The Need For Asset Resilience In Unprecedented Times
Asset resilience is a critical component of your asset management plan and strategy. Particularly as our world is subject to an increasing number of natural disasters and climate change-related events.
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Our world is changing and becoming less predictable. Climate change and natural disasters impact our environments and encroach on us daily. We’ve seen first-hand how a global pandemic can spread through countries and transform our infrastructure’s needs. We’ve witnessed several ‘once in a century’ events over the past 3 years.
An increasing prevalence of bushfires causes mass evacuations, property damage and smoke that can circulate globally. Floods displace families, destroy crops and render buildings inoperable for days or months. Furthermore, the pandemic has impacted how we use buildings and the environmental conditions we require.
It’s clear that our buildings – and the equipment maintained within – need to be ready to meet the needs of the future and the unknown. We need durable buildings that can withstand these disasters. And we need long-term planning and management strategies that will help us get there.
This long-term planning and strategy is where asset resilience comes in.
What is asset resilience and why is it important?
Asset resilience is best defined as building and upgrading assets with the ability to withstand disruptive events and reduce negative impacts of deterioration, climate and natural disasters.
Astute asset and risk management practices incorporate asset resilience as part of their strategy. Recent events have shown the need for continuous environmental scanning of emerging trends and risks. This scanning is critical to ensure organisations proactively anticipate and mitigate these risks. You should continually update scanning with relevant actions to inform your asset management and business continuity planning.
With an asset audit and advisory service like Hendry, you can start implementing site-specific strategies that will improve the resilience of your assets.
Making buildings and their systems more resilient to impacts of climate change and natural disasters
It is important to consider your assets’ location and the ecological implications of its location to incorporate place-based solutions. This consideration will include examination of topographical data indicating the likelihood of your asset being affected by:
- Severe storms
- Civil disturbances
- Any other natural or human-related disaster
You can further manage uncertain future outcomes through scenario planning. By creating a common set of future scenarios, you can streamline your asset’s management, planning and maintenance. Additionally, you can determine your durability options and solutions by modelling your asset’s site-specific environmental exposures.
You can make your assets more durable – and often more cost-effective – by incorporating energy efficiency best practices. In light of climate change, energy efficiency considers newer and greener technologies such as solar energy, alternative fuels, sustainable materials and people-friendly design.
Asset resilience and asset management plans
To make your buildings and their systems more resilient, you should integrate a property risk assessment as part of your overall asset management plan.
A holistic property or building risk assessment should:
- Identify risks.
- Assess the relative level of risk.
- Assess appropriate initiatives to mitigate risks to an acceptable level.
Asset management plans (AMPs) look at demand drivers that impact maintenance, replacement and improvement requirements. These are incorporated into financial forecasts.
Assessing foreseeable risk
COVID-19, climate change and acts of terrorism are all examples of foreseeable risks. Good risk management practice examines a broad range of potential risks and consequential risks. These are also important considerations to incorporate into your AMP.
For example, if you assessed climate change, consequential impacts could include:
- Risk: Increased temperatures and/or humidity.
- Consequential impact: Breaches of design days in building, environmental and HVAC systems. Buildings can no longer maintain required dew point or temperature controls.
- Potential solutions: Additional chillers, desiccant wheels, airflow design and glazing/shading.
- Risk: Frequent flash flooding.
- Consequential impact: Peak rainfall rates overwhelm stormwater retention and runoff systems.
- Potential solutions: Change the location of substations, switchboards and telco pits.
- Risk: Elevated dew points.
- Consequential impact: Increase of mould.
- Potential solutions: Improve surface and fabric selection, ventilation and HVAC capability.
- Risk: Rising sea levels and/or acidification of oceans.
- Consequential impact: Increase of salinity or corrosion of building subsurface components.
- Potential solutions: Waterproof building, select better materials and install pumps.
- Risk: Particulates from bushfire smoke.
- Consequential impact: Decrease in air intake quality due to air quality (SO2, NO2, CO and O3).
- Potential solutions: Install air quality monitoring equipment, air intake actuators and filtration.
Future-proofing assets and infrastructure
COVID-19 is fresh in our memories with initiatives to social distance, wear masks and maintain better hygiene. As a result, to safely house organisations into the future, longer-term impacts on buildings may include:
- Requirements for air exchanges and building ventilation.
- Air filtration capabilities for airborne particulates and pathogens.
- Building contact surfaces for easy cleaning and viral transfer resistance.
- Agile building configurations to maintain social distancing, hybrid working models and suitable collaboration spaces.
Additionally, with the impact of climate change on everybody’s mind, future environmental considerations may include:
- Maintaining a minimum of 5- or 6-star building ratings.
- Providing capability and capacity for electric vehicle charging as we transition to electric passenger vehicles.
- Maintaining a supply of building power (backups) for critical systems.
- Transitioning to a higher mix of green energy rather than power grid generation sources.
While considering current and emerging risks to property, you should ensure critical building systems, including life safety, are compliant. Additionally, these systems should be working to their required levels of performance. Good asset management practice ensures there are systems of work, governance and performance reporting.
Increasing asset longevity
According to the Australian Museum, Australia continues to experience higher temperatures and more extreme droughts, bushfires, floods and weather due to climate change. The research further shows that rising sea levels threaten housing, infrastructure and water-based natural disasters. Additionally, the number of days that break heat records has doubled in the past 50 years.
Environmental challenges are thus set to increase, not diminish. Therefore, it’s clear that asset resilience in new and existing assets is crucial. It’s also clear that property risk assessment and asset management are key factors in creating resilient assets and successful AMPs.
Moving forward, consider incorporating strategic durability and energy-efficient features into your assets to increase the longevity of your buildings.