O.T. Modricker and C. De Silva (ProjectMax Ltd)
Most water utility managers would likely agree that embarking on any significant asset inspection programme is challenging and can seem like staring up to the top of a foreboding mountain that is in the way. It is a challenge that requires strategy, experience, and a clear process and place to collect and manage data collected from inspections and other information that will be required for analysis.
A complex inspection programme that covers multiple asset classes inherently generates a large amount of inspection data and other associated information. This can present several challenges. Is all of that information needed? What data format(s) are required to be compatible with adopted tools, formats, and processes? How is data collected and stored? How is data reviewed and validated to confirm it is in accordance with specified requirements for quality and completeness? What processes are needed to transition the data to become useful information on asset condition and performance? How can the data and other relevant information be efficiently and consistently integrated into an Asset Management Information System (AMIS)?
In 2020 Wellington Water engaged ProjectMax to assist them in carrying out a wide-ranging investigation and condition assessment programme on their Very High Critical Pipe Assets. This inspection programme covered stormwater, potable water, and wastewater pipes (including both gravity and pressure pipes), across the 6 ‘client’ council water asset owners. The project involved close to 500km of VHCA pipes to inspect and assess, using multiple inspection technologies and more than one contractor. To support the project, an integrated data management solution was required to enable data to be collected, checked, assessed, and imported into Wellington Waters AMIS.
This paper will set out a strategy and processes for developing a data management solution to successfully collect, check, and assess the so-called ‘foreboding mountain’ of inspection data. The Wellington Water VHCA pipe inspection project will be used as a case study and will include the challenges that had to be overcome, the milestones that have been reached, and the lessons learnt that can be utilised for future similar inspection projects for water utility managers.