Value Means More than On Time, On Budget
Having a rail infrastructure project completed on time and on budget is a basic requirement. This is essentially the foundation layer of any value delivered. With the right planning, technical expertise and collaborative working it’s reasonable to expect that the overwhelming majority of projects should meet these targets.
But the value equation extends beyond project execution. What happens should an unexpected fault occur after completion? What if further works are required at a later date on the same structure, stretch of rail or neighbouring infrastructure?
For some, there is a frustrating lack of foresight when it comes to considering the requirements of asset operators or future projects. With more thought about whole life asset costs and what future work might be needed, and more commitment to after sales support beyond delivery, there is scope to deliver far greater long-term value.
Awarding contracts on a project by project basis arguably engenders a short-term ‘deliver and forget’ approach. But really, at a time when extracting maximum value from every pound invested in infrastructure is vital, this isn’t good enough.
Frameworks certainly encourage a longer term value mentality. But it’s incumbent on all contractors to think ‘beyond the project’ to deliver better value.
Providing detailed and complete project data in an accessible format should be a priority. If all contractors treated this as a priority, the level of detailed knowledge about the asset condition would increase exponentially. Planning of future works on the same or neighbouring assets is then greatly simplified.
Simple measures such as maintaining contact details and being available for technical queries can also save time and cost.
Above all, what is needed is a shift in mindset where all contractors treat each asset they create or repair as though they will have lifetime responsibility for its maintenance and upgrading (even if they don’t). It’s another example of how if we all do the right thing everyone wins: contractors, customers, end users and taxpayers.