Repair is defined by the International Infrastructure Maintenance Manual as, “action to restore an asset to its previous condition after failure or damage.”

There are many factors to consider when determining whether to repair, rehabilitate, replace, or abandon a failing asset. Factors such asset risk, cost of repair options, whether the repair will provide sufficient additional asset life, whether the underlying asset has enough remaining structural integrity to be repaired, and whether the asset is already scheduled for future replacement will help determine whether a repair is a good option. Assets that are good candidates for repair have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Cost is relatively low for repair.
  • Staff have the skills and ability to make the repair.
  • Spare parts exist to allow the repair.
  • Repair can extend useful life of the asset.
  • Underlying structural integrity remains.
  • Asset scheduled for future replacement, but not immediately. (i.e., Insufficient funds are available for immediate replacement, so the asset should be repaired as inexpensively as possible to enable the asset to operate until eventual replacement.)
  • Asset is low to moderate risk.
  • Asset is high risk, but repair is sufficient to prevent a more serious failure of the asset.

This flow chart can be utilized to help decide when to repair, rehabilitate, or replace an asset.

When an asset is repaired, the work is intended to bring an asset back to its previous condition, but it is not expected to improve the asset. The failed asset is repaired to return it to full functionality. Repairing an existing asset allows the same, familiar, asset to continue to perform, rather than replacing it with a different asset that might not be familiar to staff, especially if the material or type of asset are changed in some way.

All asset repair data should be recorded. The type of data to document includes the date of failure, date of repair, type of repair, where the repair was done, how it was done, what it cost (hours and dollars), and any other information that will be helpful in the future. This data should be used to help determine when to repair rather than replace the asset, but it is also useful for many other purposes.