Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery

Sustainable service delivery through an iterative asset management process

What 

Sustainable service delivery ensures that current community service needs, and how those services are delivered (in a socially, economically and environmentally responsible manner) do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sound asset management practices support sustainable service delivery by considering community priorities, informed by an understanding of the trade-offs between available resources and the desired services.

Infrastructure represents a significant investment for every local government. A formal approach to the management of infrastructure assets is essential to support making informed decisions, to provide services in the most cost-effective manner over the entire asset life cycle, and to demonstrate stewardship to customers, investors and other stakeholders.

Asset management is an ongoing, iterative process or approach, not a one-time project. It is holistic and integrated. Asset management is about generating value and sustainable service delivery. Applying asset management best practices ensures that infrastructure continues to provide sustainable and economically viable levels of service.
 
These best practices profile and reinforce that: 
  • Community infrastructure is a foundation of sustained and growing economic and social development.
  • Infrastructure is critical to meeting recreational, institutional, cultural and other needs of the community.
  • Properly built and effectively maintained infrastructure supports public health and safety, and mitigates potential adverse environmental impacts.
  • Financial sustainability requires strong connections between long term infrastructure investment needs and long term funding plans. 
  • Well-informed decisions contribute to achieving the goals of the community, while balancing the financial capacity of current and future generations.
In order to achieve sustainable service delivery through the asset management process, it is important to account for all ‘assets’ that are used to deliver community services. This includes natural assets such as water, land and vegetation. These assets not only provide services by themselves, but are also leveraged to support services such as drinking water, wastewater and rainwater/storm water services.
 
Another important element within the asset management process is understanding and managing risk. Climate change is a significant risk to many of the critical services delivered by local governments.
 
Climate change and climate change activities/actions must be considered while managing both physical and natural assets, as well as ensuring (or improving) the level of service being delivered.

How

Asset Management for Sustainable Service Delivery: A BC Framework (the Framework) establishes a high-level, systematic approach that supports local governments in moving toward service, asset and financial sustainability through an asset management process.
 
The Framework addresses:
  1. Why asset management is necessary?
  2. What asset management is?
  3. How asset management can be implemented?
The Framework is based on the graphic to the left. It recognizes there are many components to asset management and provides a circular, continuous pathway to link all components of the process together. The circular nature emphasizes that the process is on-going and requires continuous review and improvement.
 
The Framework has been developed to reflect current international best practices (International Infrastructure Management Manual and the ISO 55000, ISO 55001 and ISO 55002 Standards for Asset Management). 
 
The Framework recognizes the diversity of BC’s communities, and that asset management, and the best practices that support asset management, must be scalable to community size, character and capacity. 
 
Both asset management and climate change action benefit from a holistic and integrated approach – an approach where goals and objectives can be aligned. Local governments need to manage community infrastructure assets in preparation for a changing climate.
 
A changing climate will affect precipitation, sea-level rise and increase flooding – environmental factors that will impact many services that local governments deliver such as; drinking water systems, wastewater systems, rain/storm water systems, dykes/flood control, transportation systems, parks and recreation.
 
Energy Savings/GHG reductions: 
Asset management and sustainable service delivery consider life-cycle costs, which include the costs of operating and maintaining infrastructure and supports demand management (water conservation) as well as utilizing/leveraging natural assets to provide community services such as rain/storm water management. Both reduce operating costs, defer or eliminate the need for additional infrastructure, and support mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
 
Asset management can help mitigate the effects of climate change through planning and implementation of active transportation systems, green civic facilities and lower-emissions fleet vehicles that reduce GHG emissions.  

Business Case

The implications of climate change need to be considered while assessing assets and analyzing true costs of long-term service delivery. A holistic understanding of the long-term costs of providing services and the infrastructure required is a critical element of asset management. Lower total lifecycle costs are a benefit to this approach.

Costs

There is no cost directly associated with the Framework or its use and/or implementation. Because of the scalability and flexibility in its design, limited financial resources should not be a deterrent in moving forward with the Framework (asset management). However, there will be a commitment needed, particularly at the staff level and resourcing will be required over time.

Co-Benefits

Proactive asset management that integrates climate mitigation and adaption considerations will yield fewer service disruptions and more predictable results than a reactive approach to repair and replacement.  

Related Tools

Community Examples

Town of Gibsons' new Eco-Asset Strategy: www.gibsons.ca/eco-assets

CARIP category

  • Broad Planning
 

 

Tool: