life, and (5) capital renewal that
replaces a system because of economic, obsolescence, modernization or compatibility issues.
Condition assessment surveys (CAS) are inspections used to assess the performance of a
system, subsystem or component; this term can be used synonymously with technical audit. In
many systems, the CAS provides a financial condition index (FCI) related to the cost of
required repairs (NACUBO 1990; Earl 1997) or a technical condition index related to the
technical performance of the asset (Bailey et al 1989). Deferred maintenance is the cost of the
maintenance (and not capital renewal) required to bring the asset to its original potential;
typically constituting work that has been postponed or phased for future action. This term is
synonymous with maintenance backlog.
Six terms are used currently in asset management to describe the value of an asset. The
historical value is the original “book value” of the asset. The appreciated historical value of an
asset is the historical value calculated in current dollars, taking into account annual inflation or
deflation. The capital replacement value is the cost of replacing an asset in current dollars. The
performance in use value is the value of the actual asset for the user (Lemer 1998). The market
value is the value of the property if it were sold on the open market today. In many instances, the
market value cannot be used for municipal infrastructure; however, it is applicable to many
types of assets such as buildings or unoccupied land. The deprival cost is the “cost that would be
incurred by an entity if it were deprived of an asset and was required to continue delivering
programs/services using the asset. The value is measured by the replacement cost of the benefits
currently embodied in the asset. Deprival value may also represent an opportunity value i.e. the
cost avoided as a result of having control of an asset” (ANAO 1996, p. 68). This term is used
predominantly in Australia.
2. Background
Asset and property managers are faced with many difficult decisions regarding when and
how to inspect, maintain, repair and renew their existing facilities in a cost-effective manner. In
addition, managers have few tools, either literature or intelligent computer software, to assist
them in the decision-making process (Melvin 1992; Coullahan and Siegried 1996; Earl 1997).
Many of the major property owners in North America recognize these service life and asset
management problems. Most have corrective measures for isolated problems, but none has an
integrated, comprehensive solution to address the needs for maintaining their assets efficiently
and effectively over their service life (IRC 1994; Kaiser 1996; Vanier 1999). In addition, there
are Information Technology (IT) solutions claiming to address the full needs of municipalities;
however, these are proving to be only isolated solutions to specific market niches (Vanier 1999).
2.1 Challenges
The National Research Council Canada (NRCC) has investigated the domain of asset
management for the past five years (IRC 1994; Lacasse and Vanier 1996; Vanier and Lacasse
1996; Vanier et al 1997; Vanier and Danylo 1998; Vanier 1999). After numerous formal and
informal workshops (, meeting and interviews with practitioners,
researchers, and standards authorities, the following observations are made:
• Many organizations have too many assets to inspect, let alone repair, and many are not
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NRCC/CPWA Seminar Series “Innovations in Urban Infrastructure” 2000
aware of the potential future deferred maintenance (Melvin 1992; CERF 1996; NRC
1996; Vanier 1999);
• Many organizations are collecting enormous amounts of electronic data that can only be
used in limited arenas such as computerized maintenance management;
• There are few standards for the data collected or created for municipal infrastructure
applications (CICA 1989; Lemer 1998; MIDS 1999);
• There are many existing tools and techniques that address portions of strategic asset
management problems, but there is no one solution or panacea that could readily be
adopted or implemented (Vanier 1999);
• Life cycle analysis is not a standard component of many applications (McElroy 1999);
• There is a lack of training in IT for asset management, specifically in database technology
and geographic information systems (GIS);
• There is a need technology transfer from “Best Practices” to the general asset
management audience (CMHC 1995; Felio 1998);
• Decision support tools are required to assist managers in strategic asset management.
3. What is Asset Management?
The asset managers' technical challenges, as identified in the first two sections, are indeed
complex, but they are not intractable in the author's view. In an attempt to classify and to
describe examples of decision-support tools for asset management as well as to juxtapose them
opposite discrete levels for asset management implementation, the author presents his six
“Whats” of asset management:
• What do you own?
