The Northern Territory Department of Health (DoH) engaged the Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics (DIPL) to manage 156 urban and remote hospitals and health centres across the Northern Territory (NT).
Until now, the DoH used an ad-hoc approach to forecasting their investments and tracking the condition of these assets. This brought with it the risk of equipment failure, asset deterioration, costly maintenance or replacement, often in remote locations where there were no other alternatives in the delivery of essential services, and it could be weeks before new equipment or replacements arrived.
With limited funds to maintain its portfolio, the DoH needed a method of prioritising capital to meet the ongoing health needs of the community. DIPL engaged Aurecon to assess and report on the condition of their assets, develop a 15-year maintenance programme and determine the priority areas for investment.
Best practice asset management methodology
Aurecon’s Asset Life Cycle Management (ALCM) specialists developed an innovative methodology to help DILP understand, prioritise and plan the recommended capital works for the planned duration of the maintenance programme. The methodology considered a range of factors, including functional requirements, historical performance, current condition assessment and asset lifecycle management principles.
Aurecon commenced with an initial high-level assessment to identify assets urgently in need of attention and those that were new or non-critical. From this process, we selected a sample of 26 health facilities to be audited for current condition assessment. Although the methodology does not rely on a specific technology, we opted to use our own data capture application (FieldForce) to improve the quality of the data and feed this into our automated methodology and work process.
FieldForce was used to collect and benchmark over 180,000 lines of data. Based on availability and quality of data, this was followed by a combination of qualitative, semi-quantitative, and quantitative Remnant Life Assessment (RLA) for each asset class and subclasses to develop a detailed, evidence-based lifecycle management program.
Safeguarding the delivery of health services to communities across the Northern Territory
Using our bespoke methodology, Aurecon was able to provide the client with an unprecedented level of detail on the condition of the DoH assets. For example, this now included visibility of the condition of the carpet in a specific room, on a specific floor, in a specific building, and a plan around timing and estimated cost to replace it.
We also created a comprehensive Total Asset Management Plan that details all required maintenance activities and associated costs for the next 15 years. This will enable the DIPL to accurately monitor the health of the assets and allocate investment where it is needed most.
The DoH and DIPL previously had a largely reactive approach to asset management, so Aurecon’s work will help them stay on top of the maintenance programme and get more value from the maintenance budget. We took a human-centric approach to our recommendations – for example, prioritising painting patient-facing spaces and front-of-house areas more regularly than plant rooms, which are only visited by technical staff once a month for maintenance purposes. Over time, this kind of decision making will help reduce maintenance costs.
Both departments now have the information they need to maintain efficient, clean and inviting health facilities across the State, ensuring all communities have access to high quality health services. Benefits will further increase over time as DIPL and DoH build a repository of historical data about the asset performance to improve quality of RLA, ultimately helping improve capital utilisation and asset lifecycle management budget efficiency to enhance health services to the Northern Territory.
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