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.
Article | May 4, 2021
In this fortnightly blog, ICE's Director of Policy Chris Richards looks at developing policy landscape for infrastructure, what decisions mean, and their implications, so that infrastructure professionals can play their part in shaping the discussion.
Article | June 16, 2021
The global pandemic has affected fundamental aspects of everyone’s daily lives, from the way we work and learn to how we shop and socialize. The need for social distancing has brought about a number of changes to the public spaces used by all, such as one-way systems and temporary hand-sanitizing facilities. However, these measures are short-term fixes, often shoehorned into spaces that were not designed with social distancing in mind. The challenge for architects and designers as we move into a post-COVID future is to design for these new requirements in innovative and creative ways that still enable a sense of togetherness while maintaining physical distance – the new post-COVID architecture. These are three ways architecture might change as a result of the pandemic.
Article | May 14, 2021
As part of a Digipro project, ALLPLAN is working with three partners to research a system for automatic performance measurement using IoT and BIM. DigiPro focuses on the digitalisation of products, processes and business models in companies.
As part of the German-Dutch INTERREG program Digipro, a project is currently underway that aims to automate performance recording on the construction site using IoT (Internet of Things) and BIM (Building Information Modelling). A consortium of four companies - BuildersMind, mangineers, Nijhuis Bouw B.V. and ALLPLAN - is working on a solution for automated construction site monitoring that documents construction progress in near real time. Promising results have already been achieved in an alpha test phase on two construction sites of Nijhuis Bouw in Enschede 2020.