Table of Contents
Risk from Materials and Equipment 7
Risk Analysis of Equipment Delivery. 8
The goal of the project was to expand the existing sewerage and drainage system in Tasmania. The entire project entailed overhauling the Cradle Mountain Sewerage and Drainage system, which had become constricted considering the growing population and increased demand for a wider and more accommodating system for the increased town effluence. As per the specific features of the project, it encompassed constructing an underground system for that purpose. The new sewer infrastructure project is to include constructing tunnels and tributary pipes as well as manholes inappropriate places. Other deliverables also included drill drop manholes and trunk sewers. The main objective of the project was to develop drainage and sewerage system that supports effective surface water and waste management in the outskirts of Auckland amidst the ever-increasing demand for wider trunk sewers that can accommodate the huge capacity. This Project was dubbed “Cradle Mountain Sewerage Scheme” and this tag was put conspicuously on the billboard under which Treloar Transport Pty was indicated as the contractor.
Treloar Transport Pty has had a long history of delivering such projects (Treloar Transport 2014) to the exact specifications and expectations of the customer and therefore this particular project did not pose any risk of uncertainty. On that basis, the company’s project database provided a rich resource for determining many aspects of this sewerage and drainage system project. In addition, the company easily met the financial needs of completing it. However, the greatest risk lay in the fact that the project involved installing the sewerage system in an environmentally sensitive location (the Cradle Mountain) and thus called for the use of most up to date technology hence increased costs of the project.
Major assumptions made related to scheduling and budget constraints. First of all, it was assumed that that the prices of external supplies will not change significantly over the period of the project execution until completion and that if any changes happen due to external factors such as changes in exchange rates, they would fall within the estimates. Construction projects that involve excavation generally have a risk of causing environmental damage. This was a particular concern for the company though not because the company does not have mechanisms in place but due to lobby groups that were thought to pose a risk of causing scope creep due to halting of project.
Among the measures put in place to ensure quality of the project were four principles that guided the quality assurance, control, and audit processes and practices. The first aspect was that customer satisfaction was taken as an utmost goal and this was done by taking the client’s representative team as part of the consulting team to ensure that project specification are clearly stated and elaborated upon. For instance, the client stated that the trenches had to pass on the side of the road and streets and this was adhered to. However, where it was felt that by by-passing this requirement it would be done as a necessary and cost-effective measure for the project and ensure timely completion, then this had to be liaised with the project consulting. The team comprised members from the client’s side, the contracting firm and the communities, who were mainly represented by a lobby group. The members of the environmentalist lobby group were included when they halted the initial environmental inspection exercise and it was felt imperative to include one representative for purposes of communication. The requirements laid down by the Tasmanian Government were used as the primary guideline for quality assurance and control.
Another tenet that was used as a quality assurance guideline was that mistakes were to be prevented by all means feasible and this is also supported by the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK 3, p 181) which notes that preventing mistakes is a vital quality assurance principle because it is better than later carrying out inspection and repairing defects since it ensures that mistakes are avoided during the construction process and expected quality is delivered at the end of the project.
Costs approval is an important part of the company’s quality assurance process and practice for all projects it handles. To guarantee quality through this practice, all costs incurred in the project must be approved by the management thereby respecting management responsibility. This closely ties with the cost-benefit-analysis that a special team from the company’s management carries out to establish if the desired quality standards should be paid for. Quality is also closely tied to costs such that quality standards are only approved if the benefits that accrue to the quality standards wished outweigh the costs.
Another measure for quality control is benchmarking. This was primarily achieved through the use of data from the database for previous similar projects as a way of comparing the Cradle Mountain Sewerage and Drainage project against other projects (PM4DEV, 2008). This benchmarking was used to provide grounds for measuring performance in the current and helping in generation of more ideas for improvement.
An element that was essentially important in the project scheduling was the development of a work breakdown structure that provided flexibility and had room for change including the capacity to insert, delete and amend work plans that came as a result of revised project requirements such as amendments in the technical scope of the project as was witnessed and also changes in schedule. For this matter, the following schedule related to the project:
Assemblage of equipment
The equipment needed for the project were all assembled in centralized location
The risk profile of the project revealed risks that could be grouped in 10 categories. Some of the categories presented higher risks while risks from other risk categories were minor.
