According to PAS 1192-3 (Specification for information management for the operational phase of construction projects using building information modelling) an asset may be described as anything that has potential value or actual value to an organisation.
PAS 1192-3 suggests that an asset ‘…may be fixed, mobile or movable. It may be an individual item of plant, a system of connected equipment, a space within a structure, a piece of land, an entire piece of infrastructure or an entire building or portfolio of assets.’ It suggests that, in this context, ‘value’ can be tangible, intangible, financial or non-financial and can vary throughout the life of the asset.
According to NRM3: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for building maintenance works, the term ‘asset’ refers to:
'...the whole building, element, system, sub-element and/or a specific asset, or component or part thereof. Note – asset classifications can be at portfolio/estate level (e.g. offices or schools) down to specific maintainable assets (eg. boilers).’ NRM 3 applies to all levels of building or constructed assets that are ‘applicable’ to maintenance and life-cycle major repairs and replacement work.
Information on assets held may encompass traditional hand-written or printed hard copies, drawings and/or software-based information systems. As far as buildings are concerned, traditional methods will have included ledgers and drawings. Today, these have been largely supplanted by computer-based systems with their vast storage capacity, ease of navigation, editing, retrieval and reproduction.
Drawings are an ancient method of keeping asset information. However, the physical process of drawing has been reformulated by the introduction of computer-aided design (CAD) and its associated software. Typical software packages include Autodesk Revit, Graphisoft ArchiCAD and Bentley Microstation.
As an example of the popularity of these systems, Bentley AECOsim Building Designer has been used for the whole of the Network Rail transport system, including the entire new Crossrail system, the new High Speed 1 and 2 networks (HS1 and HS2), the whole of the Transport for London system including the London Underground network, the new Thames Tideway tunnel currently under construction and numerous other national Road and Bridge infrastructure projects.
One of the most far-reaching developments of recent years in building design and asset management is the introduction of BIM (Building Information Modelling). Used throughout the design, construction and operation of some projects, BIM is a broad term that describes the process of creating and managing digital information about a built asset such as a building, bridge, highway or tunnel.
Very broadly, the information that might be included in a model can be categorised as:
- 4D (including time / programme information).
- 5D (including cost information).
- 6D (including facilities management information).
BIM helps ensure that appropriate information is created in a suitable format at the right time to enable better decisions to be made throughout the design, construction and operation of built assets. This means that clients and owners of buildings can periodically refer to the BIM model, amend it to reflect recent changes and so keep a running record of that particular asset that will be of use in the future. BIM has taken asset information to a higher level.
For more information see: Building information modelling.
Building information modelling might involve the creation of an Asset Information Model (AIM), a model that compiles the data and information necessary to support asset management, that is, it provides all the data and information related to, or required for the operation of an asset.
An AIM can provide graphical and non-graphical data and information, as well as documents and metadata. It can relate to a single asset or to a portfolio of assets. An AIM can be created from existing asset information systems, from new information, or from information in a Project Information Model (PIM) that was created for the construction of a new asset.
An Asset Information Model might include:
- Information describing the original design intent.
- 3D models.
- Information, or links to information, about ownership, rights and restrictions, surveys, work that has been carried out, operational performance information, condition information, and so on.
For more information see: Asset information model.
 Relevant articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Asset information model.
- Beyond BIM: Knowledge management for a smarter built environment.
- BIM and facilities management.
- BIM articles.
- BIM dimensions.
- BIM execution plan.
- BIM glossary of terms.
- BIM level 2.
- BIM maturity levels.
- BIM resources.
- Employers information requirements.
- Federated building information model.
- Level of detail.