FREE copy of the Uptime Elements Implementation Guide once you subscribe to Reliability Weekly

  • China ranks first, U.S. second in generating significant GDP from built assets
  • If U.S. invests $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements, U.S. GDP’s return on built assets could improve to 33 percent over 10 years
  • Implementing asset management tactics could also boost productivity of U.S. built assets by as much as 20 percent

HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO -- Nov. 29, 2016 

The U.S. continues to trail China in generating the highest financial returns to its economy and gross domestic product (GDP) from built assets, according to the 2016 Global Built Asset Performance Index released by Arcadis, the leading global design and consultancy for natural and built assets. The index ranks how tangible buildings and infrastructure contribute to each country’s GDP across 36 of the world’s largest economies.

The report finds China’s infrastructure contributes $10.4 trillion from its built assets while the U.S. ranks second at $5.4 trillion. However, a new 10-year infrastructure investment plan proposed by the incoming U.S. administration could have a lasting impact on U.S. built assets and on the U.S. economy as a whole.

The Arcadis index reveals China’s economy gains enormous strength from its built assets – accounting for 54 percent of GDP financial performance in the year studied – compared to 30 percent of GDP returns for the United States. Asset performance is defined as the amount of economic wealth from each country generated from built assets.

The full findings of the Arcadis Global Built Asset Performance Index are available at:

While the U.S. still claims the No. 2 spot for built asset productivity, decades of chronic under-investment have reduced the performance of existing U.S. assets overall. This loss of productivity from transit, rail, ports, aviation, buildings and roads is pulling negatively against the U.S. GDP’s return on assets. Meanwhile, Mexico, which trails the U.S. in total income from built assets, currently receives nearly 64 percent of GDP returns thanks to its reliance on infrastructure spending.

Arcadis Global Built Asset Performance Index: Top 10 countries by overall built asset income
Income from Built Assets 2016 (US$)
1. China 10.4tn
2. USA 5.4tn
3. India 3.6tn
4. Japan 1.9tn
5. Mexico 1.4tn
6. Indonesia 1.2tn
7. Germany 1.0tn
8. Brazil 966bn
9. Turkey 807bn
10. France 794bn

Investment and asset management directly impact the productivity and income-generating capacity of built assets. According to Tom Morgan, Arcadis business advisory leader, North America, “This drag on the economy caused by years of under-investment can start to turn around with new public and private funding. For instance, should the U.S. invest $1 trillion over the next 10 years, it could result in an increase of three percent additional growth in built asset performance over that 10-year period. Without that infusion, the U.S. is forecasted to grow by only one percent of GDP returns. While three percent may appear a small percentage, the impact is huge.”

Morgan continued, “Making more sophisticated use of built assets can also squeeze higher, more sustainable financial performance from existing infrastructure, even if overall funding lags. For instance, implementing asset management strategies such as building information modeling, analytics or visualization technologies can maximize financial performance on existing assets from 15 percent to 20 percent. Examples include Airbnb-type office leasing or using drones for maintenance inspections.”

Asset owners can also maximize returns by taking an integrated, holistic view of their businesses or cities so they can better understand their total expenditure (TotEx).

Morgan said, “Transportation, infrastructure and water agencies typically work in silos when it comes to budget allocation. Yet planning across their total assets can optimize municipal and state budgets and maximize financial performance. Asset investment strategies performed with centralized planning that leverage people, data and analytics can produce a more efficient spend. Improved design and integrated thinking ultimately reduce costs and produce better outcomes.”

The 2016 Built Asset Performance Index is an alternative economic indicator that measures how built assets can power more growth to economies and contribute to stronger, sustainable performance. Conducted with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), this year’s Arcadis index examines the income generated by buildings and infrastructure – homes, schools, roads, airports, power plants, malls, railways, ports and all other fixed assets – across 36 countries that collectively represent 78 percent of global GDP. The index measures returns in terms of purchasing power parity to ensure figures are adjusted to how much they are worth in that country.

About Arcadis
Arcadis is the leading global design & consultancy firm for natural and built assets. Applying our deep market sector insights and collective design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services, we work in partnership with our clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes throughout the lifecycle of their natural and built assets. We are 27,000 people active in over 70 countries that generate more than $3.8 billion in revenues. Visit

Upcoming Events

August 8 - August 10, 2023

Maximo World 2023

View all Events
80% of newsletter subscribers report finding something used to improve their jobs on a regular basis.
Subscribers get exclusive content. Just released...MRO Best Practices Special Report - a $399 value!
Defect Elimination in the context of Uptime Elements

Defect Elimination means a lot of things to a lot of people. Uptime Elements offers a specific context for defect elimination [DE] as a success factor on the reliability journey [RJ].

Internet of Things Vendors Disrupting the Asset Condition Management Domain at IMC-2022

Internet of Things Vendors Disrupting the Asset Condition Management Domain at IMC-2022 The 36th International Maintenance Conference collocated with the RELIABILITY 4.0 Digital Transformation Conference [East]

Asset Management Technology

The aim of the Asset Management technology domain is to assure that IT/OT systems are focused on creating the value from the assets and that the business can deliver to achieve organizational objectives as informed by risk.


TRIRIGAWORLD AWARDS honors excellence in space optimization and facility management, A event to further advance asset management

IMC-2022 Who's Who: The World's Best Run Companies

The International Maintenance Conference (IMC) provides a fresh, positive community-based curated experience to gain knowledge and a positive perspective for advancing reliability and asset management through people, their managers, the strategy, the processes, the data and the technology. The world’s best-run companies are connecting the workforce, management, assets and data to automate asset knowledge that can be leveraged for huge beneficial decisions.

Uptime Elements Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis is a problem solving method. Professionals who are competent in Root Cause Analysis for problem solving are in high demand.

Reliability Risk Meter

The asset is not concerned with the management decision. The asset responds to physics

Why Reliability Leadership?

If you do not manage reliability culture, it manages you, and you may not even be aware of the extent to which this is happening!

Asset Condition Management versus Asset Health Index

Confusion abounds in language. Have you thought through the constraints of using the language of Asset Health?

Seven Chakras of Asset Management by Terrence O'Hanlon

The seven major asset management chakras run cross-functionally from the specification and design of assets through the asset lifecycle to the decommissioning and disposal of the asset connected through technology