Reliability Engineering and System Safety 100 (2012) 67–74

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Reliability Engineering and System Safety
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Risk-based prioritization and its application to inspection of valves in the water sector
David R. Marlow n, David J. Beale, John S. Mashford
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Land and Water, Victoria, Australia

a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history: Received 27 June 2011 Received in revised form 12 December 2011 Accepted 16 December 2011 Available online 28 December 2011 Keywords: Valves Water pipeline Risk-based inspection Analytical hierarchy process

Isolation valves facilitate the effective operation and maintenance of water supply networks, but their sheer number presents a significant asset management challenge. If left unmanaged, valve reliability issues can become widespread. Inspections provide a means of increasing reliability, but a survey of industry practices indicated that some utilities did not have such a program in place. To improve asset management and reduce business risk exposure, such utilities need an effective means of commencing inspection programs. From a theoretical perspective, risk concepts provide a means of optimizing maintenance effort. However, in the face of poor data on reliability or condition, pragmatic approaches to risk-based prioritization are needed. One such approach, risk indexing, is considered in this paper. Background on the research is presented, including the application of risk-based inspection concepts within the water sector. The development of a risk indexing scheme is then investigated, drawing on two industry workshops in which the analytical hierarchy process was used to set relative weights. It is concluded that risk indexing provides the basis for a rational prioritization process in the absence of data on valve reliability or condition. Crown Copyright & 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Water utilities are today faced with the challenge of delivering required levels of service with limited funds in the face of an ageing asset stock and increasingly stringent standards and customer expectations [1]. One aspect of this is to manage isolation valves. Isolation valves are installed to facilitate the operation and maintenance of a water network, but present significant difficulties because of the size of the asset stock. For example, data reported by the American Water Works Association indicates that 338 water utilities operate an aggregated 202,158 miles of pipe with 2,776,059 gate and 150,531 butterfly valves. This equates to ca. 15 valves per mile of water main, with an average of approximately 9,000 valves per utility [2–5]. The challenge of managing these assets is increased by the spatial distribution of the valves and the heterogeneity of the asset stock [6]. Like all mechanical assets, the physical state or ‘condition’ of valves changes over time as components deteriorate. The rate of deterioration is asset and context-specific, being influenced by factors such as the type of valve, the quality of the installation, the external and internal environment the valve is exposed to and the operating and maintenance regime. As valve condition deteriorates, failures due to fatigue, corrosion and wear-out start to occur. There is thus a driver
n Correspondence to: Sustainable Infrastructure Asset Management, CSIRO Land and Water, P.O. Box 56, Highett, VIC 3190, Australia. Tel.: þ 61 3 9252 6614; fax: þ 61 3 9252 6244. E-mail address: (D.R. Marlow).

for water utilities to understand valve condition at the individual asset level and across the network. Information on asset condition is collected by undertaking inspections, which is a key input into physical asset management [7,8]. Physical asset management aims to provide sustained services at a cost and level of risk that is acceptable to customers and the broader community [1,7,8]. In 2006, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) held a workshop to formulate a program of research to address gaps in asset management capacity. One priority identified was the need to develop specific guidance on condition assessment and inspection processes for water main valves. The Water Research Foundation (Water RF) in the USA and WSAA subsequently co-sponsored a major research project aimed at meeting this need [6,9]. This paper draws from this research project, focusing specifically on the challenge of prioritizing inspections within utilities that have poor data on valve condition and reliability. For example, one large utility who provided information for a case study had not undertaken maintenance on any isolation valves for over 15 years, and did not have a comprehensive database for these assets. Issues with data included that the inventory of valves was not complete, assessment of asset importance and risk had not been made, condition of valves was unknown and maintenance schedules were not allocated [6]. The context and focus of the work presented herein is significantly different to that of related research previously described in the literature, including in this journal. For example, while Walski discussed the role that valves play in maintaining water distribution system reliability and emphasized the need to manage valves

0951-8320/$ - see front matter Crown Copyright & 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ress.2011.12.014

the cost ei of repairing asset i and the expected benefit bi of repairing asset i for each asset (i ¼ 1. and the development of a risk indexing scheme investigated. Research context Isolation valves are generally only needed during specific events such as to isolate a pipe burst or undertake pipeline maintenance. 3. which is not possible across a water supply network in the absence of good data.32]. Ideally. reliability issues can become widespread across a network [20. this involves operating the valve ‘stop-to-stop’. 2. However. risk is defined as the product of the likelihood (or probability) of an asset failure and the severity of the failure consequence [25–27]. a water utility must balance the cost of performing inspection and other maintenance activities against the cost and impact of not performing them [6. the probability qi of failure of asset i given that it has been inspected. their procedure again implies a more detailed consideration of assets than is possible given the context of this paper. n). Risk as a basis for optimization Ideally. Prioritization procedures have also been developed that involve a detailed consideration of specific assets. the focus and intended application of existing research is significantly different to the context of the research described herein. Their assessment procedure included a process to incorporate subjective perceptions of decision makers regarding risk. Marlow et al. This increases the time taken to undertake planned and reactive maintenance. For example. increasing damage to property and other assets and increasing the number of customers who lose water. Australia and the USA indicated . Valves generally fail due to the corrosion of internal components. Suppose that we have reasonable estimates of the probability pi of failure of asset i. so valve exercising also increases reliability [6.1. As such. The development of an optimized inspection plan. an approach that is paralleled in this study. Brito and de Almeida developed a multi-attribute decision model for ranking sections of gas pipelines in terms of risk [17]. their spatial distribution and the differences in environmental and operational factors across a network all mean that it can be challenging to design an inspection program to achieve this end. y. that some utilities have scaled back or abandoned their valve inspection and exercising programs.15]. it is highly desirable for utilities to target initial inspections where they are likely to provide the most valuable information and/or mitigate the greatest risks.g. an inspection program would be optimized to give the greatest benefit relative to costs across the entire population of assets. risk-based inspection is a standard maintenance practice that focuses on failure modes initiated by material deterioration and controlled primarily through inspections [25. we consider a sequence of trials over an ensemble of 2. risk-based approaches to the scheduling and prioritization of maintenance tasks. let n be the number of assets and. Information obtained from industry partners in the UK. Other procedures have been developed that are applicable across a system of assets. / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 100 (2012) 67–74 effectively [10. failure of a valve to operate on demand can also increase failure consequences by prolonging social and commercial disruption. A synthesis of this approach is provided in the conclusion. In asset management. Similarly. When commencing such a program. The use of risk concepts for optimizing inspection programs can be justified from a theoretical basis if a number of simplifications are made.11].21].22–24]. the systems analyzed have been simple enough to allow explicit analysis of all valves individually [13]. Furthermore. an approach was needed that would allow utilities to commence inspection programs in the absence of data on asset reliability or condition. Such decisions are often facilitated by adopting a risk-based framework [17. The identification of the degradation mechanisms that can lead to failures. the remainder of this paper is structured as follows.68 D. Periodic exercising of valves also ensures moving components remain free. A pragmatic approach to valve inspection is thus to undertake an inservice or functional test (commonly referred to as ‘valve exercising’) to determine if the valve is in an operational state [10]. More generally. the consequence ci of failure of asset i. there is thus a driver for utilities to undertake inspection programs to improve overall reliability. 