Managing vast amounts of critical infrastructure and capital assets is a challenging task for many public works departments. The City of Kitchener recently applied maintenance scores that improve project planning and prioritization by classifying the importance of infrastructure maintenance and asset upgrades. Utilizing the Cityworks Suite, a score is applied to every work order. A score is assigned based on the consequences of work not being performed. Additionally, the City applied a script to past work orders dating back to 2010 to gain a broader and cumulative perspective to include historic calls and work activities. Over time, this technique visualizes the location of similar and reoccurring work orders, providing crucial historical context that gives the City a holistic understanding of its infrastructure, which enhances asset maintenance and management.

Maintenance scores leverage data to help determine an asset’s life cycle and plan for long-term capital expenditures. As specific asset scores rise, management can adopt a proactive approach by understanding where preventative maintenance is needed and prioritize projects accordingly. Because maintenance scores help identify issues before they escalate, cities are less likely to encounter emergency infrastructure issues that can be costly and a drain on both capital and labor resources. It is far less costly to perform timely repairs than after a catastrophic failure. As well, visualizing work activities that are continually carried out in a certain area can increase efficiency when preventative maintenance can be performed in conjunction with other repair work.

For example, a blockage in a sewer pipe causing a back-up will receive a high score, which will be represented by a heat bubble on the map. Usually this would be a reactionary service call and crews would be sent out to repair. If the same area receives more calls for the same type of problem, management can be notified to take a closer look at the underlying causes. It may be determined that tree roots are penetrating older pipes, leading to repeated blockages. Identifying pipe degradation sooner can lead to more strategic decision making where pipe replacement can be combined with other repair or maintenance work required in that area.

The City of Kitchener uses maintenance scoring to sell the value of proposed preventative projects when compared to the time and costs associated with repeated repairs. The City is using the technology to monitor infrastructure, including sewers, water and gas piping, as well as connections and facilities. Looking forward to the mobile capabilities of Cityworks, the City will be implementing condition scoring where crews can report asset conditions in the field to help determine the best action plan for maintenance or replacement. The City also plans to extend the mobile functionality to track the conditions of roads, parks, trees, and signs.

“Adopting maintenance scoring with Cityworks has allowed us to make better data-driven decisions,” said, Jason Winter, manager, Support Services & Business Systems, City of Kitchener. “The data lends itself extremely well for analysis and visualization in a GIS environment. It provides a more holistic picture of an asset lifecycle to help better manage and plan for long-term asset maintenance, repair, and replacement.”

Barry Kelly, Public Works Industry Manager, Esri Canada


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