Infrastructure revolves around accountability of finance and smart maintenance. Asset owners are shifting maintenance risks from management contracts to asset managers. A miscalculation can have serious financial implications. Monitoring multiple cash flows and information on cost of ownership are challenges for which it is vital to find an effective solution.
Roads, waterways, railways and strategic hubs are funded through a variety of cash flows. The operator must account for whose funds are used for what purpose. This must be organised through professional project management and provide information on the resources and time used.
Governance as an elusive factor
Governance is the elusive factor in any infrastructural project. The number of stakeholders involved is substantial: government authorities, coordinating organisations, investment companies, businesses and other parties involved all have their own interests. The fact that these interests do not always match is a given. Integrated project and asset management creates room to manage this.
Key factors for maintenance contracts include:
- Accountability towards different financiers;
- Type of long-term performance contract;
- Information on cost of ownership;
- Condition-based maintenance.
Shift toward integrated tenders
The largest shift in the world of infrastructure is the integrated procurement of new construction and management processes. Through long-term contracts, asset owners delegate their accountability of availability to the asset manager. If the infrastructure is no longer operational due to accident or technical failure, the clock starts ticking. If the asset manager fails to solve the problems in time, they can expect to be fined. This means a miscalculation of maintenance expenses and related work is potentially disastrous.
Information on cost of ownership
The transition to smart management calls for access to information on the total cost of ownership (TCO). This drives businesses to reassess the resources used and implement condition-based maintenance. An effective maintenance plan evaluates and categorises the assets and defines what measures must be taken on this basis. The analysis of data relating to similar critical assets helps to substantiate future decisions. In addition, just-in-time maintenance can help to further reduce the total cost of ownership.
Extension of aging infrastructure
The focus in The Netherlands is on the maintenance and extension of existing infrastructure. Intelligent systems facilitate smart asset management. These systems translate information generated by sensors into action, simplify maintenance requests, and manage the registration process all the way from the first report through to resolution. Those smart enough to invest in this help to improve the competitive position of their city, region or country.