Tag: Asset Management

How Technology has Changed Asset Management Programs in the Last 5 Years

I have worked on asset management projects throughout my 5-year tenure here at Hoyle, Tanner. Although 5 years doesn’t seem like much time, it has been ample time to see evolution in the way asset management programs are used and how they’re needed to function.

Whether it be the funding agency rules, regulatory requirements, or simply the needs of the clients, the asset management landscape has been continuously evolving. Most notably has been the evolution of what clients are requesting from their asset management programs. Before working for Hoyle, Tanner, I worked as a state regulator and my interactions with asset management were primarily in the form of capital planning. An engineer comes in, runs through an evaluation of your assets, and says “Here, these are your priority projects for the next 10 or so years.” Useful for planning purposes? Perhaps. Maximizes the use of your assets? Unrelated.

At the time, I would have considered a box of index cards with your routine maintenance needs that you paw through every month to be a pretty good asset maintenance plan. A GIS system that shows all your assets in the right locations would have been pretty good asset collection; though, let’s be honest, the paper map was probably more updated. 

Through my first few years at Hoyle, Tanner, I started seeing more and more clients developing those index cards. Except now they’re not index cards, they’re calendar reminders. Then, more clients wanted to update those GIS maps and keep them updated. They want to keep track of asset condition. “We check these annually, why can’t we document that and update the GIS info accordingly?”

You can. Let’s create a work order system to document your work on assets and update your asset inventory based on it.

Then came the vertical assets. Clients saw that they could electronically keep track of those horizontal assets, why not your pumps and treatment equipment, too? One of the bigger jumps in the evolution of asset management was information access. Clients have GIS maps, asset inventories, work orders, standard operating procedures, photos, tie books, and now they wanted to access all of this information out in the field.

Along with this request for improved information access came the request for interconnectivity of data. “When I submit a work order, can that automatically update my condition assessment?” Sure, let’s figure out how.

We have now reached a point where we have made the connection between asset maintenance programs and asset planning: true asset management.

We have now reached a point where we have made the connection between asset maintenance programs and asset planning: true asset management. We’re now associating life expectancy and finance with how those assets are maintained. As a result, we are now seeing a return to that capital planning need. Except it’s no longer a dead binder sitting on a shelf for 10 years, it is a moving list that’s updated based on changes logged in the asset management program. During annual budgeting, we’re seeing more clients looking to their asset management programs to make short- and long-term investment decisions.

But has asset management really changed? What has really come to my attention is that the fundamentals of asset management have not changed, only where we are in the process. We work with a multitude of asset management clients, and although many have reached the point of software, work orders, and financial planning, many are still just trying to develop that inventory. Once they get that inventory, they want that automatic updating and the interconnected work orders. As asset management programs improve (better technology, better connectivity, etc.), we want more from them and the evolution continues.

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Hoyle, Tanner Engineers Showcase their Knowledge of Asset Management

Asset Management

On September 20, John Jackman, PE and Rychel Gibson, PE will be presenting on the basics of an asset management system at the Sunday River Grand Summit Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Newry, Maine, as part of the Maine Water Environment Association’s fall convention.

The focus of their presentation will be the documentation, organization and data collection for physical assets using tools like Google Forms. By using Google tools  (Drive, Calendar, Maps, and Forms), users can input data for free from a computer, tablet or phone. Among other tasks, John and Rychel will demonstrate how to use Google Forms to fill out daily logs and inspection sheets, and how to use Google Maps to document and track GPS assets.

Physical assets – like pipes, pumps, and valves — can be stressed from over-use, underfunding, and aging. It is the responsibility of the asset manager to know when an asset has reached its useful life. Over the past two decades, practical, advanced techniques have been developed for better managing physical assets. Hoyle, Tanner has assisted close to 40 municipalities, counties and state agencies with their asset management plans system. John Jackman has been involved with asset management for 16 years and joined the New England Water Environment Association in 2004. Rychel is a member of the Maine Water Environment Association and has been integrally involved with developing freeware-based asset management assistance during her time with Hoyle, Tanner.

 

john-and-rychel

Are you ready for the new NH MS4 Stormwater Permit?

Pond with lily pads

EPA Region 1 issued the revised New Hampshire Small MS4 General Permit on January 18, 2017. Affecting 60 New Hampshire communities, this new permit will make a significant change in stormwater management compliance when it takes effect on July 1, 2018.

This new permit imposes more stringent regulations for communities’ compliance in regards to how to manage stormwater.

Many community leaders have expressed concerns that the overlap with other regulatory requirements and the cost of meeting those requirements may not effectively achieve the desired results, and they are looking for integrated cost-effective approaches to meeting the new regulatory requirements.

Governor Chris Sununu has publicly spoken against the new MS4 permits, saying that they would severely impact municipalities and taxpayers, noting that “additional mandates contained within the new MS4 permit will prove themselves overly burdensome and enormously expensive for many of New Hampshire’s communities.”

If you live in community in Southern New Hampshire, chances are that this change affects you in some way. To see a list of affected communities, please visit the EPA website.

Hoyle, Tanner has experienced staff who are knowledgeable about asset management, SRF loan pre-application preparation, and MS4 permitting.

