Consultancy in asset management
Large infrastructure companies, such as railways, water companies and other utilities,
typically have many thousands of assets. Managing, maintaining and renewing such a large
asset base is challenging. Since the time of the privatisation of the water industry in the UK,
I have been providing statistical consultancy on development of asset management plans.
I created the software package ABLE through a contract with eight different
water companies. I have since been involved in applications to railways, and in
extending the aproach to whole-life costing.
In the UK water industry, I have worked for most of the 'big ten' water and sewerage
companies, including Thames Water, Anglian Water, Yorkshire Water and South West Water,
as well as some of the smaller companies.
I have also worked for Railtrack, the London Underground and other railway operators,
and alongside major engineering management consultancies such as W S Atkins, Kellogg Brown & Root
and MWH. My work on the ESTEEM project at London Underground has helped them to win a prestigious
award for innovation in asset
The kind of asset management planning that I have been involved with concerns estimating
the need for (and the cost of) maintenance, renewal and replacement of large systems of
physical assets. For companies with large infrastucture of this kind, the development
of an asset management plan is an expensive and time-consuming task. To get a high
quality assessment of the investment need for a single asset can cost thousands of
pounds, so to do this for many thousands of assets in impractical. The usual approach
is to carry out detailed studies of this kind on just a sample of assets. Nevertheless,
the high variability between assets means that quite large samples are needed to achieve any kind of
accurate planning. The ABLE approach entails the combination of a few high-quality studies
with many lower-level judgements. It is a very flexible framework, and can produce
great reductions in the number of detailed studies required. As the original developer
of this approach and its most experienced practitioner, I can offer a unique level
A familiar challenge in deciding on asset management strategies is to judge the impact of
different intensities of maintenance on reducing asset failures. If, for instance,
a water company were to replace 10% of its water mains, how much would this reduce
the incidence of burst mains? The answer clearly depends on how well they can target
their replacements at the pipes most likely to fail in the near future, and this is
itself a major challenge. I have developed methods to estimate failure rates of assets,
identify optimal selections of assets for improvement, and quantify the resultant
improvement in performance. The Bayesian methods involved represent a unique and
powerful approach to these challenges.
I am happy to consult on these or other problems in asset management planning.
Updated: 18 January2017
Maintained by: Tony O'Hagan