3. let xi be a 0–1 valued decision variable which indicates whether or not asset i is to be inspected. reactors) [14. Pragmatic approaches to risk-based prioritization are then outlined. To this end. though some utilities only practice partial closure due to operational risks [6]. The selection of effective inspection techniques that can detect the progression of degradation mechanisms. It can be anticipated that the more unreliable the valve stock. including inspections. With this focus in mind. 2.7].13]. Stewart [16] presents a risk ranking procedure for bridges that uses the expected cost of failure as a risk measure. For example. 12. followed by a mathematical representation of risk-based inspection and its practical interpretation. n. the basic elements that need to be addressed in the development of such a program are [7]: 1. y. Since we are assuming only probabilistic knowledge about some of the variables describing the system. Risk defined in this way has been used to develop inspection programs for a range of purposes [28–31]. 4.g. the number of valves. If left unmanaged in this way. thereby increasing costs. Industry practice A review of valve inspection practices was undertaken as part of the research presented in this paper. Various papers address risk-based inspection for assets within safety critical systems (e. the cost di of inspecting asset i. In the context of water sector asset management. have generally been considered within the context of relatively good estimates of reliability and costs [e. Given the additional costs and consequences involved. Background information on the research context is first given. In summary. of 25 utilities who answered a web-based survey. 3. The assessment of the risk introduced by potential asset failures.19].1. In other studies. More specifically. The later stage is important because inspection and subsequent repair/replacement of assets is carried out subject to budgetary constraints and the level of such activities influences the total cost of operating the network.R. the failure of a valve may only become evident when there is an operational demand for its use. applications that imply a level of rigor that would not be justified for valving within a water supply system. The approach taken uses expert opinion mobilized through the application of the analytical hierarchy process. for each i ¼ 1. In the case of a burst. while the literature provides useful insights into riskbased prioritization procedures. the higher the probability that additional effort will need to be expended to isolate any given burst or undertake maintenance on a pipeline. seven indicated there was no routine inspection program in place for valves [6]. the practicalities of dealing with a backlog in maintenance was not considered. deterioration of seals and the internal build up of deposits [18]. Theoretical basis of risk-based prioritization As part of effective asset management. Unfortunately.

it can be shown that: Expected net benefit of adopting an inspection strategy 0 2 31 n m X X 1 ð j Þ @ðbi Àdi Àei Þxi Àci 4lim as m-1 fxi g ¼ ð1Þ f 5A mj¼1 i i¼1 If an asset is not inspected then it will fail with a long run frequency equal to its probability of failure.. The roots of a hierarchy H ¼ (N. (10). (9). as illustrated in Eq. The roots are the nodes which have no arcs going into them. risk factors can be grouped into categories and the hierarchy constructed with multiple levels. In contrast. then the optimal solution to this problem is obtained by listing all the assets in order of risk and choosing the top k of them to inspect where: k ¼ ½B=g Š ¼ greatest integer less than or equal to B=g : ð8Þ Problem definition In practice. mj¼1 i 8i ¼ 1. Marlow et al. as indicated in Fig. Therefore: xi ¼ 1 ) lim as m-1 m 1X ðjÞ f ¼ qi . the condition that di þ ei is the same (or approximately the same) for each asset applies for valves that are of a similar size and operational context. as discussed in the next section. b