• What is it worth?
• What is the deferred maintenance?
• What is its condition?
• What is the remaining service life?
• What do you fix first?
Anecdotal information from a number of typical organizations maintaining municipal
infrastructure indicate that they fare well with the first two questions, then may fail miserably on
the remaining four. Discussions with asset management professionals indicate that there is also a
scattering of responses depending on the discipline domain (i.e. roadways, bridges, parks, buried
utilities, buildings).
In the following section, the author presents examples of tools currently available to
address these six levels for asset management implementation (Vanier and Danylo 1998). The
author also suggests that practitioners can use this six level classification as a sequential roadmap
for implementing an asset management plan.
3.1 What do you own?
Geographical information systems (GIS), CAD systems and relational database
management systems provide accurate pictures of the extent of an asset management portfolio.
In GIS, the data about a particular asset are directly related to their physical location on a
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map of the city or region (GIAC 1998). For example, the location of a specific lot can be viewed
in the context of other lots in a neighbourhood; lot surface areas can be calculated, and distances
to specific services can be accurately calculated. Satellite imagery data can also be included in
GIS systems. System implementation costs for a comprehensive GIS can be expensive for
municipal or regional governments (Oppman 1998).
Computer aided design (CAD) systems can also provide sources of asset management
information for the engineering, technical and management staff (Sommerhoff 1999).
Dimensional information, such as areas and lengths can be extracted from CAD drawings, and
the drawings provide up-to-date information about the extent of the portfolio. However, there are
considerable incompatible issues with data formats (Vanier 1998) from CAD and CADFM
(facilities management) systems if they are also to be used for asset management.
Another tool that can be used to record what assets are owned is a computerized
maintenance management system (CMMS). There is a large selection of “fully commercialized”
CMMSs available; many of these are relational database applications that can be adapted to meet
the data handling needs of asset managers. A quick search on the Internet (e.g., using “computerized maintenance
management system” or “cmms” produces thousands of sites dedicated to this topic. Detailed
information on over 300 CMMS packages can be obtained from the Plant Maintenance Resource
Center (PM 2000). It is obvious from this information that the CMMS domain, at this time, is
mature, and that many stable, comprehensive, useful tools exist. For example, any number of
CMMS applications can manage work orders, trouble calls, equipment cribs, stores inventories
and preventive maintenance schedules, and many programs include features such as time
recording, inventory control and invoicing. The CMMS’s capability to store inventory data is
formidable; however, their capacity with respect to life cycle economics, service life prediction
and risk analysis is considerably less sophisticated. These systems are currently not able to assist
the manager in analysing data or offering scenarios for long-term system readiness, capability, or
performance; but the CMMS has become an essential tool for the asset manager in the new
3.2 What is it worth?
Once an organization identifies the extent of its assets, it is necessary to establish the asset
“value”. Six terms are used to describe the “value” of an asset; these terms were described in
Section 1.1.: historical value, appreciated historical value, current replacement value
“performance in use” value, market value, and deprival cost. One can take the simple view of the
value of an asset as one data field on the asset record; however, the calculation and the recording
of the value are neither simple nor straightforward. In fact, any implementation of an asset
management system could use this sequential ordering of values as a plan for data collection; that
is, obtain the same level of detail across the portfolio or obtain the highest level in each domain.
Typically, large organizations store the historical values of assets, and bring this value
forward to current dollars using well-known building economic principles (ASTM E917 1994),
or calculate the replacement cost based on the area, volume or length of a system or component
( However, many do not store the “value” of that asset, but only the cost.
Asset managers require both value and cost to make educated decisions. Normally these numbers
are impossible to find in the proliferation of electronic records and the variety of manual systems.
