Asset management for community organisations (2023)

Use this page to find out about asset management for community organisations.

Asset management is the long-term, lifecycle management of all assets an organisation is responsible for to achieve sustained performance. It's essential that your organisation manages and maintains its assets to ensure you have the facilities needed to deliver your services and activities.

What is good asset management?

Good asset management:

  • enables you to continue your service delivery
  • saves your organisation money in the long term
  • maximises the effective life of each asset
  • reduces your organisation's exposure to risk
  • avoids unexpected repairs
  • encourages participation as well-maintained facilities attract people
  • ensures your facilities are fit for use, safe and meet participation needs.

Asset management is best achieved by the implementation of good systems, processes and financial planning.

By implementing good systems, your organisation's assets will continue to be maintained and replaced beyond each change of committee.

Align your organisation's objective with asset objectives and budgeting to ensure your assets serve their purpose and continue to meet customer needs. Depending on the size of your organisation and scale of operations, you may choose to develop an asset management strategy to guide the implementation and documentation of all your asset management practices, plans, processes and procedures. This is a high-level document that drives the overall asset management activities within an organisation.

Some organisations choose to create an asset management plan to manage their infrastructure and other assets to deliver an agreed standard of service.

Key aspects of asset management include:

  • developing and maintaining an asset register, or using asset management software to record and track information on all assets the organisation is responsible for
  • undertaking regular inspections of all assets (by appropriately qualified persons)
  • undertaking regular maintenance for each asset to maximise its useful life
  • replacing assets as needed
  • budgeting for both maintenance and replacement
  • keeping the asset register up to date.

If you choose to use asset management software to help maintain your assets, make sure it links in with your existing processes to improve your organisation's efficiency and productivity.

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Asset lifecycle

All assets have a lifecycle and effective use timeframe. It's important that your organisation understands the lifecycle of each asset so you can plan its use, prepare for its replacement (if still required) and budget accordingly.

There are four key stages of the asset lifecycle.

This table captures the four key stages of the asset lifecycle for community organisations.
PlanningDetermine the assets that will most effectively meet your service delivery needs, be most reliable and provide the best value for money.
AcquisitionAcquire the assets you identified as needed.
Operation and maintenanceUse the assets as needed and undertake appropriate maintenance as determined by statutory and/or manufacturer recommendations.
DisposalAll assets should be disposed of appropriately.

Asset register

You should have an asset register that is kept up to date to record the details of all assets your organisation is responsible for. The register helps your management committee and facility manager (if you have one) to keep track of your organisation's assets and is required to complete your financial audit.

The asset register should contain details of each asset including:

  • asset description, manufacturer, model number and serial number (if applicable)
  • date of acquisition/age
  • cost to purchase
  • estimated current value/depreciated value, insured value and sinking fund contribution
  • location (if applicable)
  • replacement value
  • remaining life/estimated or actual date of disposal
  • disposal cost.

What is an asset?

The development of an asset register involves determining what is an asset (e.g. line marker, mower) versus what is an operational item such as equipment (e.g. post pads) and what is maintenance (e.g. mowing).

The things your organisation uses to operate will generally fall into one of the following categories - assets, equipment, consumables, stock.

Assets are items that are retained for over a year such as buildings, computers, phones, vehicles, fridges, cash registers, line markers, cones and bibs.

Consumables are items that are normally retained for less than a year such as line marking paint and balls.

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Stock is what you buy and sell such as food and drinks, merchandise and uniforms.

If you don't know how long an asset is going to last, or how much it costs to replace, look it up online.

It's important to keep your asset information up to date by adding and removing items as needed.

Regular inspections

All assets should be constantly monitored to ensure there are no issues and they are functioning as intended.

Undertaking regular inspections is a key part of managing and maintaining your facilities and assets.

Use facility inspection checklists for each group of assets such as buildings, toilets and change rooms, spectator areas, playing fields, storage and car parking areas to ensure all aspects are covered.

