First two achieve ISO 55001 asset management certification 23 January 2014

Babcock and Scottish Water are the first two companies to be independently certified by BSI to the new asset management systems standard ISO 55001.

The new standard is based on the PAS 55 specifications, sponsored by the Institute of Asset Management, and is said to cover physical as well as 'organisational' assets – the primary goals being efficiency, performance and cost effectiveness through condition-based maintenance.

John Rowe, quality manager at Babcock, explains that his company's infrastructure business unit pioneered the standard at two military air bases, where it manages assets for the MoD.

It found, he says, that ISO 55001 brought greater discipline to how it manages assets, particularly in the area of risk management, while certification provides objective evidence of best practice.

"We maintain around £40bn of physical assets worldwide – either our own or our customers' – so it's a huge undertaking," comments Rowe.

"We always believed we were very good managers of assets but to become even better we felt we needed to conform to a recognised standard and then work to it," he continues.

"We can now say we follow a management system that has been independently certified. This approach ... shows clients that we're very serious about becoming exemplars in asset management and supports the growth strategy for our business."

Scottish Water takes a similar view, seeing ISO 55001 as a mark of assurance for its regulators, customers and stakeholders, by moving up a gear on efficiency and so releasing money for further infrastructure improvements while keeping household bills down.

Colin Duguid, deputy quality manager at Scottish Water, says that achieving certification has been a key aspiration.

"ISO 55001 enables us to demonstrate to customers and regulators that we've achieved a high degree of professionalism in the use of our assets across Scotland to produce high quality drinking water and remove waste water safely and efficiently," he says.

ISO 55001 defines the requirements for an integrated management system for assets; in much the same way as ISO 9001 specifies the essential features of a quality management system.

Withdrawal of PAS 55 Asset Management will occur on 15 January 2015.

Brian Tinham

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