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Can we afford a Strategic asset management framework?

24th March 2015

 

Shane Edmonds put this question forward at last year's Australasian Housing Institute (AHI) Asset Management Professional Practice Seminar in Perth. It created quite a stir. More and more community housing providers in Australia are using Strategic Asset Management Framework (SAMF) as a compass to set the direction on the utilisation of their assets. It is the proven framework based around current policies and standards for organisations to better understand and manage their physical assets. Yet how many housing organisations can really afford a SAMF?

Housing providers across Australia are required to implement a SAMF so that their asset planning is integrated with their corporate planning and so that assets are well managed throughout their life cycle. For community housing providers to reach tier 1 classification and receive the associated benefits such as transfer of housing stock from their State Government, they are required to have a documented asset management plan and asset register. A SAMF will provide this whilst also connect planning decisions that consider the business and its reason for being, current assets and future capital requirements as a whole. It provides a sound basis for decisions regarding the investment in, and the management and disposal of assets.

Despite the known benefits, the largest challenges facing Asset Managers is that a SAMF is resource intensive and needs to be embraced across the whole organisation. Shane says you need to convince yourself, the Board, CEO and funder of the absolute need. You need to know why your organisation exists and how will a SAMF enable that. It’s important to know your stock and capture that knowledge, then you need to keep it contemporary so that it remains useful.

As to whether housing organisations really afford a SAMF, Shane’s response is simple - you can’t afford not to. A SAMF needs to be fit for the purpose and size of the business. It does need to be scaled to the level of your businesses maturity and take into account current and future operations. Unless we apply its doctrine we can never be sure if our spend is targeted effectively to deliver on sustaining our business. We can't afford not to.

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