Tag Archives: asset survey

Why use Asset Surveyor for your physical assets?

Why use us is a common question and often it comes back to who they used before. Rogue surveyors with little or no experience have been a problem in the industry often being hired due to price.

Yet it has been proven counter productive when we are hired to redo everything they have done due to poor quality and incomplete asset data collecting. The initial saving on the rates of the rogue contractor are lost as they are often disappearing into the sunset after payment is already made.

With ourselves we have a structured Asset Integrity Framework. You know exactly what we are doing and when. You can gain access to your data on a daily or weekly basis not awaiting a contractor to provide it to you several months later.

We partner with you to make sure you get the right outputs and objectives from your surveys. We are in Facilities and assets for the long-term and continue to develop our strategy, software and technology to evolve with the industry and pioneer new developments.

Another important factor is as as  contractor we have worked with many of the large Facilities Management companies as well as the majority of Asset Surveying companies in the UK. If you are looking for a cost saving as well as receiving the same or improved standard of surveying take into account that working with us directly removes a layer of expense. As well as giving peace of mind knowing we have been in Facilities for over 25 years and experience of surveying for over a decade with some of the largest organisations within the UK and globally.

Beginning an asset survey– What are your objectives (Site Manager(s) ).

Objectives for Asset Survey

The first thing you should look at is the objective of the survey. I have seen for years many companies and people seeing it as simply a process they need to do because they were told.

This isn’t the case and its further down the line they realise that more attention should have been taken at the beginning. This guide will step you through each part of a survey and what you should look to do to achieve the goals needed to make your survey a success.

What is your primary objectives?

  • Obtain an asset list that can generate a full PPM planner.
  • Obtain an asset list that can be cross referenced for compliance.
  • An asset list that can be cross referenced to budget costs.
  • An asset list that can output the labour force quantity and skill types.
  • Identify all critical plant equipment for running the site(s) .
  • Identify all business critical assets and grade maintenance accordingly.
  • Create a knowledge base of assets to identify parts required for repairs.
  • Create a forward planning maintenance program.
  • Barcode assets for easier identification and “scanned” maintenance.
  • Value a contract to confirm that it is viable.
  • Identify equipment, plant and sites that are in and out of scope.
  • Identify business risk.

This list isn’t exhaustive but the key elements above should be the minimum your looking to create. Although you may decide that you have 2 years left on a contract and don’t want a forward maintenance and replacement program. But simply “red flagging” of assets likely to fail before the contract ends.

Engaging with senior management prior to the survey beginning can assist in ironing out any issues before they occur. Also clarifying what is agreed and how it will be carried out and by whom. This also allows the onsite management to put forward ideas and strategies for the survey that may also be utilised on other sites.

Engagement with the surveyors and their management is also paramount to a successful survey. Although senior management have agreed a survey will be carried out confirmation of expectations, scope and terms of reference are extremely important before the survey begins. Also for access requirements, passes, parking etc. to make the most of the surveyors while onsite.

Many surveys are “task based” with low engagement where an external company may be hired by senior management with low to no engagement with onsite management. This creates a divide that does not assist any parties involved. Senior management often have a different objective to those on the ground e.g. confirmation of bid price. Often pushing a strained budget to “just get it done”, while the onsite teams may feel they will not get the quality required to operate the site after the dust has settled. While the surveyors may take direction from offsite management within their company.

Which is why collaboration between all parties is extremely important to have everyone pull in the same direction. Where surveys fail are normally caused by the following :-

  • Poor access issues.
  • Poor planning – Change of scope, assets to be collected etc. mid survey.
  • Poor budgeting with unrealistic targets – Instead of downsizing the data capture pressure is added to get the surveyors to finish quicker. The end result is a poor survey with a lack of detail and risk of mistakes.
  • Unrealistic time frame – One of the most common problems and a survey that wasn’t completed properly 7 years ago in 6 weeks. Doesn’t mean that you can get a new survey completed in 4 weeks. Analysis of the previous survey should have had a lessons learned. If not I recommend speaking to anyone who is still available from the initial survey to find out what went wrong.
  • Collecting wrong assets – This gets back to planning on what you should be collecting before the survey begins. But often its not clarified and as such can create inconsistent data and extend the timeframe of a survey.

These are a few pointers to get managers thinking about what they need to aim for when a survey will be taking place on their site(s).

Asset / Condition Surveying App

 

The new App we have produced pretty much does everything you would want from a survey from software. After surveying myself for nearly a decade I can understand the frustrations of poorly thought out or programmed software. Part of that problem normally comes from the developers not actually “surveying”. As such what they see as logical and easy can be awkward and time consuming for a surveyor.

Even taking a photograph takes time which is why I tell people to assess if they actually need the photos in the first place. With a camera on a recent contract it could take as long as a minute. This was down to a delay in the camera starting up, delay for flash to charge, delay for the camera to store the photo. Then transferring a photo number to paper and then adding to a spreadsheet later. Doesn’t sound a big issue to just “take a photo”, but when you add  that photo to 2000 assets that is 33.5 hours just to take those photos. Which is why I always ask the question “what is the added value?”.

