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The Importance of Asset Registers as a Decision-Making Tool

Martin Choo • 27/11/2019
In many of the projects we manage, we have observed that building owners lack an asset register listing all the fixed/physical assets they own. Asset registers are essential decision-making tools for investors. These are often found lacking – incomplete, inaccurate, or not up-to-date.

When building owners do not keep proper documentation of the Asset List, they do not know what they have in their building, as well as not knowing what to do with what they do have. This can become a challenge for them in a longer term. For example, if building owners do not know when a major repair is completed on a certain critical asset or piece of equipment serving a critical area (say a server room), they would not know how and when they should overhaul or retire that equipment. Or if they do not know the operating conditions the asset is subjected to, they might not know what level of maintenance to apply suitably.

Having a complete asset register allows building owners to conduct site validations accurately to ensure that defects and potential risks are identified correctly and the right solutions prescribed. This can also help clients make informed decisions about their assets, including whether to divest, to sell, or to enhance the asset. If an enhancement decision is made, a complete register can accurately prescribe the scope of the enhancement, including which facility or site needs to be enhanced and which asset in a portfolio needs to be prioritized for asset enhancement.

These steps could save building owners money, minimise risk, reduce cost, and optimise performance. Some building owners have partnered with both FM service providers and software or platform providers to speed up the process of collecting and organising data, in order to sharpen the organisation and analysis of asset data sets.

Technology is an enabler in this respect. Building Information Modelling (or BIM) is a process that begins with the creation of an intelligent 3D model and enables document management, coordination, and simulation during the entire lifecycle of a project from plan, design, construction through to operation and maintenance. It not only allows design and construction teams to work more efficiently, but it allows them to capture the data they create during the process to benefit operations and maintenance activities.

There is another benefit to having accurate and well-organised asset information. First and foremost, it informs the building owners what they have in their buildings at a glance so that the right spare parts can be stocked. Secondly, asset registers can be used to perform health checks, technical due diligence (TDD), life cycle cost analysis (LCC), CAPEX repair and replacement (R&R) planning, and even operational and maintenance (O&M) review.

More importantly, with accurate and well-organised asset information, we can help building owners conduct risk assessment, resilience studies, and cost analysis towards operational excellence over 5, 10, or 15 years of the lifespan of the building, equipment, and assets. This could help to maintain or even elevate the value of not just the assets or properties but the entire portfolio.

Over several years we have helped The Ascott Limited conduct technical due diligence and risk assessment both in Singapore and the region before they make any decision to invest in a property they wish to operate. We gather all asset information, conduct asset conditions inspection on site, scrutinize all the related risks and compliances, as well as highlight to the client any potential “pit-falls” ahead of their investment. We have also delivered similar services to the likes of the Ministry of Health (Public Hospitals & Institutions) and the Ministry of Education (School of the Arts).

Due to the advancement and accessibility of technology and other solutions, the way we do many things in the next couple of years is going to improve. Asset information will be better “warehoused” and buildings will operate more efficiently and perform better. With asset intelligence, asset management including property management and facilities management will be a less reactive process and more predictive in nature.

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