Several approaches may be necessary to get a good start on the asset inventory. A utility should use as many approaches as it deems necessary to get the best initial inventory of assets.

An obvious question when gathering data for an asset inventory is how much time will it take to gather the asset data? The answer will vary from utility to utility based on the overall number of assets, the number of utility staff, the overall area covered by the assets (size of community for water or wastewater pipes), and the quantity of data being collected on each asset. Gathering data can be a time consuming activity, but it is manageable if it is done in a systematic way or completed in phases.

We could actually speed up the process... if we just came out and took a picture.
--Mark Winslow, Albuquerque, NM


The easiest time to collect data is when assets are newly installed. If the new assets are installed as part of a large construction project or upgrade, the utility can direct the consultant or construction contractor to provide the data on the new assets. However, the consultant or construction contractor Request for Proposal (RFP) must state that there is an expectation that at the end of the project, the data on the assets will be provided to the utility. The RFP should also specify the format in which the data should be provided (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, Microsoft Access database, other) and this format should be compatible with the format the utility is using for its asset inventory. If the RFP does not include this provision, the contractor may ask for additional money in order to collect the data. In addition, the requested data should match the quantity and type of data currently included in the asset inventory.