John Jackman, PE, asset management specialist

 

John Jackman, PE, is Hoyle, Tanner’s premier Asset Management Specialist. Although the CWSRF money cannot be directly used to support the MS4 program, using the asset management program to support documentation of municipal assets will be helpful in setting up a strategy for compliance related to the October 1, 2018 required filing date of the MS4 permit’s Notice of Intent.

 

Michael Trainque, PE, stormwater specialist

 

Michael Trainque, PE, has 39 years of environmental engineering experience.  Michael has been integrally involved in developing model stormwater regulations, identification, assessment and dry-weather sampling and testing of stormwater outfalls, as well as other aspects of stormwater management.

 

marshall

Heidi Marshall, PE has been assisting industries and municipalities with NPDES compliance since the 1990s when EPA published the initial stormwater requirements and can assist you with preparation of the Notice of Intent, developing or updating the Stormwater Management Plan, and can provide assistance with the required follow-up actions.

 

Hoyle, Tanner is equipped to help communities that are affected by MS4 regulation changes. We are immediately available to help with pre-application funding, notice of intent preparation for October, and setting up action plans to comply with MS4 requirements.

Let Hoyle, Tanner guide your community into a future with cleaner water. Contact John Jackman, PE for asset management application assistance, or for MS4 assistance, contact Michael Trainque, PE or Heidi Marshall, PE.

Capturing Data in a New Era

This season Hoyle, Tanner employees are finding all sorts of ways to get out into the field. An essential aid to us in our field work is a GPS data collector. Employees from all departments have been utilizing the GPS data collector to collect centimeter grade accuracy GPS data in multiple states across New England. The variety of jobs the GPS is being used for includes tasks such as collecting utility pole locations in Massachusetts, flagging wetlands in New Hampshire, performing quality assurance checks of bridge superstructure construction in Vermont, utility asset management for multiple municipalities across New Hampshire and much, much more.

The strength of the GPS data collector is not only in its ability to collect highly accurate, horizontal and vertical data, but also in its extreme ease of use. Horizontal data can be collected in the World Geodetic System 1984 (standard latitude and longitude) or any of the state plane coordinate systems, and the vertical data is collected in the North American Vertical Datum of 1988. The GPS is powered by an android operating system, and requires no GIS or survey experience to learn how to use. The device also streams real time kinematic (RTK) corrected global navigation satellite system (GNSS) positions.  These real time corrections allow the user to see coordinates of shots as they are taken which also eliminates the need for special software to post-process the data back in the office.  The GPS data collector is capable of outputting both GIS shapefiles and ASCII text files, and it is also capable of inputting GIS shapefiles that can be viewed as a layer while collecting data in the field.

The GPS data collector is a powerful tool that has greatly improved the quality of field visits for the Hoyle, Tanner staff.  The ability to obtain highly-accurate GPS data with the click of a button while on project sites is changing the way we accomplish tasks, and we’re doing it in a more efficient manner.

Asset Management – Optimization of O&M & CIP, & Funding Strategy

Recently, John Jackman, P.E. and Carl Quiram, P.E. finished our series discussion on Asset Management highlighting the Optimizing O&M and CIP, as well as Funding Strategy tasks. The concepts presented in this video reflect the utilization of collected data collected to more accurately develop a Capital Improvement Plan and the necessary steps to fund those projects. Presented are examples used by various municipalities as wells as the information necessary to capitalize on the Asset Management Program data.  – Click Here to review the other presentations given as part of the Asset Management Series.

Planning Your Assets – Part 2

As outlined in the Key Elements of a Successful Asset Management Program and Planning Your Assets – Part 1 we have shared the process of starting asset management as well as an in-depth look at the first of those steps. This post will address the remaining steps more in-depth:

Framework:
With the needs identified, goals agreed upon, team building complete, and inventory and assessment finished, the development of the asset priority can begin by analyzing ‘Risk’. Risk of an asset is calculated by multiplying consequence of failure by probability of failure (or condition). Some organizations use strictly age-based assessment which focuses on the service life of the infrastructure versus the current condition and risk associated with that asset. Instead, age of an asset should be merely a factor in the overall risk of the asset when incorporating it into the plan.

The Plan:
Organizations make decisions about asset management based to the requirements placed on them by governing agencies as well as their own stakeholders. By developing an Asset Management Plan that will be utilized by all staff, a systematic approach to the implementation and future use of the program can be outlined. The plan will include a listing of all assets that are managed including buildings, utilities, roadway infrastructure, vehicles, equipment, etc. This plan will clearly describe the assets, policies and procedures for maintaining the currents, and the procurement process of future assets.

Training:
The use of an asset management database will not only empower organizations with knowledge, but can optimize their maintenance and operations. In order for the database to be maintained training will need to happen to ensure comparison of assets are on a standard form of measure and not subject to individual opinions.

Presentation:
Developing and giving a presentation to management or a governing board in critical in the acceptance and understanding of the asset management program established by the organization. By presenting a high-level of understanding and functionality in the

Implementation:
Setting the implementation into progress with all program participants will allow for the plan utilization for repair efficiencies, project scheduling and budget planning will allow for a seamless process in assessing all assets to ensure adequate service as well as reduce the risk of failure.

