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Chapter 1 â Geotechnical Asset Management Implementation Manual Overview 1 P A R T A Chapter 1 - Geotechnical Asset Management Implementation Manual Overview Introduction For a transportation infrastructure owner, geotechnical assets are the walls, slopes, embankments, and subgrades that contribute to the ability of an agency to perform its strategic mission. Often geotechnical assets are grouped into the category of unpredictable liabilities or hazards as a matter of legacy approaches or at worst are ignored altogether until failure forces action. However, there are functional life-cycle expectations for geotechnical assets, whether previously defined or not, and these assets contribute measurable value to the transportation network. Thus, walls, slopes, embankments, and subgrades are indeed assets and should be managed to realize the measurable life-cycle and performance benefits that are possible for owners and users. Across nations and across infrastructure systems, there are numerous examples of geotechnical asset management (GAM) implementations resulting in life-cycle cost savings, reductions in performance and operational disruptions, and fewer emergency stabilization projects. This manual provides the guidance, tools, and supporting information for a transportation infrastructure owner to realize the benefits of GAM with a focus on quick implementation and value creation. Asset management is ultimately a life-cycle
Chapter 1 â Geotechnical Asset Management Implementation Manual Overview 2 process and culture that can be adapted through process improvements once started. The important step is simply starting, otherwise value is lost. How to Use the Geotechnical Asset Management Implementation Manual The GAM Implementation Manual introduces risk-based asset management concepts for geotechnical assets that can be used by Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and other transportation infrastructure owners at any stage of transportation asset management implementation and at any point in the geotechnical asset life-cycle. Lack of prior asset management practices should not be an excuse for avoiding management of an existing asset, as there are benefits to starting at any time during an assetâs life-cycle. The time to start is now! The GAM Implementation Manual is organized into three parts: Part A: Introduction and the Why This section of the manual, Part A, introduces GAM and more importantly introduces âthe whyâ for implementing geotechnical asset management. The âwhyâ discussion provides introductory information that introduces the case for GAM to the different stakeholders, whether department executive decision makers, transportation asset managers, and geotechnical and geological staff (geo-professionals) who will lead and participate in the process of geotechnical asset management. This âwhyâ is intended to be a high- level summary of reasons to perform GAM. Throughout the manual, the reader will find other examples of the reasons for GAM, many of these supported by existing successful practices. Part B: Starting Your Plan Part B provides the opportunity to hit the ground running without having to get bogged down learning all the nuances of asset management or geotechnical assets beforehand. Part B is structured to teach the basics of GAM through step-by-step implementation instructions. A simple Microsoft Excel worksheet tool is provided to supplement this section to enable rapid creation of a real and functioning GAM inventory and assessment. Part B is learning GAM by doing GAM and will enable the geo-professional or asset manager to implement GAM regardless of agency stakeholder interest levels or complicated processes and data. GAM implementation is a process with steps that have less precision than is typical in engineering design. The geo- professional is thus encouraged to move forward with GAM knowing uncertainty is part of the process and will reduce with time and implementation experience. Because asset management creates value, delaying implementation wastes resources and delays realization of benefits. Starting GAM is the first successful step an agency can take, and this manual will facilitate implementation whether it is done by a motivated individual or with the support and input from across a department.
Chapter 1 â Geotechnical Asset Management Implementation Manual Overview 3 The purpose and need for starting now is supported in numerous case studies that demonstrate it is better to start simple and improve with time versus investing in a complex approach without implementation testing along the way. This lean start approach, supplemented with continuous improvement over time, is a proven path towards realizing quick success for a geotechnical asset management plan. The simple GAM implementation steps detailed in Part B are illustrated in Figure 1-1 below. Figure 1-1. Implementation Steps in Part B of this Manual Part C: Understanding the Geotechnical Asset Management Process Once you have started your plan by following the simple steps in Part B, or should you already have a GAM plan, Part C provides the technical and supporting information to gain knowledge in transportation asset management (TAM) concepts and to move towards more mature geotechnical asset management where justified. Why Implement Geotechnical Asset Management? The benefits of GAM are real, measurable, and being recognized by both public and private infrastructure organizations. Based on outcomes from successful programs around the world, the benefits of performing GAM can be summarized as follows. â¢ Yields financial savings across the geotechnical life-cycle, with values reported to be greater than 30 percent by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE, 2013) and 60 to 80 percent per unit length of embankment in the United Kingdom (Perry and others, 2003). â¢ Provides a process to measure and manage safety risk exposure across the entire asset class. â¢ Lessens traveler delay and closure times resulting in improved network operational performance. â¢ Reduces adverse economic impacts to communities and private enterprise. â¢ Reduces impacts and damages to other transportation assets. â¢ Optimizes resources, improves sustainability, and maintains reputation. â¢ Enhances data driven decisions that support agency and executive objectives. â¢ Provides greater understanding of risk exposure and the ability to manage those risks. Defining and Locating Assets Current Condition Assess Performance Investment Analysis Communicate Results Process Improvements