Sources of risks to the project included among others construction materials, World Heritage Area rules and conditions, construction equipment, project design and environment. In terms of the ten risk categories identified in the project, the first category comprised the technical part, and then another significant category was environmental. The other categories are as follows:
The greatest risk of the project related to three areas: design, environmental and cost. Design was a considerable source of risk for the contractor because the contractor (Treloar Transport Pty) was solely responsible for coming up with the design from scratch in consideration of the fact that the Cradle Mountain is a designated World Heritage Area hence the design had to be one that considered minimum negative impact on the environment. Meanwhile, the objectives of the project were set by the sponsor of the project (the Government of Tasmania) and it meant that the design had to consider these objectives as utmost predictors of the final quality yardstick. The first objective of the Cradle Mountain Centralized Sewerage System was to rejuvenate the Cradle Mountain area’s sewerage system in a way that reduces the overall environmental, visual and social impacts as much as possible while using effective design solutions with established technology to minimize operations costs. Secondly, another objective was to assimilate the sewerage system with other services, where feasibility allows with respect to design, construction, operation, and maintenance.
Risk from Materials and Equipment
Due to the high sensitivity of the Cradle Mountain National Park, the quality of equipment and materials had to be a paramount factor that greatly determined the quality of the end product hence the quality control and management process also involved ensuring that the materials used are of the right quality (PM4DEV, 2008). A special team was in charge of ensuring that the materials are of the right quality and any material that did not meet the stipulated quality level was excluded from the construction materials. Since the equipment to be used was only hi-tech, the special team was also responsible for evaluating different equipment suppliers based on their quality and reliability. This need for and stress on the quality of materials and equipment had a significant impact on the cost of the project. Initially, the Tasmanian Government had estimated and projected the costs to be $5 million. However, when the sensitivity of the environment was made a strict factor for consideration requiring special equipment and skilled manpower, the cost was revised upward to $12 million. This clearly illustrates the risk factor that accompanied the cost issue.
The social risk part of the project related to the fact that the Cradle Mountain region (the national park), being a World Heritage Area, attracted a lot of interest and it is an attraction for tourism and changing the landscape would have a significant impact on all that.
Risk Analysis of Equipment Delivery
Due to the special nature of the equipment needed in the project process, the project team analysed the risk of some important equipment not being availed to the project on time since some of the equipment needed to be customized to the specifics of the project and the terrain. In addition, the team dentified three bits of equipment that were decisive to the project and would notably increase the costs of the sewerage and drainage scheme if they were late in arriving. Among the selected vendors, one had a history of not complying strictly with deadlines hence being late on projects. This risk received a rating of high and the impact from the risk also received a rating of high. This meant that there was a high probability of it happening and the impact from it would have a considerable impact on the project.
After the risks had been assessed and evaluated, the project team developed a risk mitigation plan, which incorporated two main aspects of risk mitigation. The first was risk reduction. Risk sharing was another one. Moreover, an element of risk avoidance could also be pinpointed in the strategy. In respect to the risk sharing strategy, government representatives were incorporated as part of designing process and this implied that the risk resulting from design was shared between the contracting company and the Tasmanian Government.
With respect to the risk that would result from the environmental aspect in terms of dereliction and corruption of a World Heritage Area, the company invested in high technology equipment in order to reduce that risk below the minimum levels accepted. By using high tech equipment it became possible to achieve the required precision with respect to measurement and excavation and project execution. This take is supported by Parker and Mobey (2004) who point out that risk that relates to the quality of product can be reduced by investing in higher quality material and equipment but these have to be reflected in the project cost.
When it came to the mitigation of the risk related to late delivery of materials and equipment, this risk was handled by engaging five suppliers. In addition, the suppliers signed contractual agreements to absorb responsibilities in case of late delivery of materials to the project.
