Advance Australia Fair

Overlooking the nation’s capital, Australian Parliament House in Canberra is the heart of Australian parliamentary democracy and one of the largest public building projects to ever be built in the southern hemisphere.


This year marks 30 years since Australian Parliament House officially opened in Canberra.

Built at a cost of $1.1 billion, the building was designed to have a national life of at least 200 years and replaced the provisional Parliament House (now known as Old Parliament House), which served the nation for 61 years between 1927 and 1988.

Fundamental to its design was a capacity for the building to respond to the changing demands of Australia’s Parliament. While much of this capacity can be attributed to the original design of Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp Architects, the management of the building has been critical to ensuring its longevity.

In May 2017 the Department of Parliamentary Services engaged A.G. Coombs Advisory to review the systems and processes used to manage Parliament House’s engineering assets.

After completing an asset condition audit, A.G. Coombs spent seven months developing a predictive asset management system to enhance building management into the future.

Designed to allow assets to be replaced “just in time”, predictive asset management systems provide for better long-term maintenance cost projections and capital expenditure planning, optimising expenditure and resource planning.

The asset management system designed by A.G. Coombs Advisory for Australian Parliament House meets the ISO 55000 international standard covering the management of physical engineering assets.

It takes into account the life-cycle of almost every asset in the building – from hard services such as mechanical, electrical, fire, hydraulics and plumbing equipment, to the carpet. The system can even account for items of infrastructure not normally considered as assets, such as copper piping networks that are prone to leaks at an age of 30 to 40 years.

Asset “parent/child relationships” have also been identified and recorded to give facility managers a better understanding of the network of assets in the building, and the impact each has on another.

As with all analytics, the success of a predictive asset management system relies heavily on the accuracy and quality of the data provided.

The system designed for Australian Parliament House integrates with the department’s existing maintenance and service systems, to capture data from both in-house maintenance activities as well as the activities of external contractors.

It attributes a broad range of information to each asset including installation date, criticality ranking, failure risk consequence, expected life, running time, calculated life, replacement cost, condition rating, obsolescent date and reason, replacement value and other factors such as environment, maintenance and operation.

This information is then reported by the dashboard to provide the department with an overview of the state of all assets including current condition, projected costs and project capital requirements – as well as the status of maintenance works.

While still early in its implementation at Australian Parliament House, it is expected that the predictive asset management system will lead to improved system performance and provide the department with the tools and information necessary for life cycle planning and capital expenditure budgeting – both for the short and long term.

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