The latest asset management practices for safer streets and green spaces

The latest asset management practices for safer streets and green spaces

When going out everyone should be able to walk without the risk of injury. Unfortunately, accidents in places that permits access to the public in urban and rural settings are common and still occur. There is a common misconception that the only spaces considered to be public are those owned by the local council; this is not the case, privately owned venues, lands and any other places are also governed by the same rules. Public bodies and private businesses have a legal duty of care to ensure they have taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety of anyone permitted to access their premises or land, that it is kept in a safe state of repair and failure to make the necessary repairs means that they could be held liable for any injuries sustained on their premises.

Open space includes greenspace and hard landscaped areas, as well as aquatic open spaces and may consist of country, cultural and heritage parks, woodlands, community gardens, equipped play areas & multi use games areas, sports facilities and playing fields, mountain bike and horse-riding trails, cemeteries, churchyards other burial facilities, war memorials & monuments, water courses and open water features, promenades, residential greenspace and related car parking.

What is asset management? Asset management is about how assets are looked after, both on a daily basis and in the medium-to-long term. A part of local authority’s annual spend is devoted to the repair and maintenance to ensure that the assets retain their service potential over the course of their useful life. The cost of maintaining an asset decreases with planned maintenance rather than unplanned maintenance, however, excessive planned maintenance increases costs. An objective of asset management is to time infrastructure renewals in the most cost effective way, before unplanned maintenance costs become excessive, but not too soon that assets are renewed before it is really needed. Historically, these activities have been aligned with Asset management policies and Asset management strategies to balance compliance with regulatory requirements and proposed funding requirements to provide the required levels of service a range. Safety risks are currently identified through formal and informal inspection and reporting. The assets are then categorized, and priority repairs are carried out accordingly. In line with guidance set by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) the condition of play areas and equipment are normally assessed on a weekly basis. This regime is supplemented by a detailed annual assessment undertaken to inform the program. Street furniture and lighting are informally assessed by streetscene officers and operatives as part of the maintenance scheduled and replaced on an ‘as required’ basis.  Maintenance includes assessing the condition against failure/breakdown experience, prioritising, scheduling, actioning the work and reporting what was done to develop a maintenance history.

The demand for open space asset management is relatively constant, however, legislation changes, technological and environmental drivers, population growth and consumer preferences may impact future service delivery and lead to increased request on public bodies and private business in managing their assets.

Technology for a stronger approach to asset management:

If you are exploring the latest solutions with a stronger risk-based approach, it could be the right time for considering Ezyasset, our asset mapping and management system.

Our system is designed to support users to overcome park, grounds and landscape feature monitoring and management challenges in areas such as: inspection regimes, public safety, timely identification of hazards, response to complaints, resource allocation and budgeting. It will help you with adopting a strategic approach to asset and associated infrastructure management and maintenance by identifying and prioritising needs across the open space as a whole, all based on high quality data supported by sound records, procedures and analysis.