15 Mar Let WithersRavenel be your partner in Asset Management
Our state and nation’s infrastructure assets are in trouble. Many roads, water and wastewater systems, and treatment plants are nearing the end of their life. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the average report card score for our nation’s infrastructure is a D+. Simply, our average infrastructure is below standard with a strong risk of failure.
Knowing this, WithersRavenel has invested heavily into our asset management team and capabilities so we can help our clients manage through this challenging time. Additionally, the knowledge we can provide clients can help municipal employees sell needed investments in their communities to the people who hold the purse strings.
Assessing Conditions, Modeling for Future
Believing that the most important first step is to gain understanding of the condition of the assets along with the future impact to the communities, WithersRavenel has added extensive asset modeling capabilities to our portfolio, enhancing our existing engineering, field location, and funding platform.
Asset models can be built for any type of asset and allow us to quickly establish a baseline, but that is just the start. We can look ahead and see how the system will change over time, using current funding levels. Is it improving or getting worse? Is there an impending tipping point, at which we can no longer provide adequate funding? What impact will future expansions have on the system? How will delaying capital improvements increase our emergency maintenance spending? The answer to these questions is very powerful, but there is more. We can explore various funding scenarios to see how making different choices now will change the outcomes over the next 5, 10, or 50 years. We can optimize our spending to develop capital improvement plans to maximize the budgets we do have available.
The Power of Specifics in Community Conversation
With the model in hand, armed with both information and alternatives, we are now able to bring your story to all your stakeholders, including managers, councils, boards, and citizens. Then, we get to the serious questions. What is the acceptable level of risk for our community? How much are we willing to invest to lower that risk? How can we achieve the outcomes we expect? What funding sources available? Will a bond get us through or are rate changes required?
These are very different conversations than requesting a 3% annual budget increase, and they have very different results. Knowing that a lack of funding today will likely result in multiple future sanitary sewer overflows, emergency water main breaks, or streets riddled with potholes ties the funding request to the impact on the community. This power is multiplied when looking across multiple asset classes. Should we repave a road this year when there is a potentially failing sewer pipe under it, or can we plan to tackle both together to optimize our funds?
Our Partners in Asset Management
WithersRavenel has forged core partnerships with both Agile Assets and Dude Solutions, both of whom provide asset modeling software. Agile Assets focuses primarily on road infrastructure, while Capital Predictor™ from Dude Solutions can be used across any asset category. As a Dude Solutions’ strategic alliance partner, WithersRavenel is helping clients across the United States. From Colorado and Maine to Florida, we are working with water and wastewater systems, treatment plants, and road networks.
In all these cases the outcome is very positive. Some clients simply prove out the existing funding strategies, showing positive future outcomes. In others, we have shown underfunding, and the clients have used this information to successfully increase budgets to start moving the needle in the right direction. Even when additional funding is required but not immediately available, the outcome is an enhanced dialogue within the organization, adding to overall transparency and collaborative problem solving.
You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Model
Does your community need to assess its existing infrastructure and plan for a better future? Contact Chuck Wright, Innovation Services Director, at (919) 238-0322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.