Arcadis at the London First Infrastructure Summit

At the recent London First Infrastructure Summit, Arcadis’ Simon Rawlinson spoke on a session looking at the capital’s ambitious future rail programme.

Mark Carne of Network Rail set out the scale of the programmes that are currently underway and the transformation of passenger experience that the additional capacity and rolling stock will bring about over the next couple of years. Significantly, he also outlined the future programme.

Meanwhile, Michèle Dix underlined to critical importance of Crossrail 2 as the centrepiece investment of the Mayor's Transport Strategy and the innovative funding mechanisms that are needed to ensure the scheme is a success.

When it comes to ambitious infrastructure programmes, there are plenty of lessons to be learned from other sectors and elements of the Delivery Blueprint that Arcadis has launched this week in our report Opportunity Knocks - Delivering the UK's Infrastructure Pipeline. 

The projected increase in spending on infrastructure, potentially up to £40 billion a year, means we absolutely need to reflect on how major programmes are delivered. Of equal importance is the need for strong, effective governance when such huge amounts of money. Public opinion depends on it. 

At the summit, Simon called out four key aspects of cross-sector learning, all focused on the early definition of programmes.

Digital, manufacture, performance 

The first, naturally, is related to the mission of the Construction Leadership Council.  As an industry, clients and delivery teams, we need to focus on aspects of the way that we deliver programmes that will make sure genuine change happens. 

The CLC has called out DIGITAL, MANUFACTURE and PERFORMANCE. The vision is that digital-enabled design and construction makes for better projects, manufacturing boosts productivity, and performance fully focusses on the scheme’s value through its entire lifecycle. This thinking needs to be applied at scale and the rail programme is a great opportunity to make this happen.

Requirements management 

By using the disciplines of systems engineering, clients and their teams can be more certain that they have captured and addressed all performance requirements, such as air quality and better access to quality transport links for all. Instilling confidence in these areas is critical to make sure that schemes are genuinely benefiting society and the environment. 

Data governance

Arcadis is now enabling an integrated delivery team to provide assurance around construction, commercial and asset management data. Thinking about governance from the very beginning ensures that data is sharable and valuable – the only reason for which data is created in the first place. 

Benefits management

Benefits management has become such an important part of our offer on major infrastructure programmes. Designing assets to deliver benefits, devising the realisation plan and tracking progress is a crucial to delivering the results that clients set out to achieve. It is an emerging discipline but one that is crucial to focus on delivery the complex business cases that underpin major infrastructure investment.

Although the focus of the summit was inevitably on London's infrastructure, the themes examined could apply to any devolved regional administration. Much of the finance will be derived locally and the commitment of the local business community to the programmes is extremely important. After all, it is these people who will be using the networks day in, day out.   

In the same way that cross sector lessons can benefit the delivery of London infrastructure, any developments of funding models that emerge from current work in London should also support investment in other locations around the UK

Simon Rawlinson

Partner - Head of Strategic Research and Insight +44 (0)20 7812 2319 Ask me a question
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