PAS 55 in the Utility Arena

Tony Brown
Asset management is a key aspect of good business management. Judicious planning, implementation and performance management of assets over their lifecycle will help an organisation achieve its corporate objectives. PAS55 is increasingly becoming the industry standard approach to achieving asset management best practice.

What is PAS55?

PAS55 is a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) published by the BSI British Standards  and was developed in response to industry demand for an asset management standard. PAS55 demonstrates core competence in asset management and provides a clear audit trail.

The Standard is now internationally recognised, and is becoming a regulatory requirement in a growing number of industries. It's used in public services and property, utilities, transport, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, defence, pharmaceutical, process and heavy engineering.

Origins

In 2002, a consortium of large organisations, including utility providers and regulators, aimed to provide some clarity to the tools and techniques involved in asset management. They worked with the Institute of Asset Management (IAM) and BSI to develop the first publicly available specification (PAS) for the optimised management of physical assets, published in 2004 and revised in 2008.

Challenges

Stiff challenges can face those companies seeking certification. For instance, some businesses don't have an established asset management policy prior to embarking on the PAS55 accreditation route and this can often exposes gaps between the existing policies, procedures and processes and the PAS55 compliance requirements.

Who can use PAS55?

Any industry where physical assets are key to achieving business objectives and effective service delivery.

  • PAS55 provides clear definitions and a 28 point requirements specification.

  • Enables organisations to establish and verify a holistic view of asset management throughout an asset's whole life.

  • Facilitates an optimal mixture of capital investments, operations, maintenance, resourcing, risks, performance, sustainability and good governance.

Utility sector benefits

The electricity and gas utility sectors are using PAS55 to demonstrate their competence and OFGEM (Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets) requires its network companies to undertake certification. The Standard is also gaining support in the water sector

PAS55 allows utility sector companies to demonstrate robust systems which manage an asset's performance over its lifecycle, thus supporting the wider business plan:

  • Improved health, safety and environmental performance.

  • Optimised Return on Investment through efficient asset stewardship.

  • Demonstrable value for money, particularly within tight budgets.

  • Evidence of controlled and systematic processes to demonstrate legal, regulatory and statutory compliance.

  • Clear audit trail through risk management and corporate governance.

  • Ability to demonstrate that sustainability has been considered.

Getting started

Communication and awareness is an important part of the preparation for the PAS55 certification process. All those engaged by the organisation should be made aware of the links to the strategic plan and business objectives. Contractors and other stakeholders should also be involved, not just employees.

Certification audit 

The certification audit is a short process, typically less than a week. The organisation has to demonstrate to an external audit company, usually UKAS accredited, compliance across a range of business activities. This involves everybody from the team senior management to site operatives, and includes some suppliers and contractors.

Working through policy and procedure documents, the organisation has to demonstrate site operatives' knowledge and compliance, satisfying questions such as:

  • how do they know what they have to comply with?

  • how do they know they have the latest version of documents?

  • what are the consequences if they fail to comply?

  • Do all operatives have the requisite skills, knowledge and competence?

Achieving PAS55 certification is not always simple or straightforward and requires concerted effort from everyone from the most senior to the most junior within an organisation. 

Faithful+Gould help clients successfully improve their asset management processes and achieve PAS55 accreditation, contact us to find out how we can help you prepare for PAS55.

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