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Tips for creating an asset register | SWG

An asset register is a list of assets in Word, Excel, CAFM software or even on paper with details such as location and condition to help an organisation ascertain what it owns or leases, find out where that asset resides and who is responsible for it.

While having an up-to-date asset register is advantageous to support informed decision making, compliance and operational efficiency, not every organisation has one. The costs of hiring a third party to survey the site or drawing resources from the in-house team can cause a barrier. So, we’ve created this guide to help make the job easier.

Consider what should be included in the asset register

FM-related assets typically fall into three classes: property, fixed assets and removable assets. The asset register should typically only include details of the last two categories as property assets are likely to be kept in a separate register.

The asset register is tailored to your organisation, and can include anything the FM team would like to track maintenance against. For example, machinery, vehicles, windows, floors; one of our clients has included their trees in order to create care and maintenance schedules against them.

As asset register can be built in stages, rather than tackle the whole project in one go. FMs should consider what would work best for their operational strategy. It could be compiled campus by campus, for a single building, or an area within it (like a floor or room). Alternatively, it could be built by equipment types. High priority items like boilers and air handling units (AHUs) can be added first, and then expand the register to the next level priority. In this way, the benefits can start to be felt, and lessons learned along the way will inform and expediate future additions.

Information required for an asset register

New clients come to us with a variety of different circumstances. Some have basic information on a spreadsheet, some a full asset register ready to transfer from their previous CAFM software, and some build one with our help.

In order to populate the asset register within QFM, we need a minimum of four pieces of information. The first two are for categorisation to assign assets into sets based on a number of common characteristics, making the data easier to use. This is equipment group (for example, electrical system, fixed plant / equipment, external fabric) and model (for example, door access control, fire extinguisher – carbon dioxide, window – external). We also require a unique ID for each asset and the geography (or location). Plus, anything specific to your site or operation that needs to be captured.

Information gathered can be kept to this level of details, or bolstered to include data such as model, manufacturer, description, serial number, warranty dates, asset criticality, installation date, expiry date, cost, and supplier details – all depending on your requirements.

Asset identification

When it comes to assigning an asset ID, this could be any random alpha / numeric combination but implementing a naming convention gives meaning to the code outside of the CAFM software, such as when reading reports or reviewing the data. For example, fire doors in a hospital could be prefixed FDR, then followed by AAW for acute admissions ward, followed by a unique number string. This also makes it simpler to add assets in the future, keeping the register up-to-date.

Alternatively, assets can be assigned IDs using UniClass, a unified classification system for the built environment with codes available for a whole facility right down to a door hinge. Use of UniClass codes enable compliance with classification standard ISO 12006-2 (building construction – organization of information about construction works), and UniClass coding is now integral to BIM and the ISO 19650 information management process. This ensures organisations worldwide can collaborate on a project and work with standardized data.

Asset groups for data management and PPMs

In addition to assets being categorized using equipment group and model, FMs can create asset groups to improve planned preventative maintenance (PPM) scheduling. An asset group is not listed on the asset register but does use the data from it, and could be created using any criteria in order to group similar assets and assign them maintenance. For example, an asset group could encompass all the boilers on site for compliance checks, or everything within a room to create a scheduled service for cleaning. It could be very specific: one of our clients has created an asset group for window components (e.g. the glass, frame, restrictor and ironwork). In this way, PPMs can be assigned more easily to operatives, and ensures each asset within the group is checked and signed off.

Use barcodes for asset tagging

Adding barcodes to assets can bring great operational benefits. Operatives can scan the barcode with their CAFM app or phone camera in order to view asset details such as maintenance history, outstanding tasks, and usual manuals. This time saver is easy to roll out. FMs can buy pre-printed barcode stickers and use the number on the barcode as the asset ID within QFM or other CAFM software to form the link between the asset and its data.

Barcodes also provide an easy way for FM management teams to ensure required duties are being undertaken. Asking the operative to scan a barcode on a wall or door confirms proof-of-presence, allowing the team to demonstrate professionalism, compliance, or security measures. The software could also be set up so that work cannot be completed until the code is scanned, further safeguarding standards.

BIM and asset data

At SWI, we’re big advocates of building information modelling, or BIM. This process provides FM teams with all the data they need about their site, which would normally be lost as project ownership is transferred between design, construction and operation. With BIM, all information is stored centrally and is accessible by all stakeholders. This means FMs have access to the original plans, an as-built model of the finished site, all materials used throughout, and of course all assets and corresponding data such as serial numbers, parts, warranty, purchase information, location etc. CAFM providers can take this asset information and upload it to CAFM software to create the register, ready to be used for maintenance scheduling, reporting and more.

For more information about creating an asset register, or to find out how our CAFM software, QFM, can improve maintenance and asset management at your organisation, contact us here.


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