Data and Knowledge

This element looks at:

  • the data and knowledge about the organization's assets and their performance
  • the forms the data takes within the organization
  • its availability or usefulness to the organization.

The assessment process divides the data structure into three groups:

  • Primary data (registry, location, valuation and physical attribute data)
  • Secondary data (maintenance, condition, detailed attributes, basic performance, failure mode data)
  • Tertiary data (advanced-analytics oriented data to support ORDM).

Primary Data

Primary data covers:

Asset Categories

The way the asset data is classified into meaningful groupings of assets and the usefulness of the data for asset management. The categories need to match the outputs (reports, analysis) required to properly manage the assets.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization has a clear and useful asset categorization policy defining the types of the assets that they own.

Hierarchical Structure and Level

The level of asset categories at which data is available and accurate.

This level should be appropriate from the maintenance managed item (MMI) perspective. How does the organization match the MMI to the asset types and performance required?

Best appropriate practice includes:

For each category or sub category of assets, the organization has clearly defined the hierarchal structure within the service delivery system, including the level at which maintenance managed items will be recorded (for example, the level of maintenance work order).

This hierarchical structure and the MMI level is suitable for the assets such that costing, performance, renewal strategy and analysis can be recorded.

The organization has a data standard, which specifies all the data required and shows the typical data flows for its asset portfolios.

Location / Plans (Spatial Data)

How the organization locates and identifies an asset.

Where GIS systems are involved, the location is assessed from a spatial electronic perspective.

How the plans are stored and maintained.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization has a CAD, GIS or similar digital spatial system for recording facility plans and details of complex assets.

Older assets have been transferred into this system using scanning techniques, with enough diagrams for effective management of the asset. This especially applies to control and electrical diagrams as well as civil and architectural details. The balance of older drawings are linked by drawing library reference.

For distributed network assets such as collection system infrastructure, there is a geographical information system in which all assets can be located and identified to the point where there is a benefit in such accuracy.

The location information is linked to the asset register for asset attributes and other data.

The assets are linked to customers via the customer management or billing application.

Primary Physical Asset Attributes

The quality of the data available in the basic physical parameters.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization s basic corporate attribute data on all assets down to the MMI level.

For some more specialist assets, the organization holds additional attribute data including manufacturing details and performance information.

Valuation Data

This relates to the data necessary to produce an accurate valuation of assets. It involves the physical quantities and appropriate unit rates that reflect the asset type.

In the case of marketable assets, it relates to the data used to derive the "market value".

Secondary Data

Secondary data covers:

Detailed Attribute Data

This element assesses the quality and availability of the secondary and tertiary priority data on the assets, including manufacturing details or other relevant spare parts data.

Condition and Performance Data

The relative condition assessment information that is available at various hierarchical levels of assets. How this data is graded to provide appropriate intervention and risk reduction strategies.

It looks at how the technical integrity and user's perspectives are measured and recorded.

Best appropriate practice includes:

Current and accurate condition data is held on all assets and components.

Depending on the criticality, type, and age of the asset the organization will hold a variety of condition assessments including:

  • Basic
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced.

The condition data is improved through these levels of confidence using:

  • Average effective lines
  • Lives distributed in accordance with typical decay data
  • Sample analysis using detailed condition assessments
  • Verification by detailed assessment.

The condition assessment process will include a risk-based actuarial technique that produces the required statistical and decision-related confidence levels.

Maintenance Data

The quality of the data available:

  • Primary cause of failure
  • Mode of failure:
    • Capacity/Availability/Demand
    • Performance/Levels of Service
    • Physical Mortality/Reliability
    • Effective Cost.
  • Activities or procedures used to overcome failure
  • Impacts or the consequences of failure.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization has data on the performance of these assets and components, so that links can be made between the mode of failure and the impact on customers for all service standards.

Operations/Failure Management Data

How the organization stores operational performance data and its failure management plans- emergency response data and knowledge.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization holds data on all assets to indicate the most likely failure mode, eg capacity, performance, reliability, or high cost.

The maintenance management system and other databases contain data on the probability of failure, either known (historic) or predicted for the assets.

Residual Life Data

How the organization determines the residual or remaining life (including effective or useful life) of an asset component and how this maybe aggregated up to a higher level (weighted effective life).