For example in the case of a simple re-paving project, the asset manager may wish to know the
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original cost (for comparison), the annual maintenance costs (for projections), the life cycle costs
of a specific type of system (to compare them to a proposed configuration that is more expensive
but could have a longer service life and a higher reliability) or the current replacement value. In
this case, the asset manager needs access to both value and cost of the asset.
Life cycle costing (LCC) is based on well-known standards in the domain (ASTM E917
1994). This is described in later in this presentation. A number of “off-the-shelf” commercial
tools such as Building Life-Cycle Cost program (BLCC 1995) have been developed to implement
these ASTM standards. However, there are reports indicating that practitioners do not make use
of these well-established LCC tools (McElroy 1999). Except for these types of LCC tools, there
is little to help the asset manager to establish the actual value of an asset and few systems are
comprehensive enough to save all six types of asset values, described earlier.
3.3 What is the deferred maintenance?
In the definition section of this presentation 'deferred maintenance' is described as "the cost
of the maintenance (and not capital renewal) required to bring the asset to its original potential;
typically constituting work that has been postponed or phased for future action".
The deferred maintenance cannot be treated simply a sum of past annual maintenance
deficits; it must include the compounding effect of deferring maintenance from one year to the
next. This compounding effect is similar to the interest on a debt: if the maintenance is not
completed in year one, then the costs of maintenance, repair or replacement are significantly
higher in subsequent years, as shown in Fig. 1. De Sitter’s “Law of Fives” (De Sitter 1984)
approximates this effect: if maintenance is not performed, then repairs equaling five times the
maintenance costs are required. In turn, if the repairs are not effected, then renewal expenses can
reach five times the repair costs. Therefore, postponing the maintenance compounds the amount
of deferred maintenance.
Spending on maintenance and repair as shown in Fig. 2 can reduce this deferred
maintenance. Fig. 2 schematically illustrates the reduction of the deferred maintenance with
various levels of maintenance funding. The asset manager should keep in mind that maintenance
and repair funding should be applied first to those assets of the type in curve (b) of Fig. 1, i.e.
those with the highest degradation curves.
Deferred Maintenance ($)
(a) Total for all assets types
(b) Asset type i
(c) Asset type ii
(d) Asset type iii
Fig. 1: Growing deferred maintenance
(a) $ 0 maintenance per year
(b) $ 1 M per year
(c) $ 2 M per year
(d) $ 3 M per year
Deferred Maintenance ($)
Fig. 2: Deferred maintenance reduction
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NACUBO uses the term “facility condition index” or FCI to provide comparisons for the
amount of deferred maintenance between different facilities or systems. The FCI is the amount of
deferred maintenance divided by the current replacement value (CRV). NACUBO studies (1990)
indicate those facilities with FCI’s higher than 0.15 are problematic.
The NACUBO Model can be easily implemented in a spreadsheet. The FCI provides a
general impression of the overall state of individual facilities (NACUBO 1990), as shown in
Table 1. A higher FCI indicates a lower relative state of the facility. More granular data on
specific disciplines can also be displayed if available, as in the example for Building X-2 in
Table 1. This example illustrates some of the problems at this level of asset management; - a
number of software applications are required to produce the numbers required to prioritize work.
Table 1: Deferred Maintenance
Facility Replacement
Facility Condition
Index (FCI)
Building X-2
$ 6,967,000 $ 640,509 9.19%
Architectural $ 2,345,000 $ 216,011 9.21%
Mechanical $ 1,267,000 $ 30,241 2.39%
Structural $ 2,134,000 $ 242,234 11.35%
Electrical $ 1,221,000 $ 152,023 12.45%
Asset X-3
$ 1,241,000 $ 67,315 5.42%
Asset X-20
$ 10,031,000 $ 326,239 3.25%
Asset X-24
$ 23,359,000 $ 239,391 1.02%
Asset X-50
$ 6,451,000 $ 956,000 14.82%
Data warehousing and trend analysis allows the asset managers to calculate both the current
backlog of deferred maintenance, in addition to the projected levels of maintenance in the future.
