Asset Management vs. Asset Resources

Last Modified: Jan 17, 2012


  • George Freiberg - Hazen and Sawyer

Over the years most water and wastewater utilities have developed some form of asset management approach from the implementation of new and highly sophisticated risk management models, online performance monitoring and specialized planning committees to refinement, updating and integration of existing maintenance management and capital improvement planning programs.

Regardless of theoretical approach taken to protect, extend and prioritize planning for asset repair and replacement, do utilities have sufficient resources to implement what is put to paper, especially in terms of ongoing maintenance of critical and valued assets?

This paper will discuss a specific, objective approach called Zero Based Maintenance Staffing Projections, which can be used to estimate maintenance trade staffing levels that are necessary to effectively implement and sustain all maintenance task requirements associated with a defined asset and maintenance management program. In summary, the approach includes a detailed assessment of Preventative Maintenance (PM) tasks for each major discipline such as mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and control, heating/ventilation/ air conditioning, etc. Estimated time is then developed to complete each task followed by the application of various availability (total annual hours available to work per employee) and utilization factors (total time available less inherent inefficiencies such as travel time, setup time, troubleshooting, etc).

Once PM tasks and total time estimates per maintenance trade are determined, Corrective Maintenance (CM) staffing level are then estimated by applying various work level ratios (PM/CM estimates) along with estimated CM utilization factors. The end results provide utility management with an updated, objective assessment of equipment maintenance task needs and associated maintenance trade staffing levels. This process can be considered for developing staffing plans for new or expanded facilities that have minimal or no maintenance histories or for reviewing and updating the needs of existing facilities.

For a copy of the paper, please contact the author at

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