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ISO 55 000 standard for asset management on its way to becoming a reality

Alan Tait gives feedback on the ISO 55 000 design workshops in Washington DC

The recent International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) / PC 251 workshops in Arlington, Washington DC is testimony to the fact that the ISO 55 000 for asset management is well on its way to becoming a reality.

The ISO started a process about 2 years ago to develop a standard for asset management. The departure point for this standard was Publicly Available Specification 55, or PAS 55 (PAS 55-2008 parts 1 & 2), which has been developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI), in conjunction with the Institute for Asset Management UK (IAM) and numerous public and private sector organisations.

Says Alan Tait, Managing Director of Pragma, “PAS 55 is applicable to any organisation that depends on its physical assets for the performance and continuance of its business operations. Companies that have implemented the standard have benefited on two fronts. The first is improved, more reliable and sustainable operations. The second is reduced insurance premiums.”

PAS 55-2008 is currently undergoing conversion into an International Standard (ISO 55 000). Tait continues: “ISO went out on a vote to their contributing countries and bodies for support on whether to develop a standard and whether PAS 55 could be used as the foundation. The vote was a resounding yes.”

Since then, each of the contributing countries has set up mirror committees whereby they have the opportunity to review and comment on the content of the existing or modified documentation. “This is currently happening in more than 30 countries across the world, so there will be many different views and opinions. In South Africa, this is being led by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). On the local working committee, there are representatives from the Southern African Asset Management Association (SAAMA), PRASA, SANRAL, IMESA, Pragma, e-Logics, Anglo American, SSI, to name a few. All the feedback from these working committees is fed back to ISO head office for consolidation and then resubmission to all the countries again,” says Tait.

On top of this process, there are also international workshops, held every six months, where the various countries have an opportunity to get together for five days to debate and workshop the comments and critical alignment issues.

“The most recent workshops were held in Washington, where 50 people from 29 countries got together to continue the ISO 55 000 debate. South Africa had 4 representatives at these workshops. PAS 55, which was released in 2004 and revised in 2008, was the starting point and we now have only between 40 and 50% of the original PAS 55.

The five days were essentially made up of an initial plenary session where all the delegates were briefed as a single group. “From the second to the fifth day, we broke up into smaller groups and worked on individual sections of the documentation. The brief was very simple – streamline, make it relevant and ensure all comments are accounted for. At the end of each day, each sub-group then presented their changes to the rest of the group, together with their rationale for the changes. On the final day we closed with another plenary session, whereby final closing statements and de-briefing were done. All documentation was then distributed to the countries shortly after the workshops, for comments, and the process to start again.

“Firstly, this meeting was essentially to take the drafts and improve the text to a point where they would be ready for circulation as formal Committee Drafts. We also debated the issue of asset life cycle versus just asset life, where we decided to only refer to asset life as assets which do not go through continuous life cycles. Other issues included ensuring that the standard is applicable to intangible assets too, e.g. financial, human and software assets, and not only physical,” says Tait.

The next international meeting will be held from 6 to 10 February 2012 in Pretoria, South Africa. “Most of the delegates are extremely excited to visit our great country and continue the debate on the ISO 55 000 standard on our shores,” says Tait. “I reckon all in all, we’ll have three more meetings of which Pretoria will be the first, followed by a meeting in June 2012 (in Prague) and another one in February 2013. We’re hoping to release the new standard at the end of 2013 or early in 2014.”

For more information contact Alan Tait at Alan.Tait@pragmaworld.net or on 011 848 6940.

Issued by Gina T Z Ganswyk / Peter Marx, Purple Pine PR.
Tel: 021 914 6388

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