Embedding new science into practice – lessons from the development and application of a Performance-based Asset Management System

Embedding new science into practice – lessons from the development and application of a Performance-based Asset Management System.
Mitchell, C.and Tarrant, O. and Denness, D. and Sayers, P.B. and Simm, J.D. and Bramley, M.E.
In: FLOODrisk 2008, 30 September - 2 October 2008, Keble College, Oxford, UK. (2008)

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Abstract:The UK Environment Agency is developing an improved performance and risk based approach to asset management associated with flood and coastal defences. This utilises a number of advances made within the research community over the past five-ten years, in particular the so-called PAMS methods—Performancebased Asset Management System. Delivering innovation into practice however requires significant effort, and this effort is often under-estimated. This paper explores the barriers and facilitators of moving innovative and potentially beneficial science into good practice. This is done with reference to specific examples drawn from the development of the PAMS including issues associated with achieving buy-in from multiple users. For example take-up can be undermined by researchers through over-selling the utility and readiness of the science as well as by potential users through resistance to change and perceived loss of commercial advantage. An important means of overcoming these hurdles is the process of piloting and independent verification of the methods. This paper explores how close working with specific end-users within the Thames Estuary Flood Risk Management Planning Team (TE2100) team as well as national and local Environment Agency (EA) asset management staff has helped build trust in the science and demonstrate its benefits. Access to the new tools, user skill and training, and crucially the on-going support for these, also plays an important part. Through the UK Conveyance Estimation System (CES) the research community has significantly improved the way that managers can explore the impact of changes to management practice on channel performance. Delivering the CES tool into practice however has highlighted the time and effort needed to implement a new software product as an operational tool—for example, dealing with liability, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Information Technology (IT); support and training as well as developing and embedding associated policy guidance. Where new tools challenge existing paradigms and traditional approaches take up can be slow. There is an onus on researchers to engage with, and demonstrate utility to, industry and there is an onus on industry to be willing to accommodate change. For example PAMS includes a move towards reliability- based assessment of asset performance under load. Concepts of fragility curves, where performance is considered probabilistically across a wide spectrum of loading, challenge a more traditional deterministic consideration of design loads. This paper highlights how close working with engineering practice through examples and sequential steps forward has helped explore these issues and promote take-up; it also highlights how difficult this road can sometimes be.
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects:Floods > Asset management
Floods > General
ID Code:246
Deposited On:30 Oct 2008 18:43
Last Modified:08 Aug 2014 06:14

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