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Asset Naming Convention/Standards

  • 1.  Asset Naming Convention/Standards

    Posted 03 July 2018 20:47

    Hi all,

    Here at the City of Marion we have an exciting opportunity to completely restructure our asset hierarchy and establish some solid asset data standards. We currently don't have a standard approach to naming assets within the register, which has led to confusion, and in some cases, multiple records of the same asset.

    I'm interested to hear anyone's tips and tricks to identify and write a standard for asset naming. Any advice or examples would be greatly appreciated!

    Best regards,

    Ellen Carter
    City of Marion
    Pro Cert 2

  • 2.  RE: Asset Naming Convention/Standards

    Posted 05 July 2018 18:42
    My suggestion would be if you have not done so would be to establish and clearly define your asset classes. This would probably also require some debate and discussion around the existing processes, with multiple interested parties and include how duplicates are created. Once you have defined your asset classes Asset Owners will need to be assigned with clear responsibilities for asset creation, management and retirement.

    Asset naming in terms of establishing standards typically revolves around the desire for humans to embed attributes into codes. This can create huge codes which in turn creates multiple issues. Asset codes should be simple. I would suggest The Asset Class followed by a simple sequential number. The Asset Codes should be computer generated to eliminate duplicates and preferably at a single source with a process to ensure a minimum set of attributes is established before code creation. The computer system should be sufficient to put in the simple asset code and all its attributes should come up. So part of discussion should be around what attributes for the asset does the organisation want. You will find different parts of the organisation want different things and this may require careful analysis design and the establishment of data owners.

    Further the information will need to flow through the organisation. This in turn imply service agreements between parties that verifiable information is entered at source prior to it being passed on. Accountability is the key word. Good luck with this, if are you successful you will have cracked it. . .

    Pro Cert 2

  • 3.  RE: Asset Naming Convention/Standards

    Posted 05 July 2018 19:49
    The need to develop an appropriate Asset Hierarchy is perhaps one of the most critical aspects in developing a robust asset management system as well as enabling data to be used to drive asset valuations. No doubt there are also other information needs. I am currently undertaking such a project for a national overseas government for whole-of-government purposes with the project being funded by the Asian Development Bank.

    From the project, and based on our experience of over 30 years developing asset hierarchies, I would like to share a few thoughts -

    • the hierarchy for asset management planning may not satisfy the needs to enable asset valuation. However a good design should have an extremely high level of correlation
    • For asset management you need to think about different service levels, treatment regimes and costs
    • For asset valuation and depreciation, while it sounds similar to asset management, the focus will be on different costs, modern equivalent designs and useful life assessments
    • Try not to build a complex code comprising multiple attributes
    • Instead simply identify the key factors/attributes relevant for each of your different information needs and allocate against the specific asset.
    • Any good database should be able to extract the various attributes an enable you to create unique hierarchies for each specific information need.
    However, perhaps the biggest challenge relates to the level and complexity of the data held in the current system. While asset hierarchies for roads and buildings are very easily done it is whole different story with water and waste water as well as the myriad of other road infrastructure and drainage assets. Often councils want to change the hierarchy but there are too many barriers associated with the data structure of their existing system. This includes inabilities to satisfy the asset accounting requirements including things like the AASB Residual Value Decision.

    Having also just delivered a hierarchy for another large regional local government I think it also important to note that the data required to drive decisions in different entities is normally very similar but does require some tailoring to reflect local factors.

    If you like I am more than happy to share the Rationale for Asset Hierarchy for the overseas government with you as well as provide some examples of hierarchies for consideration.

    David Edgerton. FCPA
    Director APV Valuers and Asset Management
    Director Asset Valuer Pro

    Pro Cert 2

  • 4.  RE: Asset Naming Convention/Standards

    Posted 05 October 2020 23:54
    Hi David,

    I am in the process of implementing a standard asset naming convention for our council. Are you able to provide me with any examples and procedures you have?


    Narrabri Shire Council

    Narrabri Shire Council

    Pro Cert 2

  • 5.  RE: Asset Naming Convention/Standards

    Posted 05 July 2018 19:48
    Hi Ellen

    At Charters Towers we use RD for road BD for building etc, followed by the road number, road section and then an item code.  An example would be RD3705005SAS for Gill Street, Mosman to Deane, asphalt seal.

    There are so many ways to name and label but we find it less confusing and easier to spot errors or duplications when there's a 'human' recognition pattern involved.


    Pro Cert 2

  • 6.  RE: Asset Naming Convention/Standards

    Posted 05 July 2018 21:50
    Hi Ellen,

    It is a great opportunity.

    As valuers observing registers we find many FAR's  reflect accounting entries and don't always make sense at first glance. So I guess the first step might be to decide who Council is intending these new (if any) naming standards to be used by (internal/external, both), for what purpose and importantly, who will be tasked with making the entries.