Z g and the risks si are negligible. Mathematically. / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 100 (2012) 67–74 69 systems and let f i be a 0–1 variable that indicates whether asset i fails in trial j. the data required for this optimization is collectable but. 1 [7]. especially within the distribution part of the network. ri is called the risk of failure of asset i and is the product of the assets probability of failure and its consequence of failure.. the expected net benefit of adopting the inspection strategy fxi g ¼ n X ððbi Àdi Àei Þxi Àci pi ð1Àxi ÞÀci qi xi Þ ¼ n X ððbi Àdi Àei þ r i Àsi Þxi À n X i¼1 ri . xÞ A Ag. the later criterion is generally met. the risk problem is first decomposed into a risk-hierarchy that incorporates factors that influence the level of risk. mj¼1 i 4. An alternative approach is to apply index-based risk assessment techniques. In comparison to rapid ranking. n: ð3Þ From (2) and (3) it follows that: lim as m-1 m 1X ðjÞ f ¼ pi ð1Àxi Þ þ qi xi . This allows an analyst to obtain a broad prioritization of risks quickly. . LðHÞ ¼ fx A N : $ ð(y A NÞðx. which have no arcs leaving them. Weights are also allocated to reflect the relative importance of the risk factors. yÞ A Ag. such a hierarchy can be represented by an acyclic directed graph H ¼ (N. n: ð4Þ Thus. Therefore: xi ¼ 0 ) lim as m-1 m 1X ðjÞ f ¼ pi . A) are the elements of the set R(H). can be expected to be absent for a significant proportion of utilities.9].. Risk indexes provide a measure of risk through simple scoring procedures. In an ideal word. Prioritization can thus be undertaken by mobilizing relevant operational experience. . if an asset is inspected then it will fail with a long run frequency equal to its conditional probability of failure given that it has been inspected. is given by: Cost ¼ n X i¼1 ðdi þ ei Þxi : ð6Þ Suppose that we have an inspection budget B and we are seeking an inspection strategy {xi} which maximizes the expected net benefit such that the inspection cost does not exceed the inspection budget. ð9Þ 8i ¼ 1. . n: mj¼1 i ðjÞ ð2Þ In practice. 1. . . rather than complex risk calculations [33]. This qualitative approach to prioritization is used in various sectors [25.D. can also be undertaken using path dependant reliability analysis techniques whereby the impact of valve failures is assessed in terms of the additional number of customers that will be effected by a burst (due to the need to operate additional valves).A) are the elements of the set L(H). bi is the same for all i with bi ¼ b. i¼1 i¼1 ð5Þ where.. The leaves are the nodes. not counting repairs associated with failures. In constructing an indexing scheme. prioritization of isolation valves. si is the risk of failure of asset i given that it has been inspected. For convenience. . Such techniques also allow water utilities to optimize the location and configuration of network valves [6. A more pragmatic application of risk concepts is therefore required to rank assets. 8i ¼ 1. ð10Þ In the special case where di þ ei is the same (or approximately the same) for each asset i with di þ ei ¼ g. Likelihood Factor 1 Factor 2 Consequence Factor 3 Factor 4 Characterisitics Characterisitics Fig. and si ¼ qici. If one assumes that the valve should operate on demand. ri ¼ pici. Decomposition of risk hierarchy. A common technique applied to facilitate this is the application of what can be referred to as ‘rapid ranking’ [7.11]. but it is difficult to take into account a comprehensive range of risk factors especially when factors are independent of one another.A) where N is the set of nodes and A C N  N is the set of arcs (or edges) in the graph. . the scoring schemes used are more explicit in their treatment of individual risk factors in that the ‘risk score’ are increased or decreased according to the presence or absence of individual factors. . as illustrated in Eq. This is equivalent to solving the following optimization problem: Max n X i¼1 ððbi Àdi Àei þ r i Àsi Þxi ð7Þ such that n X i¼1 ðdi þ eiÞxi r B: The leaves of a hierarchy H ¼ (N. Risk-based prioritization procedures Utility staff generally have significant levels of knowledge with respect to factors that influence asset-related risks.R. For completeness. RðHÞ ¼ fx A N : $ ð(y A NÞðy.32]. and involves undertaking a desktop study whereby assets are allocated a failure likelihood and consequence rank. . . It can then be concluded that the optimal inspection strategy is to rank such assets in order of risk and to inspect those for which the benefit of inspection outweighs the cost of inspection plus repair. as noted above. The cost of carrying out inspections and associated repairs. .

