Get to know the PAS 55 asset management standard

Mike Poland, Life Cycle Engineering

You may have heard the term PAS 55 and wondered how it applies to you. Here’s some background to help you understand what it is and where we go from here.

In 2004, the British Standards Institute (BSI), in collaboration with the Institute of Asset Management, released Publicly Available Specification 55 part 1 and 2, which was considered the first internationally recognized specification for asset management.

Here’s how PAS 55 is described on the British Standards Institute Web site:

The standard is split into two parts:

  • Part 1 – Specification for the optimized management of physical infrastructure assets
  • Part 2 – Guidelines for the application of PAS 55-1

Part 1 of PAS 55 specifies the requirements for an asset management system for the management of physical assets and asset systems over their life cycles. The management of physical assets is inextricably linked to the management of other asset types and these other asset types are considered within the asset management system insofar as they have a direct impact on the management of physical assets.

For example, the optimal life cycle management of physical assets is heavily dependent upon information and knowledge, human assets and financial resources, and often has a significant impact on reputation and customer satisfaction.

Applying PAS 55 can help your organization demonstrate a high level of professionalism in whole life cycle management of its physical assets. Use it to help you:

  • Establish an asset management system to optimally and sustainably manage physical assets
  • Implement, maintain and improve an asset management system
  • Comply with asset management policy and strategy
  • Demonstrate compliance to others
  • Seek certification/registration of your asset management system by an external organization
  • Make a self-determination and self-declaration of compliance with this PAS.

PAS 55-1 describes asset management as the systematic and coordinated activities and practices through which an organization optimally and sustainably manages its assets and asset systems, their associated performance, risks and expenditures over their life cycles for the purpose of achieving its organizational strategic plan. (British Standards Institution, 2010)

In 2008, PAS 55-1 and 2 were updated and the groundwork was laid to move this specification into a standard. In June 2010, a New Work Item Proposal on Asset Management was reviewed at an ISO preliminary meeting, which approved forming Planning Committee 251. PC 251 will be charged with developing an ISO standard on asset management using BSI PAS 55:2008 as a starting place.

Since there is currently no standard on asset management and the approach of this committee is to develop a standard that is more business-centric than asset-centric, the new standard will not only pertain to physical assets but to all other organizational assets as well. It will explain what to do, not how to do it, and finally allow organizations to self-declare conformity. It is important to reliability and maintenance professionals to realize that we will finally have to partner with the rest of our organization to develop a proactive life cycle asset management strategy that focuses on driving the greatest asset utilization and return on net assets while lowering the overall total cost of ownership.

This will require us to develop plant partnerships with our IT peers to collaborate on designing and configuring our management information systems to support asset management best practices. We also will need to understand the marketing and production metrics so that we may seamlessly integrate physical asset management into the overall asset management strategy of the organization, all in support of our corporate objectives. If you have not read PAS 55, do yourself and your organization a favor and review it. Part 1 is the specification for the optimized management of physical assets and Part 2 contains the guidelines for applying the specification. If you are familiar with reliability and operational excellence, this specification will not be new to you; actually, it will be common sense. I see the path of creating this standard as making common sense common practice, as Ron Moore explains in his book by that title. (Moore, 2004)

Figure 1. PAS 55-1:2008 Asset Management – Specification for the Optimized Management of Physical Assets

Works cited

  • British Standards Institution. (November 12, 2010). PAS 55-1:2008. Retrieved November 12, 2010, from BSI SHOP Link
  • Moore, Ron. (2004). Making Common Sense Common Practice. Elsevier: Butterworth-Heinemann.

This article first appeared in the Life Cycle Engineering newsletter RxToday.

About the author:
Mike Poland, CMRP, is the director of Life Cycle Engineering’s Asset Management Services group. With more than 25 years of engineering and maintenance experience, Mike specializes in reliability processes and systems engineering with an emphasis on defect detection and elimination through root cause analysis and risk-based inspections. His approach to risk-based asset management and the elimination of limiting factors for clients provides greatly enhanced asset utilization at a much lower total cost of ownership. Mike can be reached at For more information on Life Cycle Engineering, visit

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About the Author

Mike Poland of Life Cycle Engineering specializes in life cycle asset management with a focus on increasing asset utilization at the lowest total cost of ownership. His expertise is in systems e...