Topic Guide: Planning and financing of the effective maintenance of infrastructure

There is a related Topic Guide entitled Infrastructure: Rapid Evidence Reviews


The purpose of this Topic Guide is give DFID advisers and programme managers sufficient awareness and understanding of current key issues relating to the planning and financing for effective maintenance of infrastructure.

Section 1 highlights the importance of well-maintained infrastructure for economic growth, social development and poverty reduction. It introduces the notion of an ‘infrastructure gap’ between the demand and supply of adequate infrastructure.

Section 2 provides two very important lessons. First, maintenance professionals have an important role to play in making politicians and the general public aware of the scale of the problem of under-funded infrastructure, in particular maintenance. Second, a lack of adequate infrastructure planning and lack of adequate maintenance means significant portions of national infrastructure stocks need replacing at the same time.

Section 3 introduces current themes in infrastructure policy. These themes cut across all infrastructure sectors and include: the interdependence of infrastructures, the identification of critical infrastructures, the need for effective asset management, climate change and the increasing role of the private sector.

Section 4 makes the case that there is insufficient legislation that directly refers to, or supports, maintenance.

Strategic planning takes policies and commences the process of turning statements of intent into action, as outlined in Section 5. There are some major differences between strategic planning in the private and public sectors. Appendix A discusses the lack of a driver that would increase the effectiveness of public sector maintenance organisations.

Section 6 addresses the question of why so little money is available for maintenance in comparison to new capital works. It provides suggestions on sources for additional maintenance funding. It also points out that simply providing more money for maintenance will not address the maintenance problem. There is a shortage of suitably trained professionals in all areas of maintenance management, from planning and design, through to costing, procurement, contracting and works management. Appendix B provides first-order estimates of the amount of money required for optimum levels of infrastructure maintenance for each infrastructure sector.

Section 7 identifies the main features of maintenance management and briefly discusses each item, including: the maintenance organisation (see also Appendix C), maintenance standards, maintenance planning, maintenance costing, maintenance management information systems and risk management.

Section 8 considers modes of contract. Each type of contract apportions risk between the client and contractor to a different extent.

Sections 9 and 10 provide key messages to DFID advisers and suggestions for further research.

A related Topic Guide is: Infrastructure: Rapid Evidence Reviews. Evidence on Demand, UK (2012) 248 pp. [DOI: 10.12774/eod_hd03.sep2012.anon]

This Topic Guide has been produced by Evidence on Demand with the assistance of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) contracted through the Climate, Environment, Infrastructure and Livelihoods Professional Evidence and Applied Knowledge Services (CEIL PEAKS) programme, jointly managed by DAI (which incorporates HTSPE Limited) and IMC Worldwide Limited.


Cox, J. Topic Guide: Planning and financing of the effective maintenance of infrastructure. Evidence on Demand, UK (2015) vii + 68 pp. [DOI: 10.12774/eod_tg.june2015.coxj]

Topic Guide: Planning and financing of the effective maintenance of infrastructure

Published 1 January 2015