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Digital imaging in asset management

Brian March and Peter Dalwood
Department for Education & Children's Services, SA
Kerry Hudson

Concern has been expressed with respect to the management of public infrastructure. Recent trends have seen the establishment of the State Asset Register and the creation of an Infrastructure Sustainment model looking at asset management and sustainment over a period of twenty years.

Asset management within the Department for Education and Children's Services is based upon the Building Land Asset Management System (BLAMS) developed by SACON (now the Department for Building Management); the Land Owners Tenure System (LOTS) managed by the Department for Environment and Natural Resources and a variety of methods for accounting for minor assets which will be incorporated into the EDSAS accounting package as it is introduced in schools over the next few months.

To enhance the existing information, research involving digital imaging technologies has been undertaken. These processes enable managers to establish and maintain digital image information (inclusive of areal photography) and to call up this data when required for project management, annual maintenance and minor work considerations, compliance with legislative requirements (eg Occupational Health and Safety) and refurbishment.

The ultimate position the Department is working towards involves the integration of a number of databases through a geographic information system to provide a comprehensive desk top management system.

This workshop examines methods of collecting and manipulating data and provides for some hands on experience with the systems.


Asset management was defined as the process of planning, organising, leading and controlling the activities of an organisation in order to maximise the resources of the organisation in a cost effective way. In the context of management of the fixed assets, asset management may be defined as the process of planning, organising leading and controlling non current assets of $2.8 billion in order to maximise these assets in a cost effective way that takes into account the total asset base of the State. (First Report, Economic and Finance Committee, Public Sector Asset management Developments 1988-91)

The definition has been refined to "Asset Management is used in the global sense to mean the sum of all activities connected with the provision and operation of appropriate capital assets for the cost effective delivery of services. In particular, it covers the whole of life cycle of assets from forward planning for asset acquisition to eventual asset disposal".

Overview statement

Asset management had its focus in the work of the then Public Accounts Committee leading to the conclusions of the Chairperson, Economic and Finance Committee Report on Public Sector Asset Management Developments, 1988-91:
If existing services are to be maintained at a satisfactory level, it is essential that the replacement of current assets is given a high priority. It is short sighted to continue to spend on new buildings if the State cannot afford to maintain the facilities we already have, especially given that every building itself represents an extension of the need for further future maintenance.
Arising from these findings has been considerable activity in the field of global asset management. Treasury Instruction 1001 enabled the first global review of assets held by this Department. The completion of the upgrading of the Building Lands Asset Management System (BLAMS) database saw, for the first time, a condition statement being able to be produced for all built assets. The Audit Commission Report focussed upon current issues including under utilisation of assets and potential rationalisation of the asset base.

The Infrastructure Sustainment Project looked at the development of a base line for the sustainment of the status quo for the next twenty years, having regard to a series of parameters which may clearly influence the base case upwards. This project has challenged the current base of data held within the BLAMS database. Additional research has been commissioned on condition statements, particularly the apparently hidden components of the built form such as pipes and wires. The definition of an economic life for a school has yet to be resolved.

The integration of information contained on the BLAMS database, Education Department School Administration System (EDSAS) (when fully operational), Schools and Facilities staff in order to develop long term asset management plans for all school sites remains a priority.

The development of the State Asset Register, leading towards the introduction of accrual accounting in the financial accounting of assets. Stage one of the process has been completed. Monthly variation reporting will be required, leading to a combination of data for the November return.

Future asset management will be based upon whole of life models.

Within this context, the requirement to develop whole of life asset management plans for all sites is apparent. One tool in the development of the system is the use of digital imaging.

This workshop looks at the practicalities of such a system and the methodologies available.

Overview of workshop presentations

Overview of workshop presentations

The workshop will explore practical examples of:

The technology to be demonstrated

Authors: Brian March, Manager, Facilities Policy & Standards, Policy Unit, Corporate Services Division, Department for Education & Children's Services, SA. 08 226 1026
Peter Dalwood, Manager, Communications, Corporate Services Division, Department for Education & Children's Services, SA. 08 226 1537
Kerry Hudson, Asset Management Unit, SACON. 08 226 5153

Please cite as: March, B., Dalwood, P. and Hudson, K. (1994). Digital imaging in asset management. In J. Steele and J. G. Hedberg (eds), Learning Environment Technology: Selected papers from LETA 94, 158-160. Canberra: AJET Publications.

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