Previously, we talked about the critical importance of maintaining an accurate inventory to support asset management. Knowing your inventory is just the first step in good asset management. It's also important to know the condition of that inventory, which brings us to the next step, assessing your infrastructure inventory.

Some people see a survey plat as an overpriced piece of paper but it's not just a pretty picture. It represents hours spent reading moldy court records and digging through centuries of legal documents about a piece of land two people transferred back and forth....and back and forth. It represents the blood and sweat shed during days spent in the field in a seemingly endless search for property corners of the distant and not so distant past. Let's not forget the hours spent compiling data, grumbling at field crew for busting a traverse (which mine never do by the way), interpreting deeds, head scratching, pencil throwing, and rants of profanity that all go into painting that "picture".

The P3 approach includes preventive, lifecycle maintenance for the asset and avoids the problems associated with deferred maintenance. Simply put, deferred maintenance is the practice of postponing infrastructure maintenance activities, usually due to lack of available funding. Lack of proper and timely maintenance leads to early deterioration that costs more to repair later on or shortens the lifespan of the asset. Both of these situations will cost extra over the long term as the asset will have to be replaced well before it was planned, resulting in unanticipated capital costs.

Most folks would rather endure a root canal procedure than attend a safety meeting. And that's perfectly fine, as long as you are confident that you know all there is to know about doing a job safely. Admittedly, most safety meetings are mind-numbingly boring. That's largely the fault of the safety community. We need to change that failing.

Safety is boring, unless and until, of course, you're sitting in the ER Waiting Room. Now THAT can be the definition of boring. By the way, those ridiculous highway signs bragging about ER wait time in minutes are total fiction. You're going to be there for hours. Minimum.

As an engineer, I am very analytical and linear in my thought process. This is natural and almost expected as I deal with equations following specific procedures to arrive at design solutions. After all, there is no gray in engineering - it is either black or white. I refer to this thought process as counting pennies - that is examining every detail down to the smallest one to make sure everything is accounted. Because of my ethical obligations to protect the public with my designs, I, as an engineer, have to count and take into account these pennies to avoid potentially disastrous situations.