yÞV i ðx. each individual allocated weights in accordance with their own experience using the standardized scoring scheme shown in Table 2. 5. With such guidance in mind. People generally find it difficult to allocate relative weights to multiple factors simultaneously. weighting of risk factors must be undertaken using expert opinion.6 USA 0. Results In summary. y A N Þððx. as noted above. For example. More specifically.S).3. x A Ni $ LðHi Þ: ð13Þ Then compute the risk function R: X-R following Eq. Relative importance of factors influencing failure consequence. Discussion of risk factors in light of business needs and valve maintenance issues can help achieve consensus on the relative importance of factors. Given this information. kÀ1gÞðx A Li &y A Li þ 1 ÞÞ: ð11Þ Thus. In practice. x2 Þ: The function R gives the risk R(x) of each asset xAX. but find it relatively easy to rank the importance of just two factors. aggregating scores and assessing the consistency of judgments [34].4 AUS 0.4 AUS comparison. the researchers developed an example risk hierarchy. each pairwise comparison was facilitated by asking participants to consider which valve would be prioritized over another if only a limited piece of information was available for each. (14) RðxÞ ¼ V 1 ðx.A)) ¼ {x0} and there exists a partition {Li: i ¼ 0. xÞ ¼ C i ðx. but rather to determine the practicality or otherwise of applying risk indexing to valve prioritization. R((N. yÞ : ðx. . x1 ÞV 2 ðx. 2. the inconsistency of each pairwise comparison matrix is calculated and compared with an upper threshold of 10%. rather it quantifies the opinion of this contribution.70 D.A) is a directed graph. y. . In the absence of suitable data on condition and reliability.N. Examples of risk factors and characteristics included in the scheme are shown in Table 1.2 0. where (N. 8x A X . ‘Valve A is an old specification that would not be used today whereas Valve B is in a vulnerable location subject to vandalism’. the AHP provides both a systematic framework for capturing knowledge and. the simplest of these was taken. the weighting procedure does not quantify the contribution that risk factors make to overall risk.R. 4 and 5 graphically illustrate the range of weights derived during the workshops. The weights for each factor are then determined through calculation of normalized eigenvectors [34]. Marlow et al. 14 of which met the consistency requirement of the AHP (consistency ratio o 10%). . A key aspect of AHP is that it provides a check of the consistency of the expert judgements. a scheme was developed for large diameter (nominally 300 mm and above) valves using input from industry professionals gained in two workshops held in Australia.37]. Figs. V i ðx. 5. x A LðHi Þ. 2 and 3. Compute the valuation functions Vi: X Â Ni-R recursively by Eqs. supplemented by a review of available literature and industry practice. To achieve desired outcomes. the geometric average was calculated and weights then normalized [37]. selecting risk factors and characteristics based on information gained through a webbased survey.8 1 Normalized Score Fig. the weights must be allocated by individuals with an appropriate knowledge of valve maintenance issues. the weighting process was facilitated by applying the ‘‘Analytic Hierarchy Process’’ (AHP). ð14Þ ð12Þ X fwi ðx. k} of N such that: ð8x. one for likelihood of failure and one for consequence of failure. In application. 3. To streamline the workshops. a stratified rooted tree is defined to be a quadruple H ¼ (x0. two finite stratified rooted trees are constructed. A full list of risk factors is provided later in Section 5. yÞ A Ai g.36]. In this study. the workshops provided 25 different set of weights. the focus of the workshops was to set the relative importance of the risk factors. Additional work would ideally be undertaken to reach consensus in the scoring but this was not possible given time and resource constraints. . Weights are assigned to the arcs of the trees (risk categories and factors) and values are given to the leaf nodes (characteristics).Ni.2. Application of the analytical hierarchy process Given the risk hierarchy had been developed in advance. V i ðx. The AHP is a structured technique for organizing and analyzing complex decisions and provides a method for weighting criteria.2 0.A.1) and mappings Ci: X Â L(Hi)-R where X is the set of all assets. However. Since it is based on experience and judgement. practitioners may be tempted to allocate weights to factors directly. It should be noted that the intention was not to develop a generic scheme. 2. Given that workshop are relatively time consuming. Weights can be set relative to one another by Appurtenance design Appurtenance operation Construction material Installation quality Maintenance procedures Operating environment Water quality Pipe failure Other 0 0. as illustrated in Figs.6 USA 0. / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 100 (2012) 67–74 Next.. mappings wi: Ai-(0. As such. a stratified rooted tree is a hierarchy which has precisely one root and which is divided up into a number of levels such that arcs only go from a level to the next highest level. we can calculate the risk index of each asset in X as follows. yÞ A A ) ð(i A f0. allows the consistency of expert opinion to be assessed.Ai. 8x A X . Thus we are given stratified rooted trees Hi ¼ (xi. pairwise comparisons are undertaken at each level within the risk hierarchy according to the scale described in Table 2 [35. Different means of combining the weights were identified [35. xÞ. Development of a risk indexing scheme To investigate the application of the risk indexing approach. 5. The calculation of geometric average requires all individuals to have ranked each 0. Relative importance of factors influencing service life. xÞ ¼ Size Number of customers impacted Type of customer impacted Potential for 3rd party losses Public relations Cost Potential access issues Other 0 0.1. Given that the workshops were ‘one off events’. (12) and (13). In risk indexing.Si) for i ¼ 1. this means a small degree of inconsistency in the judgements of individuals can be tolerated.8 1 Normalized Score Fig.

