Article | August 24, 2021
Infrastructure Australia outlines new guidance on how to improve infrastructure resilience
Infrastructure Australia has released a new set of resilience guidelines for infrastructure, noting that the events of recent years have brought Australia’s vulnerability to threats such as bushfires, droughts, floods, pandemics and cyber-attacks into sharp focus.
The Advisory Papers, developed in partnership with Infrastructure New South Wales, estimate that, by 2050, the economic cost of natural disasters in Australia will more than double from about AU$18 billion annually to AU$39 billion.
Infrastructure Australia wants infrastructure resilience in project planning and business cases “to become business as usual”. The organisation is required to evaluate business cases for infrastructure projects that receive more than AU$250 million in funding from the federal government and has indicated it may reject proposals that do not effectively incorporate infrastructure resilience.
Article | May 7, 2021
Every five years, in the approach to the Welsh Parliament /Senedd Cymru elections, I put together a Manifesto for ICE Wales Cymru outlining our recommendations for the future with the aim of influencing the new ‘order’ and achieving what we consider to be important goals. This year our report is making three main recommendations in the areas of Resilience, Skills and an Infrastructure Pipeline.
Article | April 17, 2020
No industry in the world remains untouched by digital technology. For the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, this holds especially true. Technology is making vast improvements in the way general contractors plan and build projects, paving the way for a reimagined future. One technology in particular Building Information Modeling is leading the way. BIM is an intelligent, 3D model-based process that helps general contractors become more accurate and efficient.
Article | August 4, 2021
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.