To learn out more about the Asset Management services we provide to our clients please contact Joe Ducharme, Jr., PE, Regional Manager for our Northeast Municipal Engineering Group.

Planning Your Assets – Part 1

*This post has been updated in 2020.

As outlined in the Key Elements of a Successful Asset Management Program post we shared earlier, the foundation of an asset management program will provide a community with a short and long-term decision-making tool that community stakeholders update regularly as needs are addressed over time. The program provides a methodical process of organizing, operating, maintaining, renewing, and disposing of tangible assets while tracking each asset’s useful life and risk of failure to ensure the greatest return on investment.

By creating an asset management program, communities can balance the cost of making repairs and upgrades to aging assets while maintaining a high level of service for the community.

VISION STATEMENT – This is a collaborative effort to define a vision that describes what the community wishes to achieve through development of an asset management program. When properly crafted, this community-specific vision statement will help communicate to stakeholders the purpose and overarching goals of what asset management will do for the community. The vision statement should identify and define all stakeholders (both internal and external) who will benefit from the program.

ASSET INVENTORY – Creating an asset inventory, including a naming convention specific to the community, will help identify the location and all pertinent information known about each asset. The asset inventory should include each asset name, location and all pertinent information known about each asset including age, condition, and years in service.

LEVEL OF SERVICE (LOS) WORKSHOP Prepare and conduct a workshop to gather input from a cross-section of stakeholders and ratepayers to develop a level-of-service matrix summarizing goals that are sustainable, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely (SMART). In maintaining an asset management program over time, also include methods to evaluate and reassess (SMARTER) levels of service to make sure they continue to meet the goals and needs of the stakeholders. The workshop should include input from stakeholders, such as: system operators, management, ratepayers and supporting input from the engineer (if applicable). Participation in the workshop by outside stakeholders is encouraged. Many communities have found that a balanced scorecard type matrix is helpful in developing and using LOS. These LOS goals should be reviewed frequently and modified accordingly.

PRIORITIZATION OF ASSETS – Prioritize assets based on condition assessment and criticality. Many communities have found that a risk assessment type matrix comparing likelihood of failure versus consequence of failure is an effective and useful tool for helping to prioritize assets and to visualize the state of the community’s assets.

LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYSIS (LCCA) – Analyze life cycle costs of each asset including capital costs, operating costs (including energy costs for all vertical assets) and maintenance costs for the life of the assets.

Coming up in Part 2 we will cover the additional steps in this process.

Key Elements of a Successful Asset Management Program

Step by step asset management graphic in blue and green

*This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated in 2020.

The elements of a successful asset management program are similar from one project to the next, but each community will have specific challenges and needs that define their program. Below is a description of the ‘core elements’ that form the foundation of an asset management program designed to be a short and long-term decision-making tool that community stakeholders update regularly as needs are addressed over time. The program provides a methodical process of organizing, operating, maintaining, renewing, and disposing of tangible assets while tracking each asset’s useful life and risk of failure to ensure the greatest return on investment.

By creating an asset management program, communities can balance the cost of making repairs and upgrades to aging assets while maintaining a high level of service for the community.

  1. VISION STATEMENT – Define community-specific vision statement to communicate to all stakeholders, the purpose and overarching goals of what asset management will do for the community.
  2. ASSET INVENTORY – Create an asset inventory, including a naming convention specific to the community, that identifies the location and all pertinent information known about each asset.
  3. LEVEL OF SERVICE (LOS) WORKSHOP – Conduct a workshop to gather input from a cross-section of stakeholders and ratepayers to develop a level-of-service matrix summarizing goals that are sustainable, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely (SMART). In maintaining an asset management program over time, also include methods to evaluate and reassess (SMARTER) levels of service to make sure they continue to meet the goals and needs of the stakeholders.
  4. PRIORITIZATION OF ASSETS – Prioritize assets based on condition assessment and criticality by developing a risk assessment matrix comparing likelihood of failure versus consequence of failure to prioritize assets and to visualize the state of the community’s assets.
  5. LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYSIS (LCCA) – Analyze life cycle costs of each asset including capital costs, operating costs (including energy costs for all vertical assets) and maintenance costs for the life of the assets.
  6. FUNDING STRATEGY – Identify a funding strategy for asset maintenance and replacement that identifies the current day value of the assets as well as defines the need for increased revenue over time for the long-term management of the assets.
  7. CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT INVESTMENT PLAN (CIIP) – A summary of findings on asset condition and need for replacement should be used to develop a CIIP so the community can schedule repairs and replacements in a logical manner while managing the financial impacts to the community.
  8. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN – Develop an implementation plan that describes how the community will continue to maintain and use the asset management program and how the community will incorporate energy and water conservation into day to day operations.
  9. COMMUNICATION PLAN – Prepare a communication plan using the most effective methods to communicate to stakeholders the benefits of the asset management program and its capabilities.

To learn out more about the Asset Management services we provide to our clients please contact Joe Ducharme, Jr., PE, Regional Manager for our Northeast Municipal Engineering Group.