Asset Information Requirements & Asset Dictionaries

An Article by Iain Miskimmin

 

The key to asset information requirements is to define the metadata required to design, build, operate and maintain an asset throughout its lifecycle. 

 

This metadata needs to be relevant and be capable of answering the critical questions asked at each stage of the asset's lifecycle.

These questions are commonly known as “Plain Language Questions” and should be defined by those who will be involved at that stage of the lifecycle and not by one person throughout.

This Asset Data Dictionary (ADD) is populated by AD4’s (Asset Data Definition Dictionary Documents) each one will tell those working on the project, what information they are expected to generate, what form it comes in and when they need deliver it.

The term document is actually a little misleading, as it is in a sense a database to be populated, but keeping the concept easily understandable and communicable is important.

By now most of the people paying attention to the BIM world will have heard both the PDT and AD4 terms being bounded around.

Understandably there is confusion about them and worries that they are duplicating or wasting effort. In fact they fit together very well indeed and compliment what is required to deliver our digital assets and our better decisions.

In short:

“The AD4 describes what the information requirements are and the PDT provides the information to answer those needs”

Most of you will be aware of the “Asset Tag” concept, that the tag is a collection of information that helps define what it is, what it needs to do, what is it part of, what information is needed etc.

The blue side covers the AD4.

The green side that tells you what equipment, product or material will meet the requirements of the blue side is the PDT.

“When we look at a complete lifecycle, very rarely will we know what product, equipment or material will fulfil the requirement until we get to the construction phase.”

“When we are maintaining something, at some point we will get rid of that product and buy a new one based on the AD4 generated requirements, rather than replacing a like for like product.”

In summary the AD4 tells you what you need and the PDT ensures you get what you require!

The benefits from this are considerable on both sides of the contract line. Allowing the client to know what they are buying and the contractor to understand what they are supplying right from the very beginning. This helps to ensure the “end users” needs are complied with right from the beginning and that the price of information can be set in the contract.

The blue side covers the AD4.

The green side that tells you what equipment, product or material will meet the requirements of the blue side is the PDT.

“When we look at a complete lifecycle, very rarely will we know what product, equipment or material will fulfil the requirement until we get to the construction phase.”

“When we are maintaining something, at some point we will get rid of that product and buy a new one based on the AD4 generated requirements, rather than replacing a like for like product.”

In summary the AD4 tells you what you need and the PDT ensures you get what you require!

The benefits from this are considerable on both sides of the contract line. Allowing the client to know what they are buying and the contractor to understand what they are supplying right from the very beginning. This helps to ensure the “end users” needs are complied with right from the beginning and that the price of information can be set in the contract.

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If we have existing assets, then we need to know what we are looking for as we operate and maintain them. This might be simple things like are they performing to the functionality requirements for this asset, are we having to maintain them too often or are they consuming more oil, power etc than they should be?

This data formed from observations from our existing assets will be combined with political and financial information to help us create a strategy whether the asset needs upgrading, decommissioning, augmenting or replacing altogether.

If a contractor can base his price on known information requirements that are predictable then there is less chance of misunderstanding or commercial penalties.

In the concept stage, if the client can request through the ADD the information they require to decide on which options that are presented, they will have a better chance of meeting the economic, environmental and social targets that have been set in the strategy.

During the detail design, a clear picture of what is important to the client through the ADD can assist the designers deliver something that will be not only be constructible but be able to engage with the end user before a shovel has entered the ground.

It is really important that each and every member of the supply chain knows what information they are required to record and pass back up to the tier 1 contractor. An ADD open to all members of the team means that a consistency of data is received and federated into the Project Information Model. This allows a better quality of constructed product to be delivered both physically and virtually.

Note that a good proportion of this construction data is not relevant to the client and will just be archived rather than handed over.

 When it comes to handing over the information on how to both operate and maintain the asset the ADD would clearly define what is critical to these activities and ensure that this is the information that is in itself checked and maintained throughout the lifecycle of the asset.

As part of an internet of things, each asset must be monitored for performance and report on what will trigger maintenance activities and replacement criteria. The ADD will define the metadata for each asset down to the maintainable level which will allow this to happen.

If we have existing assets, then we need to know what we are looking for as we operate and maintain them. This might be simple things like are they performing to the functionality requirements for this asset, are we having to maintain them too often or are they consuming more oil, power etc than they should be?

This data formed from observations from our existing assets will be combined with political and financial information to help us create a strategy whether the asset needs upgrading, decommissioning, augmenting or replacing altogether.

If a contractor can base his price on known information requirements that are predictable then there is less chance of misunderstanding or commercial penalties.

In the concept stage, if the client can request through the ADD the information they require to decide on which options that are presented, they will have a better chance of meeting the economic, environmental and social targets that have been set in the strategy.

During the detail design, a clear picture of what is important to the client through the ADD can assist the designers deliver something that will be not only be constructible but be able to engage with the end user before a shovel has entered the ground.

