Asset inspections

For assets to operate effectively they need to be maintained to a point such that the risk of a fault or failure is eliminated or minimised to their lowest level. This proactive risk-based approach, as opposed to a reactive response or a routine maintenance cycle, can be targeted to specific needs, in turn prioritised by the scale of risk, asset value, refurbishment cost, consequential costs (which may be the highest cost by a significant factor) and current condition.

To understand all of those factors the asset owner would need to include a formal asset appraisal or inspection. It’s a process we are very familiar with;­ right now we’re helping to manage this very process in respect of the Environment Agency’s active flood risk assets in the Thames estuary in England.

We have the technical experience to know when a routine visual inspection will suffice, and when to move to a more thorough engineering inspection or a specialist investigation -­ perhaps requiring computer modelling to help understand the asset’s integrity and predict any potential for failure. These reviews, carried out in conjunction with risk and performance assessments, will help to ensure an efficient management of assets (which we can also undertake) and, thereby, a financial and, at worse, traumatic cost saving for the asset owner.

Straying with flood protection assets as an example, our experience has always been to go beyond the primary asset itself and extend our inspection to the transition elements; for example the ‘join’ between a more recently built defence structure and an established flood embankment.

Asset degradation can be brought about by any number of causes (and combination of causes); from extreme weather to vandalism; from animal burrowing to scouring. KGAL’s engineers can undertake investigations, at various levels of intensity, to provide asset owners with reliable survey reports.

At a basic level these reports will provide an overview, give constructive feedback to the owner’s own maintenance regime and indicate whether the degree of inspection level needs elevating; at the highest level our comprehensive inspection report will identify any repairs to mitigate risk and, if required, the cost of those repairs along with our own submissions in terms of future project management.

The photograph is of Earlstoun Power Station in Scotland where we were asked by Enterprise Engineering Services Ltd to carry out a full assessment of the two intake gates. Based on our findings, Scottish Power decided to replace the gates, awarding the contract EESL who retained us to undertake the design.