ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE SERVICE DELIVERY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Experience with a great many consultants over the past 20 years reveals that in the absence of client stated clearly defined parameters, most consultants tend to default to cookie cutter report formats,” wrote Joe McGowan, Director of Public Works (retired) with the City of Cranbrook, in an article written for the Asset Management BC Newsletter (October 2021)
NOTE TO READER:
The Fall 2021 issue of the Asset Management BC Newsletter includes an article by Joe McGowan, retired Director of Public Works. Titled “AM – A Review of Consulting Best Practices: Opinion from a retired Public Works Manager”, the article is insightful in shining a light on the fact that most consultants have little to no operations and maintenance knowledge and experience as their primary role as design consultants.
An Experienced Public Works Manager’s Reflections on the Importance of Relevant and Directly Related Experience
“The majority of consultant asset management (AM) related reports describe a catastrophic scenario where the municipality is in a crisis situation due to large portions of its infrastructure deemed to be past its useful life,” stated Joe McGowan in his opening sentence. “The reports often communicate the need for immediate replacement of assets at costs that are multiples, if not tens of multiples of the municipality’s annual capital budget.
“So, why is this occurring? Consultants providing AM services to local governments are not the ‘Bad Guy’. Municipal governments are not providing outside consultants with clear direction as to the nature of the problem being explored and the specific details required by the client of any analysis. This client-consultant model is creating panic and information bottlenecks that are impeding implementation of asset management plans by local governments.”
“Experience with a great many consultants over the past 20 years reveals that in the absence of client stated clearly defined parameters, most consultants tend to default to cookie cutter report formats. The consultant’s report summaries and recommendations are often supported by generic cookie cutter background data that the consultant purports will match the general nature of the problem they are commissioned to analyze and recommend a course of action.”
“Local Governments need to more clearly define exactly what they want and what they need from a consultant and clearly specify the deliverable and the scope of those, not leave it to the consultants’ best guess,” concluded Joe McGowan.
TO LEARN MORE:
To read the complete article by Joe McGowan, download a copy of AM – A Review of Consulting Best Practices: Opinion from a retired Public Works Manager.