Chapter 1 â Geotechnical Asset Management Implementation Manual Overview 4 â¢ Implementation can start very simple and be adapted over time as the economic benefits are realized. The outputs from even a simple GAM plan will enable individuals responsible for geotechnical assets to have a defensible basis for operational decisions, enhancing their ability to compete for resources and funds. Further, those responsible for geotechnical assets will be able to communicate to executives and planning staff the levels of risk that an agency may be accepting through legacy design and maintenance practices. Financial Responsibility for GAM Geotechnical asset management enables an infrastructure owner to measure and manage the life- cycle investment of assets such as slopes, embankments, walls, and unstable subgrades based on performance expectations and risk tolerance. The reasons for GAM are comparable to any other individual or business practice that is directed at making smart investments with limited funds. With geotechnical asset management, organizations will better manage risk to traveler safety, mobility, and economic vitality, while also having the capacity to make knowledge-based life-cycle investment decisions. Public agencies have a fiduciary responsibility to be good stewards of the taxpayer provided funds. Thus, agencies establish policies and procedures to ensure that public funds are used effectively, waste is minimized, and investments can withstand the test of public scrutiny. The function and success of a public agency is highly dependent on being viewed as a good steward of public funds while completing their mission. Simply put, GAM is a value-added process that supports agency personnel in fulfilling their commitment to good stewardship of taxpayer funds. Managing Risk The consequences associated with adverse performance from geotechnical assets are understood by many DOTs â impacts to traveler and worker safety, travel delays and closures, unplanned or urgent staffing needs, and direct expenses to maintenance and engineering programs. The public and users of the system experience the adverse geotechnical performance because they are impacted by the delays and closures first hand, they may incur vehicle or property damage, or in the worst case experience an unfortunate safety event. In many situations, the public will question an agencyâs failure to proactively respond, leading to reputation issues. GAM is an opportunity for the geo-professional to earn a âseat at the asset management tableâ when it comes to communicating investment needs, competing with other asset groups, and making measurable improvements to agency performance When reviewing and discussing GAM with agencies that have several years of experience, the NCHRP study team received responses along the lines of âwhy wouldnât you do GAM?â, meaning these agencies had realized such favorable benefits from GAM they could no longer envision operating without GAM.
Chapter 1 â Geotechnical Asset Management Implementation Manual Overview 5 The fact that there are readily identified impacts originating from geotechnical assets means that performance can be measured in terms of asset condition and consequences to the owners and users of the asset. Further, each asset performance measurement will have a magnitude, location reference, and will change with time depending on investment and maintenance levels. Once asset performance can be measured, the need for management is much easier to communicate to stakeholders and executives. For a geo-professional in a resource constrained department with limited executive involvement, a simple GAM system will enable them to determine and communicate risk levels and investment needs using data driven processes in the competition for resources. Even without executive or TAM support in the agency, the geo- professional or transportation asset management team can be confident knowing they are applying good business practices in the allocation of their work effort and resources. Decision Support Using even a simple GAM processes, the geo-professional will have data that can enable executives, often termed âdecision makers,â to make informed operational decisions that can include the following. â¢ Reduce expenses and optimize investments for geotechnical assets at any point in the life-cycle â¢ Reduce broader economic impacts due to injury, loss of life, or property damage to citizens businesses, and other governmental agencies â¢ Lessen delays and closures associated with adverse performance of geotechnical assets â¢ Support environmental sustainability and public relations initiatives. Starting Simple A simple GAM implementation can be completed without a large investment while also following a framework that will connect to a broader transportation asset management program or performance improvement initiative. As demonstrated through successful asset management plans from around the world, continuous improvement is the recommended practice for reaching an advanced level of asset management maturity. In other words, it is an acceptable approach to start simple and increase precision in processes, data, and staff capabilities with financially justified improvements over time. This manual provides an implementation framework that can be adapted to develop a simple GAM system. This framework was formulated considering proven examples from successful programs to enable a resource-limited staff to implement GAM without a sizable upfront program commitment. Using this framework, the geo-professional can demonstrate the purpose and value from GAM, thus establishing defensible justification for further investment. This is of particular importance because GAM is currently not mandated; however, efforts are underway in at least one state to legislate implementation if voluntary agency actions are not adequate to enhance public trust. As such, GAM must be justified on the basis of real, measurable value and risk reduction. With time, continuous improvement through favorably justified investments can allow an agency to develop a more mature geotechnical asset management program. Just as an agency measures and reports on various metrics such as annual budgets, traveler safety, and economic contributions, geotechnical asset performance can be communicated as an outcome of GAM implementation. Communication of this performance is a key process for any framework to demonstrate the value proposition for obtaining limited funds based on a sound business case and a favorable return on investment. Your GAM system can exist without dependency on regulatory requirements for implementation, but rather through economic, operational, and social benefits
Chapter 1 â Geotechnical Asset Management Implementation Manual Overview 6 Asset management is a continuous process and not a box to checked âdoneâ in the traditional practice of engineering and construction project delivery. Further, the asset management objectives will vary by agency and with time within an agency. Thus, implementation is best started as a simple process that demonstrates the range in potential benefits that can then be adapted with time and feedback from executives and stakeholders. For example, one agency may realize their GAM system can provide measurable benefits to preserving asset condition, while another may learn that potential improvements can come in the form of reduced traveler delay. Starting with a simple GAM implementation will allow these agencies to utilize feedback from TAM and executive staff on workflows to improve and other activities to minimize. This leads to a plan that matures with time to better match the objectives of the agency, rather than the alternative of executing a comprehensive but untested plan. Starting simple and maturing with time is a proven enabler of successful asset management