Managing University Assets for Future Sustainability

Travis Gilbertson, Technical Director Asset Management, delivered a presentation at the Tertiary Education Management Conference 2018 in Perth, alongside Harish Patel, Portfolio Manager Asset Planning and Sustainability, Curtin University.

Together, they shared insights on the innovative Strategic Asset Management Planning process (SAMP) which was recently developed for Curtin University in Western Australia to plan for the long-term sustainability of its built assets and infrastructure.


Travis said, “In delivering and maintaining the sustainable, versatile and innovative campuses of the future, universities face many challenges. Combatting ageing buildings and infrastructure, while at the same time providing infrastructure aligned with a dynamic and evolving business model are top of mind.


As digital technologies transform the learning experience and disrupt the traditional models of education and research, there are additional factors which are impacting the design of modern campuses. These include a rise in collaborative spaces to foster connectivity and an emphasis on indoor environmental quality to nurture the health and wellbeing of students. There is a fine balance that needs to be achieved between maintaining existing assets and creating new assets that meet the dynamic needs of the users in order to provide a positive experience.”


The presentation took delegates on Curtin University’s journey to strategic asset portfolio management which is framed on the international standard ISO 55001. This process focused on three main considerations: stakeholder engagement, the development of a live infrastructure planning solution and sustainable change.  Eventually this process will be digitally systemised to become an engaging ‘real-time’ planning portal, informed by asset performance, risk and cost within an organisationally strategic aligned framework.


Travis says, “As part of our engagement, we developed a solution that balances the needs of all stakeholders and incorporates the key areas of projected growth for the campus as well as guiding the maintenance strategy of existing assets – a real concern with many facilities nearing the end of their life – and the evolving requirements of the facilities.


“The SAMP has set out to maximise the intrinsic value of the university’s assets with an innovative approach that has integrated people, processes and technology. With thorough stakeholder engagement and by adopting a top-down and bottom-up planning viewpoint, we have created a solution that optimises the required assets and the associated ownership costs.


“The delivery of appropriate built assets and infrastructure starts with a robust planning process that aligns the business needs of the university with the value of the assets. The challenge, from an organisational perspective lies in aligning and developing the management system used to ensure objectivity, consistency, transparency and robustness in facilities.”


“Overall, this innovative approach has enabled several positive outcomes for the university including a boost in confidence in asset planning and delivery, an increase in the sustainability of the infrastructure, an improvement in stakeholder engagement leading to better asset management outcomes and enhancements in asset management performance monitoring (portfolio level, assets, risk and cost).”


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