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Risk-based approach to Roads Maintenance

In our capacity as Roads Authority, we have a statutory duty to manage and maintain public roads in Fife.

Fife Council’s ‘Road Asset Condition Inspections – Policy & Standards’ (RACIPS) has been developed to provide guidance to officers involved in managing road condition inspections. RACIPS promotes a consistent approach that recommends the frequency of inspections, as well as the method of assessing, recording and responding to road defects.

Our Technical Inspection Team routinely inspects the entire road network at set intervals. If we spot a defect, or if one is reported to us, we categorise it in terms of the risk it presents. Defects include potholes and other surface defects, worn road markings, missing signs, and ponding, for example.

The risk presented by road defects ranges from those that need immediate attention, to those where their location and their nature allow for longer response times. This helps us to direct our repair teams to places where they are needed most urgently.

Risk Categories

These are determined by assessing the likelihood of someone encountering a defect, and the potential consequences if they do. They are as follows:

 NegligibleMinorModerateMajorSevere
Remote Negligible Negligible Negligible Negligible Medium
Unlikely Negligible Negligible Low Low Medium
Possible Negligible Low Low Medium High
Likely Negligible Low Medium High Critical
Highly likely Negligible Medium High Critical Critical

Response Targets

This is the maximum time we should take to fix the problem. This is obviously weather dependent:

RiskPriority Response Type Repair Target (from date of risk assessment)
Critical 1 Immediate Within 24hrs (make safe)
High 2 Rapid Within five working days
Medium 3 Include in Cyclic Works Programme Within three months
Low 4 Include in Area or Route Works Programme Within a rolling 12 months
Negligible 5 Routine monitoring Per inspection frequency

Risk is reassessed regularly in case a defect needs to be recategorized. For example, a low-risk defect might deteriorate to medium risk before it can be repaired, and the response target is then changed accordingly. Other factors can come to light that prompt a reassessment.

More information can be found on our FAQs page.