Evaluation Factor 1 and Factor 2 equally important Factor 1 is slightly more important than Factor 2 Factor 1 is moderately more important than Factor 2 Factor1 is strongly more important than Factor 2 Factor 1 is absolutely more important than Factor 2 Score 1 3 5 7 9 Note: Where the judgement is reversed (i. For example (‘Likelihood’. Instead. 4. 1–2 h and 4 2 h. the score is allocated as 1/3. consider the two valves summarized in Table 5. ‘Operation & Maintenance’. ‘Asset State’.3.000 None 1–2 42 External environment Distance to back up assets Internal environment Service provision Customers effected Key customers Table 2 Scoring for the analytical hierarchy process. respectively.R. whereas Valve 2 is . its arc set A2 and weight mapping w2: A2-R can be determined from Table 4. The relative importance of the characteristics (i. ‘External Environment’. Tables 3 and 4 provides the geometric mean weights allocated through this process.5 and 1 were allocated to the characteristics o 1 h. Valve 1 has characteristics that mean it is likely to be in poor condition (and by inference have a higher likelihood of failure).0628. ‘Exercising/use’. the risk factor ‘isolation time’ is considered to influence consequence of failure. Since we are interested in the ordinal rank of the valves. 1–2 h and 4 2 h. ‘Internal Environment’}. ‘Overall Design’) ¼ 0. along with the relative weight of the factors at both the first and second level.1] for the likelihood of failure hierarchy can also be read off from Table 3. 5. ‘Potential for Deterioration’}. In this case. Marlow et al. Similarly. the scores of 0. The weight mapping w1: A1-[0. ‘0’ to the lowest risk characteristic. To avoid the problem of ‘double counting’. ‘Structural Condition’. 5. these were not weighted explicitly. / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 100 (2012) 67–74 71 Table 1 Extract of the risk hierarchy. Likelihood 1st level factor Potential for deterioration 2nd level factor Age (asset) Characteristics New or young asset Ageing asset Old asset Not aggressive. ‘Asset Vulnerability’) ¼ 0. as per the examples shown in Tables 6 and 7.0799 and w1(‘Asset Vulnerability’. from Table 1. For example. item in the same sense. though the magnitude of the weight could vary. banded as o 1 h. ‘Performance’.e. the appropriate weighted score is allocated according to the risk indexing scheme. prioritization can be assessed in terms of likelihood. data for each relevant asset characteristic needs to be collated to allow the risk score to be assigned. 1/5 etc. the leaf nodes) must also be defined in some way. ‘Asset Vulnerability’)AA1 and (‘Asset Vulnerability’. the structure of the consequence of failure hierarchy H2. As a simple example. The arc set A1 in the likelihood of failure hierarchy can be determined from Table 3. ‘Maintenance’. not vulnerable Moderately aggressive Aggressive and vulnerable Not aggressive. Weighted likelihood factors. consequence and overall risk scores. ‘Overall Design’)AA1. Having collated the characteristics for each valve. For example.e.D. Practical application of the index scheme In application. Fig. The measurable or assessable characteristic used to reflect this risk factor was an estimate of time to isolate a burst. 0. For this example. for each risk factor a score of ‘1’ was allocated to the characteristic associated with the highest risk.000 4 10. not vulnerable Moderately aggressive Aggressive and vulnerable Consequence 1st level factor Response 2nd level Factor Isolation time Characteristics o1 h 1–2 h 42 h o 100 m 100–1000 m Uncertain or 4 1000 m o 100 100–1000 1000–10.. L1 ¼ {‘Asset Vulnerability’. Weighted consequence factors. Fig. L2 ¼ {‘Overall Design’. the likelihood of failure hierarchy has three levels L0. ‘Age’. all participants need to rank Factor 1 as more important than Factor 2 or vice versa. In terms of the theoretical formulation of risk indexing given in Section 4. ‘Emplacement’. L1 and L2 where: L0 ¼ {‘Likelihood’}. For example w1(‘Likelihood’. with the remaining scored proportionally. Factor 2 is more important).

