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How to stop wasting money on public infrastructure

Posted on June 25th, 2018 in Civil Construction

Australia spends more public money on transport and other infrastructure projects than any other developed country, but its civil construction sector is also one of the least cost-efficient.

According to figures from the Project Management Institute (PMI), $108 million is wasted for every $1 billion spent on infrastructure projects due to poor planning. This is higher than the global average of $97 million and is a growing concern as the infrastructure boom sees more public funds being pumped into transport, bridges and other projects that aren’t being planned as efficiently as they should be.

How can civil construction projects start using their money more wisely?

Good project management

Speaking to The World Today, PMI chief executive Mark Langley explained that Australia’s civil construction sector is struggling to attract and retain good project managers. This “brain drain” is particularly an issue in remote areas, where high burnout rates and the longing to return to their families lead to a high turnover rate for experienced management personnel.

A good project manager needs experience running projects and keeping things on time and budget. They should be involved in every stage of planning and design, where their insights learned in the field can often be priceless.

Look after your workforce

It’s not just project managers who should be rewarded appropriately, but everyone whose hard work is integral to getting your project started and finished on time. A happy team is a productive team, and not everything can be solved with compensation.

Bad weather and overtime sometimes can’t be avoided, but you should focus on making all the positive changes you can to boost morale. Hire more personnel to ease the strain on over-worked staff, make sure they always have the best tools for every job, and address all safety concerns to prevent problems from developing before they have a chance to affect the project.

Invest in technology

Technology is continuing to transform the construction industry. The up-front cost of new equipment, tools, gadgets and software is an investment that can save money in the long term, especially when it comes to reducing waste by optimising efficiency.

Modern technologies like building information modelling (BIM), augmented reality wearables and laser scanning and drones for site assessment are fast becoming indispensable to construction firms and civil projects. As these systems become more affordable, projects of all sizes will reap their benefits to cut costs, reduce waste and improve safety for workers.

Be selective about projects

Finally, contractors need to be able to tell when a project is overly complex or unrealistic in its demands. With only 30 percent of projects being delivered on budget and 15 percent on time, according to Accenture, firms should prioritise projects that are achievable and won’t put a strain on their workforce.

Hear more insights from industry experts

Keep on top of all the latest developments in the industry by attending the National Construction Equipment Convention (NCEC).

Australia’s newest civil construction and infrastructure event is taking place from 15-17 November 2018 at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park.

Get all the details here


The World Today. Billions wasted on bad infrastructure spending, global report warns.