Align your ISO 55001 asset management documentation to the Annex SL structure in your EAM system manual

When you build an asset management system for ISO 55001 asset management standard certification, it also needs to comply with the Annex SL document structure.

Annex SL stipulates ten sections that every management system built to an ISO management system standard must contain.
Build your Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system manual so that it contains those sections. But matching legacy asset management system documents to Annex SL sections can be tricky.
Here’s a practical way to create an EAM system manual that covers all bases for both ISO 55001 certification and Annex SL requirements.



Dear Mike,

We’ve got a legacy draft ISO 55001 Asset Management Plan document that we want to reformat and use for ISO 55001 asset management system accreditation. We know that Annex SL will apply to all future management system documentation. How can we satisfy both Annex SL and ISO 55001 so we build a compliant EAM system?

Thanks in advance,




Hello Mark,

Annex SL imposes a particular constraint on us all—every management system document structure must comply with the standardized 10 category framework stated in Annex SL. It means that all documents relevant to an asset management system built to comply with ISO 55001 must satisfy the 10 sections in the Annex SL structure. It’s not always obvious how to turn a legacy management system document structure into one complying with Annex SL. Nonetheless, it needs to be done.

It’s sensible to first develop a complete framework that provides a structure of where to put your legacy documents—much like having a set of empty book shelves where each section of shelving is first cataloged with an index number. Once the shelves are numbered you only need to match the book to be stored with its already indexed spot in the shelves.

Since you want the asset management system to conform to both ISO 55001 and Annex SL requirements, you need a way to marry ISO 55001 with Annex SL. The recommended solution is to create an EAM system manual. This becomes the highest level document of your asset management system. All other documents go inside your EAM system manual.

I use the title, “Life Cycle Asset Management System Manual” for this top-level asset management system document. It reminds me that you need a business-wide asset management system that addresses the whole lifetime of your assets. Just focusing on the operating phase of use will not get the great EAM success you want. Your EAM system manual will eventually contain everything to do with your organization’s way of doing physical asset management.

By creating an asset management system manual, it lets you immediately slot the Annex SL framework straight into it, as shown below. Now there is no doubt that your asset management system document structure will comply with the ISO 55001 asset management standard, and also with the Annex SL framework.

Life Cycle Asset Management System Manual Content

  • 1.0 Scope
  • 2.0 Normative references
  • 3.0 Terms and definitions
  • 4.0 Context of the organization
  • 5.0 Leadership
  • 6.0 Planning
  • 7.0 Support
  • 8.0 Operation
  • 9.0 Performance evaluation
  • 10.0 Improvement


Next, flesh-out the Annex SL framework with the types of documents that belong in each subsection. Below is a typical legacy asset management system document set that needs to put into a new ISO 55001 compliant, and Annex SL conforming, EAM system manual.


Guidance on where various types of ISO 55001 documents go in the Annex SL framework is found in ISO 55001 itself, and in ISO 55002 – asset management guidelines.

1.0 Scope

This subsection is used to define the full extent of scope and coverage of organization’s Life Cycle Asset Management System in all its forms—geographic, physical asset portfolio, organizational, laws and legislation, stakeholders, etc.

2.0 Normative references

In this section, your EAM system manual lists all standards referenced within your asset management system, or that are indispensable for running your asset management system. Examples include, industry standards, codes of practice, international standards, professional body guidelines, Original Equipment Manufacturer manuals, engineering drawings, engineering specifications, etc. It will also include your copy of ISO 55001 asset management – requirements.

It’s simplest to develop a dedicated document register of normative references just for ISO 55001 purposes and reference the register in this section of the EAM system manual. The normative reference document register can be integrated with a ISO 9001 quality management system.

3.0 Terms and definitions

All the words and phrases used in your asset management system documents need to be clearly understood by their readers. Explain uncommon terms, abbreviations, acronyms, in-house descriptions and colloquialisms, etc. in this section.

4.0 Context of the organization

This section deals with the organization’s interaction with the rest of the world. From the items in the image, Customer Engagement procedures would fit here. But there are many other stakeholders as well, like employees, Regulators, the local community, Vendors, etc. and the requirements covering involvement and interactions with all them need to be addressed in this section.

5.0 Leadership

The documents that fit into this section include:

Policy; Organization Structure, Responsibilities and Authorities; Duty/Position Statements

6.0 Planning

Within this section go documents like:

  • Risk Management
  • Maintenance Management and Planning
  • Strategic Asset Management Plan (SAMP) explaining how organizational objectives are converted into asset management objectives, along with the approach for developing an Asset Management Plan (AMP)
  • Individual Asset Management Plans explaining how a specific asset will be kept in service condition over its lifetime


7.0 Support

Here you locate documents related to: Communication Plan; Resource Management; Document/Data Control

8.0 Operation

The typical documents found in this section include: Operational Management; Procurement procedures; Supply Chain Management control; Management of Change; Contractor Management; Finance Management

9.0 Performance evaluation

The procedures listed in this subsection include: Business Performance; Finance Management Reporting; Internal Auditing; Management Review

10.0 Improvement

The Continuous Improvement procedure, Root Cause Analysis methodology, External Auditing, and other asset management system improvement related documents would go in this section.

It is not necessary to enclose every document in the EAM system manual. You do not need to create a thick tome with all pages of the EAM system within the one manual. It is quite suitable to reference documents that reside in other systems from with the EAM system manual. For example, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) procedures are often kept within their own documented management system. By referencing a OHS procedure in your physical asset management system documents, any stipulated safety requirements in the procedure automatically become part of the EAM system. In the extreme, your EAM system manual could be a spreadsheet listing active links to hundreds, and even thousands, of other documents from throughout your organization and external of your firm.

One word of advice, do make available a basic EAM system manual that you can use for marketing and training purposes. It should be around 40 to 50 pages long, summarizing the greater EAM system manual. You will need this short and simple manual so that it can be given to any interested person, to external parties, and for training your people in using their life-cycle asset management system.

All the best to you,

Mike Sondalini
Lifetime Reliability Solutions
25 April 2017