The British Standards Institution’s Publically Available Specification known as BSI PAS 55:2008 is being adopted by organizations around the world and, as a result, is on its way to becoming an internationally recognized standard for asset management.

According to the Institute of Asset Management (IAM), which developed PAS 55 with the British Standards Institution (BSI), certification against PAS 55 is becoming a regulatory requirement in a growing number of industries. Originally issued in 2004, the specification is now in use in applications ranging from public services & property, utilities, transport, manufacturing, mining, oil & gas, defense, pharmaceutical, process, and heavy engineering.

Today there are roughly 250 PAS 55-certified organizations in 10 countries, according to Norman Haggie, business development manager for North America for The Woodhouse Partnership Limited (TWPL), a consulting group founded by John Woodhouse, who served as project director for the development of BSI/IAM PAS 55. But Haggie says certification is a poor measure of PAS 55’s usage, because “most use it as a business improvement catalyst rather than just another ‘badge on a wall’.”

Image courtesy of The Woodhouse Partnership Limited (

Despite its growing popularity internationally — it is a BSI “best-seller” and is available in six languages — the United States has been the slowest to discover and adopt PAS 55, Haggie says. This slow acceptance could be due to lack of awareness, lack of requirements for the standard, and the fact that many companies are wrapped up with implementing their own Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software systems rather than seeking what’s already established elsewhere as asset management good practice. But even so, Haggie says PAS 55 is starting to gain momentum and exposure in the U.S., particularly in the utilities sector.

“To be honest, most executives here in the U.S. simply do not know about PAS 55,” Haggie says. “Also, there is no external requirement to be judged and objectively assessed. However, many organizations would recognize, if they delved into PAS 55, that they do indeed have many of the component pieces in place, but not sufficiently joined-up.”

In the fluid handling sector specifically, Haggie says various chemical, food, pharmaceutical, and petro organizations are currently using PAS 55 to different degrees. Some chemical industry regulators are also considering usage as an assessment aid, like the United Kingdom’s Gas & Electric regulator OFGEM.

What does the standard look like?
PAS 55 was developed over a six-year period by an industry group of more than 50 public and private organizations in 10 countries and 15 sectors.

Haggie says the reason for its appeal is its ability to meet practical business needs. “No other standard is as cross-disciplinary and pragmatic because it was developed largely by asset owner/operators,” he says.

In simple terms, PAS 55 is a clear, internationally recognized definition of what good asset management means. By its IAM definition, “BSI PAS 55:2008 is the international reference standard for the optimal management of physical assets, providing the definition of good practice in the whole life management of assets. It is applicable to any organization where physical assets are a key or critical factor in achieving business goals.”

Updated in 2008 in response to large volumes of user feedback, the standard comprises a 28-point requirements specification for good practice and guidance for the implementation of such good practice. According to IAM, “It enables the integration of all aspects of the asset lifecycle: from the first recognition of a need to design, acquisition, construction, commissioning, utilization or operation, maintenance, renewal, modification, and/or ultimate disposal.”

Benefits of PAS 55
PAS 55 is applicable to all sizes of business, from small-to-medium and public-to-private. According to IAM, PAS 55 can be used in many ways as well, such as for alignment of understanding, self-assessment, benchmarking, improvements planning, independent audit, certification, contractor selection, and demonstration of competence.

IAM says users of PAS 55 attribute the following benefits to their business:

  • Enhanced customer satisfaction from improved performance and control of service delivery
  • The ability to achieve and demonstrate best value for the money
  • Improved risk management and corporate governance – with a clear ?audit trail
  • Optimized return on investment and/or growth
  • Improved health, safety and environmental performance
  • Confidence from long-term planning, as well as better sustainability and performance
  • Improved corporate reputation, including enhanced shareholder value, greater staff satisfaction, and more efficient procurement and supply chain.

According to Haggie, some PAS 55 companies report 15-25 percent savings on operating costs and significant performance gains.

How is PAS 55 achieved?
PAS55 supports third-party and self–assessment. Therefore, it is structured to allow organizational and process audits and certification activities by consultancies and other entities experienced in asset management and familiar with PAS 55 requirements. End-users looking to align with PAS 55, can find IAM-endorsed assessors on the IAM website at To prepare organizations for PAS 55 certification, the IAM also offers tools such as a gap analysis, the PAS 55 Assessment Methodology (PAM), which contains a series of questions to explore the maturity of an organization’s asset management capability and help prioritize improvement opportunities.

PAS 55 Going Forward
In mid-2010, the International Standards Organization (ISO) voted to commence work on the new standard for asset management, using BSI PAS 55:2008 as a starting point. As a result, project committee PC251, with 24 participating countries, was formed to develop the standard, which is expected to be developed over the next 18-24 months. TWPL’s managing director John Woodhouse has been appointed as the U.K.’s Principal Expert representative to the ISO PC251 committee, with the aim of taking the PAS 55 requirements forward to become a full International Standard, ISO 55001.
“I think that as news of PAS 55 spreads, stakeholders — investment types, state regulators, maybe even insurance companies — will be more directive with ISO 55001 as a prudence and governance issue,” says Haggie.

For more information on PAS 55, visit

Amy W. Richardson is the managing editor of Flow Control magazine. She can be reached at