So with that in mind and many other issues as you can see from the App it already has most of the problems solved. The rest come from adjusting your choices of data collection and methodical working. As the data collection of this App simplifies everything else.

Condition surveys

We carry out condition surveys on all buildings, primarily for Mechanical and Electrical equipment. Although we have carried out condition surveys for housing association stock previously and “Fabric” of commercial buildings.

What is the advantage of a condition survey? The first thing you will receive is a status of your assets. E.g. you may have an air handling unit in very good condition but the maintenance on its motors have been run to fail. As such the condition of the motors is in a far worse state than the air handling unit they serve. Highlighting this issue allows you to pre-plan replacements or take a look at your maintenance regime to see if you need to improve maintenance.

The important thing here though is you get a better overall perspective of all your assets and equipment on site. As a Facilities Manager this could mean approaching your client and explaining that some maintenance needs improving and more investment. As a client you can pass judgement on if that investment is required or should you continue with running things as they currently are.

The 2008 recession seen a lot of maintenance cutbacks and they are beginning to show in equipment in recent years. As such I highly recommend getting a condition survey if you are unsure of the condition and what assets you currently have. Adding to this if you have a full asset survey undertaken with condition and age you can build a forward maintenance program for the upcoming years.

Asset Surveyors available.

As an asset surveyor and lead I have worked in the industry for almost a decade. As well as having over 20 years experience in the Facilities Management and maintenance industry.

We have experience and knowledge that has evolved over the years from data collection for confirming bids and contract values to :-

  • Lifecycle.
  • Compliance.
  • PPM regimes based on FSG20.
  • Identifying staffing levels required on contract.
  • Barcoding for easy identification of assets.
  • Site auditing for logbooks, maintenance and compliance.
  • ESOS – (Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme).
  • TM44 – Inspection of air conditioning services.
  • Confirmation of maintenance regime inline with O+M from manufacturer.

With experience in the Middle East, Asia and the United Kingdom myself and associated surveyors can offer services of high quality and consistency throughout. As well as support services if so required.

All surveyors have a minimum of 5 years experience within asset surveying as well as backed with over a minimum of 10 years Mechanical and electrical knowledge.

Telephone UK : +441213189630 | Telephone Spain : +34693100715

Asset Verification Surveying In Qatar.

The most recent of clients has seen myself currently out in Qatar pretty much covering everything from accommodation and office buildings to buildings relating to oil and gas processing.

Matt Wilkie in Downtown Doha,Qatar

 

One of the things when asset surveying for verification you start to pick up a lot of things either missed or not in the system for various reasons. But even so still need to be logged even if removed at a later date.

Primarily because if its on the data collection it can be questioned and then added, removed or retained for the project. Each decision has an impact on cost depending on how its handled.

Adding to that even if the client’s list is 100% accurate and everything they say they have is there you have to analyse and compare for the length of contract type. For example if its all inclusive for 5 years will the equipment last that long? Are there spares or replacements that will need to be budgeted for? What type of maintenance regime is being used?

Because every contract I have worked on has always involved some jiggling be it pricing, moving of assets to different budgets or removing or adding of equipment. Which is why gathering the correct data and making sure you have as much of it as possible even if it seems a little irrelevant sometimes is worth the effort if you have the time.

Sometimes there is only time for a specific task e.g. just confirming things are there which I advise making clear to whoever your client is that this is all that will be carried out due to time restraints. Because if you see something e.g. 10 brand new Chiller units replacing 5 old ones due to a company expansion you may flag up that there is new units and an additional building but time for getting all the information such as serial numbers etc. you may not be able to do.

I do enjoy this type of work and also interesting travelling to different countries as you get to see the variance in standards, equipment and the affects of specific regional weather on equipment. E.g. a regular sand blasting in the deserts doesn’t do air conditioning any good and does affect their life considerably. At the same time another area can be heavily affected by sea air causing corrosion of a different kind with the same result. But the timeframes of damage are different which is why I enjoy understanding the differences and how these impact on equipment. Because lets face it a manufacturers guidelines etc. will often not cover these issues due to harsh environments taking things out of scope and warranty.

Can outsourcing help with asset surveying?

Question should be where can outsourcing help with asset surveying. Fact is the Philippines is the number one  for BPO (business processing outsourcing) currently on the planet.

Its not going to change anytime soon and in fact when I am not working as an asset surveyor I live out in the Philippines myself. Part of that has made me look at the outsourcing industry myself as a viable assistance to asset surveying.

Its not a case of taking jobs from the UK but adding a Swiss army knife of skills to the mix that are often difficult to get on short-term contracts due to the intensive training needed to teach people to do things like processing the data gathered.