An inspection checklist should detail:

  • facilities or assets to be inspected
  • how frequently inspections should be done
  • specific inspection requirements (e.g. if inspection must be undertaken by a qualified person)
  • what should be checked (e.g. toilet taps working and no sign of leaks)
  • the person who did the inspection
  • when the inspection was done
  • if the facility or asset is considered appropriate for its intended use.

The inspection checklist should allow the person doing the check to provide further details of their observations, identify anything that requires urgent attention or is unsafe, and document any actions taken.

Keep the completed inspection reports for risk management purposes and use them to inform your maintenance schedule and update your asset register (if applicable).

To spread the workload, you can divide asset management responsibilities into key operational areas.

The use of asset management software can also be effective and cost-efficient in helping your organisation to manage and maintain its assets, including facility inspections.

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Regular maintenance

You should have a preventative maintenance plan to ensure all assets are kept in good working order.

Good asset maintenance ensures the efficiency of the asset, is more cost-effective, reduces issues and potential repair downtime and increases an asset's useful lifespan.

The maintenance schedule for each asset will differ in terms of frequency, cost and other resources involved (such as a qualified person).

The minimum standard of maintenance for each asset should comply with any applicable statutory requirements and manufacturer recommendations.

Your maintenance plan should include a description of the asset or facility area, the actions that need to be taken, when and by whom, as well as any other resources required. It should also document the person responsible for the maintenance and the date it was undertaken.

Use your facility inspection reports to also inform your maintenance activities, as inspections may identify that an asset is not being maintained frequently enough, or to a high enough standard, to ensure it is kept in a good, safe working condition.

All maintenance works should be undertaken by an appropriately qualified person where required and recorded for risk management, insurance and financial purposes.

Consider the asset maintenance activities that are most appropriate for your volunteers to undertake such as regular inspections, annual working bees/clean-ups and those you should pay for (e.g. toilet and change room cleaning, mowing, aeration).

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Asset replacement

At the end of each asset's life, you should consider the future need for it based on your existing assets and service delivery needs.

If you determine an asset needs replacement or upgrade, choose an option that offers value for money, reliability and quality. Use your maintenance report history to review performance before replacing an asset with a similar product. Consider the maintenance, disposal and replacement costs, functionality and useful life.

Your asset replacement needs may also be influenced by any peak body requirements you may need to meet.

Ultimately, the assets you have and replace should enable the services and activities of your organisation, and any other organisation that shares your site, to be delivered.

Budgeting and sinking fund

Your budget and sinking fund should reflect the assets you have and the costs involved in maintaining and replacing them.

Budgeting, good management and appropriate service delivery fees are essential to ensure your organisation has the funds necessary to provide safe and appealing assets to attract and retain your members or participants. This means not undervaluing your service delivery and keeping the costs to participate so low that it is to the detriment of your assets.

Your asset register and maintenance plans should be used to inform your budget (i.e. maintenance) and sinking fund to cover future replacement costs.

Your sinking fund should consider the lifecycle and estimated cost to replace and dispose of all assets.

By putting money aside into a sinking fund each year, you ensure that when it is time to replace large assets (e.g. light poles, irrigation systems, toilets/change rooms), you have the money to do so. Having the funds available also enables your organisation to meet any necessary contribution required to apply for funding and potentially add further value to a project.

Remember, without well-maintained, safe assets to support the delivery of your services, you may lose members and participants, increase your exposure to risk, and potentially damage your reputation as a quality service provider.

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Resources and support

  • Institute of Company Directors Australia

Related links

  • Facility management information for Council leases and licences
  • Maintenance obligations for community facility lesses

Videos

1. Assessing your community using FCM’s Asset Management Readiness Scale
(FCM Channel English)
2. The City's Asset Management Plan - What is Asset Management?
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3. Hardware Asset Management | Overview
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4. ITAM Talks Session 1 – Overview of ServiceNow ITSM + Asset Management
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5. ASSET MANAGEMENT SERIES: ISO55k - A General Overview
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6. Asset Management Using ArcGIS Online for Small Communities
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