Local govt inefficiencies hampering infrastructure development: CCF

Speaking to ConstructionIndustryNews.net today, CCF chief executive Bob Seiffert said public infrastructure projects in Victoria were currently hamstrung by duplication and other inefficiencies in project tendering and allocation processes.He said the Victorian state and local governments needed to plan a linear pipeline of projects, and that to ensure there was enough skilled labour to carry out the work, contractors needed to be able to access these plans so that the projects themselves could be planned and carried out in the most efficient way. “The skills issue is important, because if you put out the projects in lumps, you’re not going to have the resources to do it,” Seiffert said. “You’re going to create more competition when the projects go out and the smaller players will get frustrated.”He said moves were now underway to determine the best way for governments to allocate work to contractors.“We’ve started a research project in partnership with VicRoads to determine what are the best procurement models or methods to deliver the programs,” he said.Speaking at the Victorian Transport Infrastructure Summit last month, Seiffert said Victoria has 79 local governments, close to 79 different technical specifications for basic infrastructure and 79 general conditions of contracts.“This places a massive administrative overhead on contractors which results in increased costs,” he said.Seiffert said a recently released formal analysis of the situation was developed by Ernst & Young on behalf of the Department of Planning and Community Development, and this indicated that significant savings and efficiency gains were possible with a standardised approach to procurement.He said at the conference that local governments could drive an extra 10% output from existing road budgets, and that a standard approach would reduce time and administrative hassles at both the contractor and local government ends. He also told the forum that local government has an obligation to improve its responsiveness and timely delivery of information to contractors to minimise delays and further costs.“It is a very simple equation: time equals money,” Seiffert said. “Reducing the time spent on non-core tasks equates to direct savings to everyone – local government, contractors and most importantly ratepayers, home buyers and consumers.” Seiffert also used the summit to stress to the Victorian government the need for targeted investment in skills and training.“We have a disturbing trend in Victoria of less and less training being undertaken by the industry due to time and cost pressures,” he said. “Queensland currently commits about 1.4 per cent of all government infrastructure contracts to skills and training development and Victoria needs to follow their lead.” More recently however, Seiffert did also commend the Victorian government for its plans to invest $38 billion in the state’s transport infrastructure.Among the projects to be undertaken using these funds are two new road tunnels, a new subway under the city, airport upgrades and extra buses, trams and trains. Victorian Premier John Brumby said it would be six years before some of the larger projects were completed. Seiffert said the CCF had offered to work in collaboration with the Brumby government in the delivery of these works.“This investment delivers long-term certainty for our infrastructure planning, allows the civil contracting industry to invest appropriate resources in the delivery of these projects and ensures Victoria has the transport infrastructure available to deliver continued economic growth,” Seiffert said.

Send this to a friend