How Critical is Critical?

For many clients starting on their journey to BIM the massive amount of work can look daunting! There is so much to do, you are under pressure from both your supply chain and also the UK Government.

By now hopefully you’ve have followed some advice, ignored the 3D pretty pictures being sold to you by the marketing department and really had a good look at your Asset Breakdown Structure, you Asset Tagging Strategy and Asset Information Requirements.

But there is one question that is hanging around that has been a little bit trickier to answer than the others. This is the question of criticality.

How much Time, Money and Effort should be invested in the asset to ensure it delivers the operational function that it is designed to?

Some assets are more critical to the business function of an organisation than others. Consider the two bridges below, both are on the highways network, if the one on the M25 had to be taken out of use for emergency maintenance then it would have a higher impact on the highway network than the one on the A272. The cost to repair would be roughly the same, but the cost to local and national economy would be very different!

There is some good advice out there for a really detailed analysis on how critical an asset is, but much of it concentrates on the maintenance information given to you by the manufacturer of a product. I’m not saying that this information is incorrect, but we need to start thinking about how critical an asset is way before we even consider buying something. In fact, that criticality factor should influence how we specify and purchase an asset.


How critical an asset is, should be identified as early as possible and will dictate how we design, construct, procure, operate and maintain. By constantly monitoring the performance and condition of the asset, we can ensure that our business function is protected.

When we set out the Asset Tagging Strategy to help define the Duty of our assets and its Breakdown Structure we actually create an ideal way of helping us establish a simplistic but effective method for setting this criticality.

The three headings help us make a simple calculation:

The Function is really important, this enables us to understand how important this asset is, and whether there is any redundancy built in.

The combination of Function and Functional grouping help us understand the nature of the relationship, and whether the parent will still be functional after the asset is taken out of the loop.

Finally, the Location of the asset within our infrastructure network will highlight where the economic, environmental and social impact of our asset will be, if it doesn’t perform its function.

A combination of these three factors help us work out the critical nature of an asset when compared to others of the same classification in our network.

A COMIT initiative to help BIM reach smaller contractors

Why spend money on BIM?

Employer's Information Requirements

Asset Information Requirements

Asset Breakdown Structure

What has BIM got to do with economics?

What is COBie and why is it important to BIM?

An introduction to BIM and links to useful resources

Asset Tagging Strategy

This then allows us to prioritise funding throughout the asset’s lifecycle, and provides us with an insight into the severity of the decisions we make when choosing products that fulfil a specific function.

To sum this all up, it would be advantageous to have a figure that conveys/ represents the overall criticality/ severity of an asset:

© 2017 - 2020 by COMIT Projects Ltd.


  • LinkedIn Classic
  • YouTube App Icon