10 simple ways to ensure a successful infrastructure project

In amongst the chatter about how we can 'do' infrastructure better, there's now a growing consensus that we need to improve the way we design our interventions - 'design' in the broader sense of the word, rather than the narrow sense we tend to use as engineers.

My front-end principles for better infrastructure
Over the course of my career, the following front-end principles have served well to ensure we think through, before we rush in where angels fear to tread.
  • Be clear about the purpose and the expected outcomes, and engage communities in decision-making through an effective communication strategy.
  • Prioritise the user, aiming to offer services that are modern, effective and affordable.
  • Seek to improve people's quality of life and support the transition to a more sustainable future, while also facilitating the functioning of the economy, enhancing productivity and accommodating growth (to the extent possible, given other competing objectives).
  • Extract greatest value from existing infrastructure through timely maintenance, repurposing, renewal and upgrading. Seek to remove constraints and bottlenecks.
  • Aim to make best use of data, automation, innovation and technology (including for future asset management), recognising the complexity and risks this may introduce.
  • Recognise, analyse, mitigate and manage technical, environmental and climate risks, and complete any surveys necessary to support this.
  • Improve governance, with robust, timely and transparent decision-making, supported by strong evidence-based planning, clear prioritisation, and best practice technical design and delivery.
  • Seek an appropriate funding balance between 'user pays' and general taxation which incentivises behaviours in the best long-term social, economic and environmental interests.
  • Complete well-evidenced business cases and risk assessments of proposed initiatives before embarking on projects, including financing proposals. Aim to allocate the risks identified to those best able to carry them.
  • Facilitate collaboration between the government and business to promote delivery of the broader social, economic and environmental benefits.
  • Clearly, there are many other issues to consider as a project develops, and the above principles may seem obvious to some, and a counsel of perfection to others, but it's surprising how many are overlooked in the rush to build.

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Continental Building Products

At Continental we manufacture a full range of Bison Board brand drywall and Rapid Coat brand joint compound to provide our customers with the materials and service they need for all of their commercial and residential building projects. We are committed to doing the right thing 100% of the time by investing in smart operations, experienced support and consistent product quality. Our customers can count on us to help them build their business Bison Strong™.

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