It is really important that each and every member of the supply chain knows what information they are required to record and pass back up to the tier 1 contractor. An ADD open to all members of the team means that a consistency of data is received and federated into the Project Information Model. This allows a better quality of constructed product to be delivered both physically and virtually.

Note that a good proportion of this construction data is not relevant to the client and will just be archived rather than handed over.

 When it comes to handing over the information on how to both operate and maintain the asset the ADD would clearly define what is critical to these activities and ensure that this is the information that is in itself checked and maintained throughout the lifecycle of the asset.

As part of an internet of things, each asset must be monitored for performance and report on what will trigger maintenance activities and replacement criteria. The ADD will define the metadata for each asset down to the maintainable level which will allow this to happen.

If we have existing assets, then we need to know what we are looking for as we operate and maintain them. This might be simple things like are they performing to the functionality requirements for this asset, are we having to maintain them too often or are they consuming more oil, power etc than they should be?

This data formed from observations from our existing assets will be combined with political and financial information to help us create a strategy whether the asset needs upgrading, decommissioning, augmenting or replacing altogether.

If a contractor can base his price on known information requirements that are predictable then there is less chance of misunderstanding or commercial penalties.

In the concept stage, if the client can request through the ADD the information they require to decide on which options that are presented, they will have a better chance of meeting the economic, environmental and social targets that have been set in the strategy.

During the detail design, a clear picture of what is important to the client through the ADD can assist the designers deliver something that will be not only be constructible but be able to engage with the end user before a shovel has entered the ground.

It is really important that each and every member of the supply chain knows what information they are required to record and pass back up to the tier 1 contractor. An ADD open to all members of the team means that a consistency of data is received and federated into the Project Information Model. This allows a better quality of constructed product to be delivered both physically and virtually.

Note that a good proportion of this construction data is not relevant to the client and will just be archived rather than handed over.

 When it comes to handing over the information on how to both operate and maintain the asset the ADD would clearly define what is critical to these activities and ensure that this is the information that is in itself checked and maintained throughout the lifecycle of the asset.

As part of an internet of things, each asset must be monitored for performance and report on what will trigger maintenance activities and replacement criteria. The ADD will define the metadata for each asset down to the maintainable level which will allow this to happen.

At the end of the lifespan of the asset, where it needs to be demolished or disposed of, information on its construction, handling and recycling instructions will be part of the ADD metadata.

Finally we come to a package of information that we hope is never required, disaster. The ADD should also contain metadata that can be used in the event of a flood, fire or power cut. Ready to be published at a moment’s notice.

Defining the data at each of these stages or data drops should be done by the relevant people asking the critical questions.

Having a comprehensive Asset Data Dictionary with its metadata definitions for each asset down to the maintainable level will deliver significant benefits to the client at every stage of the asset.

However if this is delivered on a nationwide level, giving a standard across the board to road, rail, power, water, prisons, hospitals and schools, we find that delivering our asset information will become more cost efficient, as contractors and owners talk a common information language.

 

This also has a wider benefit of driving interoperability between technologies, as they will all describe their objects in a common and interchangeable way.

At the end of the lifespan of the asset, where it needs to be demolished or disposed of, information on its construction, handling and recycling instructions will be part of the ADD metadata.

Finally we come to a package of information that we hope is never required, disaster. The ADD should also contain metadata that can be used in the event of a flood, fire or power cut. Ready to be published at a moment’s notice.

Defining the data at each of these stages or data drops should be done by the relevant people asking the critical questions.

Having a comprehensive Asset Data Dictionary with its metadata definitions for each asset down to the maintainable level will deliver significant benefits to the client at every stage of the asset.

However if this is delivered on a nationwide level, giving a standard across the board to road, rail, power, water, prisons, hospitals and schools, we find that delivering our asset information will become more cost efficient, as contractors and owners talk a common information language.

 

This also has a wider benefit of driving interoperability between technologies, as they will all describe their objects in a common and interchangeable way.

Strategy for creating an ADD and metadata.

Without significant investment of time, resources and money a fully comprehensive ADD and its metadata will be difficult to achieve. So an initial strategy called “Critical Questions” is used to help create our first iteration.

Critical Questions requires the ADD author to engage with a group of metadata users for each task in each discipline at each of the data drops that will be covered. These users will be asked to write down the critical questions they would ask in relation to a specific asset. Once analysed these questions will lead directly to the metadata needed to answer them.

 

Using this methodology, we can gather significant amounts of critical metadata requirements for our ADD. The relationships between the metadata and the questions needs to be kept so that this can be used at a later date in automated algorithms to predict when. It is also useful to record how that information needs to be presented, whether in document, metadata, drawing or some other method.

The next step is to define the replacement criteria and required performance/ functionality.

 

This information combined with ongoing condition and performance surveys will help to determine the degradation of the asset and with analysis predict when the asset needs replacing.

Between these steps we should be able to collect 80% of all the information required across the lifespan of our assets.

In the example below we will use a humble, yet complex earthwork to show how this might be accomplished.

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