    One of the most common issues we encounter involve the vagaries between the building, structure, site improvements and infrastructure categories.  We continually find similar assets across all these categories which must be a nightmare for asset management.

    We also come across a number of registers that are burdened down by complexity when a simple approach achieves similar results. Then there is the connectivity between assets and their components, so correct naming upfront enables Council to create  tiered nomenclature that insures against misinterpretation.

    Asset definitions have been developed by the Australian Property Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and these may assist in the tangible asset categories. When we provide this advice to clients we always start at the top (i.e. tangible, intangible) and work our way through the entire asset list. Even though we have done this many times it seems to be the best approach as the temptation to jump forward can ruin the foundation of the hierarchy.

    Also, once you think you  have come up with a solution, bullet proof it by undertaking a blind review using non-asset management  personnel.

    Good luck

    Martin Burns
    National Director - Valuation
    Liquid Pacific
    North Sydney NSW 2060

    Pro Cert 2

  • 7.  RE: Asset Naming Convention/Standards

    Posted 08 July 2018 18:51
    Hi all,

    If you are not already aware, Austroads have been working on this for a few years, predominantly about standardising asset data categories.  Details of the ongoing project can be found here:
    Road Data Harmonisation Project - Austroads
    Austroads remove preview
    Road Data Harmonisation Project - Austroads
    Austroads is undertaking an ambitious project to establish a harmonised road asset data standard for use in Australia and New Zealand. The Data Standard for Road Management and Investment Project has been initiated in response to requests from stakeholders who increasingly need to share data with other road management agencies but are frustrated by the lack of common data standards.
    View this on Austroads >

    They have published some reports which can be found here:
    Second edition of Austroads' Data Standard includes new data groups and priority subsets - Austroads
    Austroads remove preview
    Second edition of Austroads' Data Standard includes new data groups and priority subsets - Austroads
    Austroads has published the second version of the Data Standard for Road Management and Investment. The Austroads Road Data Standard Project was initiated in response to requests from stakeholders who increasingly need to share data with other road agencies but are frustrated by the lack of common data definitions and formats.
    View this on Austroads >

    There is some useful guidance on treatment of discrete vs. linear assets, and provides a broader context of asset management requirements, including levels of service.

    It's not perfect but worth a look in my humble opinion.

    Also Aurizon have just been through a process of defining and standardising the assets on their network.  They have some lessons learned about the process, and I'm sure they'd be happy to discuss with you if you were interested in hearing their perspective.
    My contact details are below if you wish to make contact with their asset manager.

    Torill Pape

    Associate Director – Asset Management: Structures
    0428 912 351

    Pro Cert 2

  • 8.  RE: Asset Naming Convention/Standards

    Posted 16 July 2018 20:46
    ​Thanks for the question Ellen.  It is an interesting one.

    I believe that it is really useful to give assets in some asset classes an intuitive human understandable name.  Buildings and bridges being two good examples.  On the other hand I don't think there is much value in giving other asset types (e.g. stormwater pipes) a name - although it might make certain reports generated by asset management systems look/work better if you copy the 'Asset ID' to the 'Asset Name' field.

    When a human understandable name is desirable I prefer the name to be composed of a location, a special identifier (if necessary) and an asset type, e.g.

    Main Street No.1 Pump Station
    Main Street No.2 Pump Station
    McArthur Park Playground
    Winding Road Ship Creek Bridge
    Winding Road Broken River Road Bridge
    Winding Road Broken River Pedestrian Bridge
    Mildura Recreation Reserve Football Pavilion

    Although the location might not be necessary if the asset has a very well known special identifier. e.g.

    Eiffel Tower
    Bolte Bridge

    One of the things I think you need to be very careful about is being very clear about if you are referring to a 'building' or a 'facility' or a 'site'.

    Kindergartens are a good example.  Let's say we have a 'Sesame Street Kindergarten' in our municipality.  When I refer to 'Sesame Street Kindergarten' above am I talking about just the main building or everything located within the site, such as the playground and standalone shade structures?.

    I think the best way to tackle this is to treat 'Sesame Street Kindergarten' as the site name and to name the assets something like this:

    Sesame Street Kindergarten Main Building
    Sesame Street Kindergarten Playground
    Sesame Street Kindergarten No.1 Shade Structure
    Sesame Street Kindergarten No.2 Shade Structure

    On the other hand in the case of a hall, I think people see halls as a building not a site, so perhaps the building is

    Hinkler Street Hall

    But if you want to refer to the overall site you call it something like

    Hinkler Street Hall Grounds

    Hope that all helps, and isn't just confusing.



    Wayne Eddy
    Strategic Asset Planning Coordinator
    City of Whittlesea

    Pro Cert 2