Traditionally, a relational database only maintains the most current information in its records;
however, very often in asset management there is a need to save intermittent snapshots of the
state of the assets. These snapshots could be in the form of data dumps from the CMMS
database; for example, saving data about the repair dates, repair scope, labour costs, contract
specifications and drawings. These data could be warehoused and mined in future years to extract
the trends in the past years on issues such as deferred maintenance and recurring maintenance
scenarios. These data could also be used to establish trends for strategic planning.
3.4 What is its condition?
Once the extent and value of an asset has been determined and a ballpark financial
condition has been obtained using the FCI, the next step is to assess its technical condition.
Engineered Management Systems (EMS), as implemented by the US Army Corps of Engineers,
can be used to establish the physical condition and the deferred maintenance of the asset (Bailey
et al 1989; Shahin 1992).
The US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) has pioneered the
use of engineered management systems in many construction sectors, such as paving, roofing and
rail maintenance ( Engineered management
systems (EMS) assign a condition index (CI) to an asset based on a number of factors including
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the number of defects, physical condition and quality of materials or workmanship. The EMS
software embodies the results of research studies that estimate the potential degradation of the CI
with respect to the loads on the system or external agents acting on materials. With all of these
data at hand, it is possible to estimate the future CI, given the current state and a likely
degradation curve. A number of systems exist for municipal infrastructure including PAVER
(Shahin 1992), ROOFER (Bailey et al 1989), BUILDER (
facts/sheets/ FL25.html), and RAILER (
A condition assessment survey (CAS) is another decision-support tool used to establish an
asset's existing condition. A CAS produces a benchmark for comparison; not only between
different assets, but also for the same asset at different times (IRC 1994; NRC 1994; “Using CAS, a maintenance manager can formalize the
assembly of basic planning elements such as deficiency-based repair, replacement costs,
projected remaining life and planned future use” (Coullahan and Siegfried 1996). A CAS records
the deficiencies of a system or component, the extent of the defect, as well as the urgency of the
repair work. In some cases, the estimated cost of repair is also provided. Management, as a result
of the data generated by CAS, is better able to develop optimal plans for maintenance and repair
of their buildings (Coullahan and Siegfried 1996). The US Department of Energy has a
significant program (Earl 1997) dealing with life cycle asset management and condition
assessment surveys (LCAM/CAS) and publishes newsletters on the topic in both hardcopy
(Inside Infrastructure 1998) and electronic format (
3.5 What is the remaining service life?
After the extent of an infrastructure portfolio is known, with its value and condition
determined, the asset manager must establish the remaining service life in order to calculate the
life cycle costs for alternative maintenance, repair and renewal strategies. There are different
types of service life, such as the technical service life and the economic service life.
The “technical” service life can be calculated employing techniques such as Markov chain
modeling (Lounis et al 1998), the factorial method (Arseth and Hovde 1999) or from life
expectancy tables (HAPM 1995). Techniques employing databases such as EMS and
sophisticated mathematical modelling using Markov Chain (Lounis et al 1998) provide estimates
for the remaining service life of components and systems. These techniques predict remaining
service life based on studies of similar construction forms under test conditions. Unfortunately
these techniques require the collection of considerable amounts of data; only a few domains such
as bridge (Frangopol et al 1997), pavement (Shahin 1992) and roofing (Bailey et al 1989; Lounis
et al 1998) management have reliable service life prediction techniques.
Different data are required to calculate the economic life. Databases such as those from
R.S. Means ( or Whitestone Research ( are
used to calculate the immediate costs of repairs and to compare these numbers to the costs of
renewal. Computer estimating programs can also calculate the costs of maintenance, repair and
replacement. The life cycle costs (LCC) of these expenditures can be calculated using standard
formulae for building economics (ASTM E917 1994) as shown in Equations (1) and (2).
