Improved methods for waterfront facility management



Kurt A. Keifer, Structural Engineering & Mechanics Group, CTLGroup, Inc., Skokie, Il, USA


Application of engineered management system and condition index concepts

Waterfront facility management dilemma

Agencies in the public and private sectors have attempted to address waterfront facility management by developing various inspection and maintenance programmes. Efforts have focused primarily on the evaluation of structural elements, which typically represent the greatest life safety concern. These efforts have been directed toward: (1) defining the types of inspections necessary to evaluate a facility, (2) developing rational criteria for determining inspection frequencies, and (3) developing recommendations for the types of inspection data that should be collected and how these data should be reported.

Procedures developed thus far have assumed that a trained Professional/Structural Engineer will perform the inspections, and that the engineer performing the  inspection will be capable of both understanding the significance of defects on the durability and integrity of a facility and providing a subjective assessment of the condition of the facility. In addition, the engineer is responsible for recommending the most appropriate repair method for any defects encountered, developing a cost estimate for all the required repairs, and ranking the priority with which each of the repairs should be performed.

This strategy may work well for engineers and managers responsible for a small number of facilities. However, for individuals overseeing many facilities and interpreting the inspection data from several different inspectors, attempting to allocate funding becomes a serious problem.

Engineered management systems

An Engineered Management System (EMS) is a set of methods and procedures for: (1) performing objective and repeatable facility inspections, (2) assessing current and predicting future facility condition, and (3) developing optimal multi-year maintenance and repair (M&R) plans. These tools provide engineers and managers with the means for determining and justifying M&R and budget requirements. EMSs generally consist of the following modules, which are typically developed as part of a software system:

1. Inventory

2. Inspection and Condition Assessment

3. Condition Deterioration Modeling

4. Condition Analysis

5. M&R Planning

EMS development was spearheaded in the late 1970s by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL). Several EMSs have since been developed to assist in managing a variety of facility types. The four more widely used EMSs include: MicroPAVER, for managing airfield and roadway pavements; BUILDER and ROOFER, for managing buildings and roofs; and RAILER, for managing low volume rail. All of these government-produced EMSs are currently available to the public.

An EMS for waterfront facility management

“The bottom line here is that [the Navy’s] old, deteriorating infrastructure is negatively impacting readiness,” stated Rear Admiral David Pruett, Director of the Civil  Engineering Division under the Chief of Naval Operations, on 26 April 2001 before the US House Armed Services Committee. In an effort to better manage its  waterfront infrastructure, the US Navy has funded initial development of the aptly named WHARFER EMS, which will assist engineers and managers in all aspects of waterfront facility management. It will provide a complete, standardised inventory hierarchy for piers and wharves as well as methods and procedures for performing above- and below-water inspections. The system will also provide tools for determining condition deterioration behaviour and predicting condition over time. Lastly, it will assist engineers and managers in determining multi-year work and budget requirements.

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