the utility allocated a summary condition grade to each valve on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 indicating excellent condition. it would not be considered a priority for inspection based on overall risk due to the low potential failure impacts. the risk indexing process will ideally be implemented in a database application linked to the asset inventory where the valve characteristics are stored. Cuts to maintenance budgets meant this practice was discontinued for some years.4 16. which reduces the data needs.7 13.7 2.2 Total 64.3 10.3 10.71 5. In terms of prioritization. one case study partner operates approximately 1.80 50.0 9.6 Overall design Emplacement Exercising/use Maintenance Structural condition Performance Age External environment Internal environment Total 8. Valve 2 would be prioritized for inspection on the basis of overall risk.89 10. Once the inspection program has commenced. Over time. Condition grades are often used in this way as a surrogate for the likelihood of failure [7]. / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 100 (2012) 67–74 Table 3 Likelihood weights. exercised and maintained opportunistically with some deterioration.96 14.72 D.2 5.39 1.12 0.8 22. Marlow et al. be considered a candidate for inspection under a policy to maintain all valves above a given condition threshold.1 2.70 1.8 1.65 757 Due to the number of valves in the system. the utility was able to Likelihood score Consequence score Total risk score likely to be in better condition but still deteriorating.45 1. deteriorated and operation is unknown 37.53 4.92 31. 1st Level Weight Normalized weight (%) 7. As recently as the late 1990 s. As inspections proceeded. For example.7 3.28 1. the purpose of risk indexing is to provide effective prioritization in the absence of condition and reliability data. Table 4 Consequence weights.5 6. 6.18 2.2 22.94 8.2 50. Relatively more important from the perspective of failure consequences 23. Valve operates.00 Note: the judgements from 13 individuals from the workshops were used out of a possible 24.38 14.6 2. 5 being high).26 4.7 50.95 Second level Weight Normalized weight (%) 3.79 20. For convenience.3 2.8 32. Table 5 Risk ranking of two valves—an example. .78 254 Valve 2 Modern design.99 8. Risk ranking schemes can also be applied generically to identify different groups of valves that need to be inspected.9 Indirect impact 15. these valves were inspected every two to five years.0 24. On-going application of risk-based inspection As noted throughout this paper. As part of the inspections. an equivalent grade can be specified to summarize failure consequences (1 being low consequences.4 64.8 7.00 Note: the judgements from 13 individuals from the workshops were used out of a possible 24.00 Response Service provision Direct impact 5.2 6. until a decision was made to address this through a comprehensive inspection program. not maintained. 5 indicating inoperable). with planned exercising to ensure as far as is practicable the valve works on demand.07 14.76 1.4 19.7 Total 76. is situated in a vulnerable location.46 3. 1st Level Weight Normalized weight (%) 3.R.58 10. however.800 large diameter valves. the condition of the valves thus became more and more uncertain. data will become available that can then be used to schedule and prioritize on-going inspections. Even though Valve 1 is anticipated to be in poorer condition.7 3.5 5.2 6. not vulnerable.60 6.0 76. is exercised/used opportunistically. The condition and potential failure consequences of Valve 2 might also imply a change to maintenance schedules.30 Isolation time Distance to backup Customers effected Key customers Regulatory contravention Direct costs Reputational Environmental impact Rail disruption Road disruption Infrastructure damage Total 4. It may.79 19.8 10.00 Asset vulnerability Operation and maintenance Asset state Potential for deterioration 10. Valve 1 Point of difference Questionable design or specification.56 4.42 5.93 50.67 6.16 Second level Weight Normalized weight (%) 6.

