The release of a prototype Infrastructure Pipeline to forecast major projects being delivered by central government agencies has been welcomed by New Zealand’s civil construction sector as a move towards better infrastructure planning.
Civil Contractors New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock says it is a positive step because it enabled better visibility, and will give New Zealand’s infrastructure industry a better idea of how to meet the needs of coming projects.
“Having the right capability and capacity at the right time and place doesn’t happen overnight,” Mr Silcock says.
“Better forecasting of the forward work programme means greater certainty about the specific needs of future work.
“This provides contractors with the confidence to invest in people, equipment and business systems. In turn, this helps to keep costs down.”
Better work scheduling would result in more connected planning for infrastructure so capability could be retained.
He said a prime example where the pipeline would have made a difference was the gap in major tunnelling projects between the construction of the Waterview Tunnel and projects such as Auckland’s Central Interceptor and City Rail Link, where costs would have been greatly reduced if more of the capabilities developed during the Waterview Tunnel project had been retained.
Mr Silcock says the prototype pipeline was a starting point rather than an end point, and would be expanded through interactions with central government agencies as well as local government.
In turn, this would give a much clearer picture of a “whole of infrastructure” work programme.
In addition to giving clearer indications of the forward work programme, the Infrastructure Pipeline also brought New Zealand one step closer to having an established “shop front” for infrastructure projects, which would allow construction companies to make better decisions around which projects to bid on, he says.
The first iteration was developed in the lead-up to the establishment of the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga.
It currently presents data on 174 projects from five agencies — the Department of Corrections, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the New Zealand Defence Force and the New Zealand Transport Agency.
The data behind the pipeline will be updated quarterly and dynamically as significant projects were announced. The next update will be in early June, to reflect Budget 2019 decisions.
Mr Silcock says the initial tools for viewing planned stages of projects available on the Infrastructure Pipeline pages on the Treasury web site would be extremely useful for contractors in more efficient decision making.
The prototype Infrastructure Pipeline is available on the treasury web site at https://treasury.govt.nz/information-and-services/nz-economy/infrastructure/pipeline.