Its why I started my own Philippines outsourcing business not only for others but also means that I can feed work back to my office from abroad. The staff I have are trained in Excel and data entry. They have learned the abbreviations and adaptable to poor hand writing and other problems that often occur when surveyors send data back in to an office.

How the system works is that a surveyor completes his day of data gathering, scans the documents and its emailed to the Philippines. The guys in the Philippines then work while the surveyors sleep due to the time difference. By the time the surveyors are awake yesterdays work is already processed and in their email inbox in Excel format.

Surprisingly simple but also a great way to save money on asset data collection as your fully aware of how much data has been gathered per day and just as importantly it can be analysed for mistakes daily.

Am I Obsessed With Asset Surveying?

Matt Wilkie Asset Surveyor

Ok I have to admit I love surveying but in general I enjoy doing any job well. What I find with asset surveying though is you can often take data as far as a client wants and beyond!

There is so much information that most people overlook simply because they haven’t gone so in depth for it or even more so important never asked people who know how to get the data what they want.

Being able to not only show true information that shows the cost of labour, number of employees needed, maintenance regimes depending on budget, manufacturers specification, company specifications or industry standards as well as many other variables you can show how much each thing affects the overall annual costs.

For example a if you took a manufacturers recommended maintenance for condensers on air conditioning units you would find it doesn’t come anywhere near that which is needed for desert conditions. Adapting the maintenance and showing the variables of if they increased maintenance, what to expect if they kept to manufacturers recommendations or went to a run to fail program. You could actually build 3 different scenario’s and show the annual costs and labour needed.

Because in reality sometimes it doesn’t make sense to maintain equipment beyond its expectations as it could simply be burning money which could instead be replacing units on a regular basis and reducing costs as well as improving efficiencies of the units.

Its partly why asset surveying appeals to me as you can find and show where a company can not only save money but predict where they will need to invest or maintain more. Getting the balance right helps keep companies producing and within realistic costing. The big issues these days is showing the viability of what we do as companies don’t often see the value until we are finished and showing figures.

I have been involved in the asset surveying myself for years as well as general surveying and building surveying. All in all though if your wanting a varied and interesting career I highly recommend surveying!

Asset Verification Surveyor

Matt Wilkie in Downtown Doha,Qatar

I am an asset verification surveyor and lead manager for asset surveying available for hire as a consultant. But I wanted to discuss today what is Asset Verification and how does this affect a contract.

Firstly I work within the FM industry (Facilities Management) which will often see that maintenance contracts arise and its all based on a set figure which can sometimes be picked out of the sky.

For asset verification though we actually spend time identifying what assets a client owns and the condition they are in. Doesn’t sound so exciting but the fact of the matter is from the information gathered you start to get an accurate value of the contract and the components that need maintaining or replacing.

All in all the asset surveying in the FM industry is a growing enterprise especially with companies looking to extend the life of equipment. Good maintenance will always equal longer life cycle of equipment and poor maintenance will always lead to unexpected and unplanned for breakdowns.

Its part of why I became so passionate about surveying as I can see its long reaching ability to help companies pre-plan upgrades and changes as well as keep on top of things for not only weeks or months but literally years. For the FM company they get a true picture of the value of the contract and both parties get to see the viability of the work and the staff and equipment needed to sustain the contract.

Why Do Housing Associations Carry Out Condition Surveys?

There are multiple reasons housing associations carry out condition surveys not only for incoming and outgoing tenants but also for new and old stock. Several of these key areas are explained below.

With old stock properties bathrooms, kitchens, windows, boilers not only have standards to adhere to for the home to be liveable but also legally have to be compliant with changes in regulations. For example you will find heating boilers have moved in many homes and this is primarily for safety to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Although most people in the general public don’t follow these strict guidelines and often unaware until their boiler breaks down, housing associations and other organisations in a position of trust and responsible for others will always have to adhere and often ahead of government changes.

Bathrooms and kitchens in ex services quarters are often well maintained but extremely old and outside of an acceptable standard for housing associations. So upon ownership transferal there is a need to rip out bathrooms, toilets and kitchens which normally have already seen a life of 35 years far beyond what is acceptable even if in good condition.

We have a standard that is nationally set and need to comply with it where possible. Even if we cannot carry out the repairs and upgrades at that time a program will be set for the replacements for the near future.

On hand overs between tenants though its often a different reason as tenants can and do change things without informing the housing association first. Many a property I have found walls missing, new kitchens, altered bathrooms etc. etc. All seems a good idea at the time by the tenants until they want to move out or exchange homes. The housing associations are often flexible in these types of situation as long as an acceptable standard has been met. Only issue normally comes around is when things need to be ripped out to be put back to fit for purpose e.g. a kitchen that has been fitted by a tenant that cannot be maintained by the housing association or that the tenants have made something dangerous.

All in all though the condition surveys carried out by housing associations are to the benefit of all parties to not only make sure the building is in a safe and liveable condition but also its maintained to a level that can be sustainable and often improved upon.