Organizations can use maintenance history assessment, visual inspection, monitoring, and condition assessment to determine and gain insights regarding the level of asset deterioration to assess likelihood of asset failure. Generally, the cost to assess likelihood of asset failure increases from CMMS maintenance history inspection (clustering, frequency, and costs analysis of unplanned maintenance) and visual inspection (routine maintenance, SCADA interface, etc.), to non-destructive and destructive condition assessment.

The consequence of asset failure (or criticality) can be determined using subjective-based criteria such as usage (e.g., hospital) or determined by using GIS and other analytical tools (e.g., a water main servicing a large area without redundancy or located under major transportation routes) to rate the overall impact of the failure based on the impacts to local government, customers, and the community.

GIS-centric AMS is a cost-effective approach that helps decision makers balance risk and cost. Risk takes into consideration the likelihood and consequence of the asset failing. In fact, many assets are low-risk assets. Cityworks GIScentric AMS provides out-of-the-box inspection and monitoring tools (e.g., maintenance history and routine inspections) that are appropriate to assess likelihood of failure for many assets. Non-destructive testing and destructive testing can be expensive when used on a large number of assets, but can be very effective when focused on prioritized high-risk assets, where the consequence and/or likelihood of failure are high. Cityworks GIS-centric AMS provides out-of-the-box condition assessment tools and interfaces to many third-party condition assessment tools, including age-based assessment tools, useful for accomplishing all of the goals of an EAM plan.

Some organizations may be tempted to take an “easy button” approach to asset management and rely heavily on simple age-based condition assessment, from which an asset replacement program and cost projections are derived. Condition assessment based solely on age provides the “scary number,” which can be useful to build support for an overall EAM plan but if funded could require unacceptable increases in taxes and users’ rates. The “scary number” should never be funded. Age-based condition assessment can be used along with other tools in an overall EAM plan or strategy. However, when used solely as the basis for an asset management plan, age-based condition assessment assumptions can result in misleading EAM projections to replace many perfectly good assets that have useful remaining life, thereby overstating operating and capital cost used for financial planning and budgeting.

Cityworks GIS-centric AMS provides the foundation of a sensible and cost effective condition assessment approach. Robust asset maintenance history built over time and stored in Cityworks provides a predictive standard for when similar assets may fail and how assets typically fare in the given region, climate, and other important local factors. For many assets, the clustering, frequency, and costs of unplanned maintenance activities alone – analyzed and visualized using ArcGIS tools – provide enough evidence to make an intelligent investment decision of when, where, and how maintenance and rehabilitation should take place. Often, unique attributes (or characteristics) of the asset stored in the geodatabase (such as type and the contractor) contribute more insight than age or expected life as to likelihood of failure. For high-risk assets, maintenance history and ArcGIS analytical tools can provide insight and prioritization for where to utilize limited budgets for increased inspection, monitoring, and condition assessment.