It looks at the way physical, condition and performance data is used to determine the life.

Works / Resource Management Data

The data available about job management activities including prioritization and workforce details.

Best appropriate practice includes:

Works or resource management data includes:

  • Labor
  • Contractors
  • Plant and equipment
  • Materials and spare parts.

This data is held on standard work orders, together with the timing, scheduling, and priority of the work concerned.

These data allow the organization to balance and prioritize its work.

Tertiary Data

Tertiary data covers:

Risk Assessment & Reduction

The data available to identify the consequence of failure of the assets including:

  • Type of risk
  • Direct costs
  • Repair
  • Damage
  • Loss of product
  • Safety/injury
  • Environmental damage
  • Impact on customers and other associated issues.

It considers the data used or available on the probability of failure and the ultimate application of risk cost to renewal decision-making (ORDM).

Each of these consequences needs to be related to the business risks involved.

It also assesses the availability of cost data for:

  • Risk reduction options
  • Life extension options.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization holds enough data on the key risk drivers of its assets to determine an optimized condition-monitoring program. This data should allow actuarial sampling techniques to derive an appropriate level of confidence.

The organization carries information on the consequence of failure, broken up into the key cost drivers, which will allow it to identify the most appropriate risk reduction strategies.

Cost Histories

The cost histories that are available on maintenance, operations, renewal and the original creation cost.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The information systems hold data that provides long term cost histories and projections of future costs.

Intervention Options and Costs

The records that are held on costs for standard procedures, activities and rehabilitation techniques.

They allow analysts to determine the most appropriate long-term life cycle cost approach.

Optimized Renewal Decision Making

The data available on current strategies for individual asset renewals.

With changing technology, this data will need to be updated at regular intervals and new strategies be developed for individual assets.

This assessment looks at how the organization continually refines and updates this data.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization holds data on the estimated cost of risk-reduction strategy options and optimized renewal type options. This data should be capable of producing accurate renewal and investment estimates.

Life Cycle Costs

This assesses the availability of life cycle cost data. In most cases this is derived from different sources, but data such as net present value and price indices needs to be created and stored.

The organization holds data on all planned and unplanned work orders including:

  • Type of activity or procedure
  • Total cost
  • Primary cause of failure
  • Secondary cause of failure
  • Impact on customers (if any).

Best appropriate practice includes:

There is enough data and it is easily retrievable from archives to allow full life cycle costs to be developed.


Case Studies Australia

You May Have More Data Than You Think - and More Than You Want

A “data source” for an asset class is simply the number of distinct locations that contain information about the asset. These are mainly electronic (databases, application software etc) but also include hardcopy systems.

“Attributes” are the different types of data we like to record about an asset, physical, financial, historical, political etc. Thus roads may have 10 different data sources, and 25 different attributes that we want/need to record.

Booroondara Council in Victoria decided to audit their data. Before the audit, they had been advised that there were 27 data sources – the audit found 403!

Maintenance Contracts Increase Information Flow and Quality

BP Oil (NZ) Retail Division reduced from two pump maintenance suppliers to one.

In return the contractor not only maintains the pumps but also provides information on exactly what pumps exist in the different locations, their make, model, age, condition and maintenance activity.

This information is now provided weekly, on computer disc, to the BP main office for use in deciding which pumps are the most efficient and which should therefore be chosen when deciding on new pumps.

This information is a costless spin-off from the maintenance activity. The relationship had proven so successful that it was extended to include signage.

Data Maintenance is Boring!

“I established the city’s main database, but keeping it up-to-date and quality controlled is a problem. This is not a financial problem - we have the budget; rather it is a people problem - the technicians or students assigned to updating data get easily bored as it is a very tedious job. Because of this, it requires a lot of time to perform quality control checks to ensure quality data.

I used to do quality checks, but no more. The reason for this is that I notice that senior management has little appreciation for the work, so why in the world should I spend my time doing something that is time-consuming and not appreciated? After all, I am an engineer who likes to optimize operations. Why not optimize my time!”

(From an email by an engineer who had won awards for the brilliance of his database design.)

What can we learn from this?

If senior management is not committed to asset management it will eventually fail and all our efforts will be wasted. It is vital that we win the hearts and minds of management for without them even award winning staff will give up.

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