Hi Andrew,This is my spin.
The International Infrastructure Management Manual talks about Core and Advanced levels of asset management and the differences in both approaches. The choice of which approach an organisation takes on can impact the organisations ability to achieve the potential benefits realised through thorough asset management practices particularly when it comes to delivering services to community expectations in the most efficient way.
Basic Asset Management ideology suggests that a seal/asphalt surface or a paved road surface is a valid component of a road. Equally clear is that the pavement (base and/or sub base layer/s ) are also valid components of the road, and the same with the subgrade or the roads Formation. Each layer performs a different function, has different characteristics, most definitely different lives and their individual value is of material significance. Hence, we have Seal Designs and Pavement Designs in road construction.
The argument that not maintaining the seal does not alter the life of the Road lacks merit. Engineering principles suggest all evidence to the contrary with respect to this argument.
The analogy that "painting a building is like resurfacing a road" is misleading. If you paint the roof of a building, the covering (Roof Sheeting) is the asset component, not the paint.
An appropriate analogy would be that the seal/surface of a road is like the roof sheeting of a building. If you don't repair/maintain the roof sheeting then the roof structure, ceilings, floor coverings and floor structure of the "Building" would deteriorate at an accelerated rate and would all need replacing allot sooner than if it was adequately maintained.
Pothole patching is equivalent to Painting a building. Resurfacing/sealing a road is like replacing the roof sheeting of a building.
Essentially, for many organisations, it is easier to account for asset disposals, renewals and asset recognition on a "Road" approach, than it is to account for individual road components. It can also be less beneficial to the organisation when trying to align long term asset renewal programmes with community expectations in an efficient and economically sound manner.
From my point of view, the benefits of financially componentising road assets are:
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