0 0.97 31.94 8.0 0. this allows the failure consequence score to be used as an on-going measure of asset importance.60 Table 7 Consequence risk indexing scores: Valve 2. To set the relative weights of risk factors within the indexing scheme.33 6.12 0.38 14.0 0. thereby engendering buy-in from those who will use the prioritization process.5 0. risk indexing schemes provide . As a result of the workshop experience outlined herein. it is highly desirable for initial effort to be targeted at assets that represent a high business risk.80 Valve characteristic Questionable design or spec Vulnerable unmitigated Exercised/used opportunistically Not maintained Badly deteriorated.5 1. When starting an inspection program.71 5.0 0.47 4.18 2.76 0. it can be concluded that in the face of poor data on asset condition and reliability.53 4. The role of workshop facilitation is critical to obtaining useable results.42 5.85 1.0 0. not known Ageing asset Moderately aggressive Aggressive and vulnerable Raw score 0. An on-going inspection regime could then be specified according to risk.39 1. This paper has investigated issues related to the development of a risk indexing scheme for this purpose.0 Total Weighted sore 3.5 1. so the inspection regime for a given valve also changes as it shifts into the different risk bands shown in Table 8.12 0.89 10.93 Valve characteristic 42 h 100–1000 m 4 10.0 1. 1st order factor Response Service provision Direct impact Indirect impact 2nd level factor Isolation time Distance to back up assets Customers effected Key customers Likelihood of contravention Direct Cost Reputational Environmental impact Rail disruption Road disruption Infrastructure damage Factor weight 3. the potential consequences of failure remain fixed. it must be made clear what is being compared to ensure individuals address the comparisons in a consistent way.80 37.0 2. not known Inoperable. Overall.000 42 Low potential $50 k–100 k High impact Low potential impact Moderate potential impact High potential impact Moderate cost Raw score 1. factors and associated characteristics.46 3.53 4.5 Total Weighted sore 3. In this case.26 4.0 1.59 2.46 0. group valves into risk-bands.0 0.0 1. as shown in Table 8. the next risk band were inspected annually (work queued as high priority). but additional work must be undertaken to ensure consensus is achieved. 7.0 0. condition changes over time. with the lowest risk band being subject to opportunistic inspections only.56 4.5 1.14 1. Conclusion This paper relates to a research project undertaken to develop guidance on condition assessment and inspection of water main valves.0 0.  An initial workshop should be arranged to discuss and agree relevant risk categories. the lowest risk valves were monitored opportunistically (with systems put in place to ensure relevant data was captured).  A second workshop should then be held wherein individuals allocate weights according to their own experience. the next were inspected every three years. with immediate corrective action being required for the highest risk valves.71 2. with higher risk cells represented by the darker shade.45 1.58 10. It is noteworthy that unless there is a major change in the use.R.5 1.26 2.58 0. Such workshops provide an effective forum for collating expert opinion on relevant factors.21 5.0 0.38 14.5 1. whereas higher risk valves were placed on a program of routine inspections. From the perspective of the indexing scheme presented above. service duty or service parameters for a valve or associated pipeline. the following suggestions are made to improve the process: Note: valves at similar levels of risk are grouped in like-shaded cells. expert opinion was elicited at two workshops using the AHP.67 6. The AHP provides a means of structuring knowledge and checking the consistency of comparisons applied by each individual. / Reliability Engineering and System Safety 100 (2012) 67–74 73 Table 6 Likelihood risk indexing scores: Valve 1.89 10. In particular. In contrast. The highest risk valves were subject to corrective interventions. 1st level factor Asset vulnerability Operation and maintenance Asset state Potential for deterioration 2nd level factor Overall design Emplacement Exercising/use Maintenance Structural condition Performance Age (asset) External environment Internal environment Factor weight 6.D.65 Table 8 On-going prioritization using inspection data. and  A final workshop should then be undertaken to discuss differences in allocated weights and reach a consensus view. If this is not possible.70 1. Marlow et al.5 1.76 1.2 1. then pragmatic approaches can be used whereby consistently allocated scores are combined to define the overall scoring scheme.28 1.

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