￿ Equation (1)
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Where PVLCC= present value of life cycle costs
= sum of all relevant costs, occurring in year t
N = length of study
i = the discount rate
Where PVLCC= present value of life cycle costs
IC = initial cost
PVM = PV of maintenance and repair cost
PVR = PV of replacement cost
PVO = PV of operations cost
PVS = PV of resale value
To populate data for Equations (1) and (2) is not an easy task; not only is it difficult to
obtain all of the costs for future years on projected operations, maintenance, repair and resale, but
it is very difficult to obtain projections on the discount rate to be used. In addition, the user must
first approximate the technical service life, as described above.
Decisions regarding the maintenance, repair, renewal or do-nothing alternatives can be
made based on this economic analysis. Costing, however, is only one dimension of decision
making. Another factor must also be considered, namely risk; this is detailed in the next section.
3.6 What do you fix first?
Deferred maintenance is not the only challenge for asset managers; in addition, there are
continually new maintenance and repair requirements. Fig. 3 illustrates the accumulated
maintenance assuming hypothetical zero maintenance expenditures. The on-going maintenance
curve (c) in Fig. 3 (assuming no maintenance expenditures) can fluctuate based on the corporate
asset growth or reduction and the age of facilities. Curve (a) is the sum of the deferred
maintenance (curve b) and the on-going maintenance (curve c). Fig. 4 provides the accumulated
maintenance given a hypothetical budget of $ 3M/yr to eliminate the backlog.
(a) Accumulated Maintenance
(b) Deferred Maintenance
(c) Maintenance Requirements
(2% of CRV)
(assuming $ 3M maintenance per year)
ccumulated Maintenance ($)
Fig. 4: Accumulated maintenance reduction
(a) Accumulated Maintenance
(b) Deferred Maintenance
(c) Maintenance Requirements
(2 % of CRV)
(assuming no maintenance
ccumulated Maintenance ($)
Fig. 3: Accumulated maintenance
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In addition to maintenance and repair, there are also the related problems of cyclical capital
renewal: -- nothing lasts forever and sooner or later it has to be renewed, either as a complete
system or as a part-by-part rehabilitation. For example, if asset managers know that roofs should
be replaced every 20 years, windows every 10 years and seals every five years (HAPM 1995),
they should budget for these forecasts accordingly. NACUBO (1990) also provides a practical
method to plan this rehabilitation, replacement or renewal. The methodology is related to the
Facility Condition Index (FCI) discussed earlier and is called capital renewal (CR) analysis. The
CR analysis calculates the renewal costs and spreads these future expenditures equally around the
planned renewal date in a five-year time span, as shown in Fig. 5 (b). In this example, three
renewal projects are planned and the costs for implementing Project (i) are amortized from year
two through year seven. Using CR analysis, costs for the CR for each and every system or facility
can be calculated well into the future (knowing the service life), and can be discounted as a
present value or calculated as an annuity expense, as shown in curve (c) in Fig. 6. These
calculations can also be used to establish “sinking funds” or “reserve funds” for the facility.
Spreadsheets can be used to implement the NACUBO model. Not to be forgotten in any of these
calculations are tax implications of commercial maintenance.
The Real Estate Capital Asset Priority Planning System or RECAPP™
( is a strategic database management system that can calculate the
funding requirements for capital repair/renovations over a 25-year time horizon (Gordon and
Shore 1998). It is a relational database that develops prioritized capital funding and renewal
projections using life cycle costing strategies. It is also a tactical planning tool that allows
tracking of capital budgets, project status, and the risks associated with deferred maintenance.
RECAPP allows the user to input data at an organizational, regional, district, building or
departmental level and permits the user to enter information about assets such as building
location, gross area, tenancy, and asset type. It also stores additional data such as digital images
of the facility, system and components or CAD drawings of the floor plan. It can save archival
information such as construction cost, age of facility, and maintenance expenditures. The output
of RECAPP includes sophisticated plotting routines with histograms, pie charts or line plots
(a) Maintenance / Renewal Requirements
(b) Accumulated Maintenance
(c) Projected Capital Renewal
($3 M maintenance per year)
(Capital Renewal amortized over 10 years)
Maintenance / Renewal ($)
Fig. 6: Maintenance and renewal reduction
Accumulated Maintenance ($)
Project ii
(a) Accumulated Maintenance
(b) Projected Capital Renewal
(Projects i, ii, and iii
spread over 5 years)
Project i
Project iii
Fig. 5: Capital Renewal
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depicting portfolio age profiles or 25 year expenditure projections.
Decision-support tools such as those suggested in the Building Envelope Life Cycle Asset
Management Project (BELCAM) can provide standardized interfaces for asset managers (Lounis
et al 1998). The sophisticated and complex calculations, integrated with numerous computer
applications could provide answers to many maintenance, repair and renewal questions. The
interface shown in Fig. 7 provides the decision-maker with the relevant data required to prioritize
projects using multi-objective optimization.
Starting at the top of Fig. 7, the Windows (a), (b), and (c) provide a graphical aerial view of
the existing “Condition Rating”, “Risk of Failure” and “Maintenance Cost” for a number of
assets, respectively (roofs in this case). Depending on the optimization “Objective” selected by
the user in Window (e), and a budget selected in Window (d), the user can view the projected
condition of the assets after the selected priority projects have been implemented. Alternatively,
the user can view the projected condition ratings, risk of failure and maintenance costs in future
years by manipulating the “Time” slider in Window (d).
(d) (e)
Fig. 7: Decision support interface

This presentation discussed the challenges faced by the construction industry when it comes
to maintaining, repairing and renewing its existing and its future assets, but cautions that the
challenges are not intractable. A multilevel plan for the implementation of asset management is
presented in the form of six questions: What do you own? What is it worth? What is the deferred
maintenance? What is its condition? What is the remaining service life? What do you fix first?
Each successive level describes currently available tools and techniques for asset management
and each “What” establishes a growing framework for the implementation of an asset
management plan. Unfortunately, few tools exist in the area of strategic asset management and
managers of municipal infrastructure have considerable work ahead in order to implement the
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full six levels described. The investigation leading to this presentation located a limited number
of decision-support applications in the domain of municipal infrastructure but did not find any
comprehensive solution that addresses the current and future needs for investment planning for
municipal engineers and managers. The presentation identifies the many opportunities faced by
these asset managers: the need for seamless data integration, the requirement for enhancement
and standardization of currently available tools, the need for information exchange and
technology transfer, and requirement for addition research in areas such as life cycle analysis and
service life prediction.
Based on the investigation completed to date and the experience learned from various
related projects (Vanier and Lacasse 1996; Lounis et al 1998), the author identifies several
administrative, financial and technical challenges to fully address the need of municipal
infrastructure planning:
• seamless data integration of the software environment;
• enhancement and standardization of the currently available tools;
• central repository for the information;
• shared experiences and “best practices” such as proposed in the National Technical for
Municipal Infrastructure (Felio 1998);
• life cycle analysis and long-term service life prediction; and
• intercommunication between municipal infrastructure research and the field of service
life research.
The National Research Council Canada and the City of Montreal, in conjunction with the
Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth, Greater Toronto Authority and the Regional
Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton are cooperating on a “Municipal Infrastructure Investment
Planning” (MIIP) Project ( This project addresses the need for
decision-support tools and addresses some of the challenges identified earlier. The MIIP project
builds on the existing service life and asset management information developed in the Building
Envelope and Life Cycle Asset Management Project (Lacasse and Vanier 1996; Vanier and
Lacasse 1996). The objectives of the MIIP Project are as follows:
• Serve as a clearinghouse for asset management for municipal infrastructure.
• Locate tools and techniques to assist municipal infrastructure investment planning.
• Develop prototype tools and techniques for asset managers to better manage their
municipal infrastructure.
• Cooperate with software vendors to develop useful, usable and reliable software.

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