To guarantee that information flows smooth, the following communication plan was used in the Cradle Mountain Sewerage and Drainage System. The communication plan identifies the audience of the communication, information needs, the media used in communicating the information, timing or frequency of the communication and responsibilities singling out the individual or individuals responsible for the communication. In this case, a team within the project will be responsible for the project communications. The overall aim of the project communication plan was to ensure smooth flow of information for ultimate success of the project by meeting the information needs of the various project stakeholders.
The communication audience for the Cradle Mountain Sewerage and Drainage System was the project manager, the entire project team, the Government of Tasmania of the project, the communities around the Cradle Mountain region and the Cradle Mountain National Park. For the audience of the communication plan for the project, considering that the project was a highly sensitive one, constant communication was necessary and constant check of the project requirements and deliverables.
Various critical factors were considered and these included the name of stakeholder or audience to whom the communication was addressed, the title of the audience, their contact information, the type of communication to be used and any other information that may increase the value and efficiency of the communication. The full table 1 below provides more information.
|Treloar Transport Pty Project Manager||Project Manager||Phone and e-mail available in contact book||Status Reports and Internal Project Status Meeting||Through phone and mail||Two-way communication with feedback needed|
|The Government of Tasmania||Project Sponsor||Phone, e-mail and official address||Initial Communication on project commencement||Through e-mail, phone call and official letter||Communication to inform|
|Project Team||Project Team||Phone, e-mails,||Deliverables and project expectations||Through mail, phone calls and SMS||Communication to inform and clarify|
|Environmentalist Lobby Groups||External Stakeholders||Posters, e-mails, local media||Addressing concerns on environment||Through newspaper, posters and e-mail||Posters and newspaper ads for general community, e-mail for lobbyists|
|Table 1: Project Communication Plan|
With the above plan set, the following communication matrix was used in addressing further effectiveness and directive in the project communication needs. In terms of communication frequency, the communication with all stakeholders began at the start of the project after which the frequency of communication was adjusted depending on the stakeholder and respective information needs.
|Status Report||All Internal Stakeholders||Communication of project progress and deliverable status||Weekly||Project Manager||e-mail and organization chart||Internal|
|Status Report||The Government of Tasmania||Communication of project Progress and deliverables||Bi-Weekly||Project Manager||Official letter||External|
|Status Report||Environmentalist Groups||Communication of project Progress and deliverables||Beginning, mid and end||Project Manager||e-mail and posters||External|
|Table 2: Communication Plan for Frequency|
The communication plan is made with consideration that the various stakeholders have differing information needs hence the need for communication varies from one stakeholder to another. The Tasmanian Government being the project sponsor was keen on establishing that every stage of the project’s progress considers is mainly concerned by being informed that the project is progressing successfully and the progress is in line with the objectives. Therefore since the sponsor is interested is interested in knowing that every stage of the project goes in line with the laid down procedures as per the contract sheet, communication will be very frequent and the subsequent communications will mainly be to inform the sponsor hence one-way communication unless where the sponsor makes scope change requests.
Another group that required frequent communication was the project team which had to be informed whether the project progress is on track or not, on schedule or behind schedule and whether it is within the laid down budgetary parameters or not. This frequent communication to the project team was also vital and pivotal in guaranteeing successful supervision of resources; both human and non-human.
During the environmental inspection of the Cradle Mountain region, it became obvious that the adjacent national park was a vital aspect of the project since it is part of the World Heritage Area. The concern that needed to be strictly considered was that the project would lead to environmental degradation and have immense negative environmental and social impact. The project team had to provide assurance that the project would not leave the environment in dereliction. That assurance was communicated at the beginning, in the middle of the project and at the end of the project.
The following communication flow chart was applied:
Figure 1: Communication Flow Chart
From the communication flow chart above, stakeholder needs identification was carefully aligned with development of objectives and key objectives and definition of information item. These were communicated to the project team, which handled the development of communications plan, methods and materials.
With respect to the lines of communication between and among the project stakeholders, the following chart provides the flow of information during the project execution.
Figure 2: Communication Flowchart
The communication link between the project manager and the Government of Tasmania (the project sponsor and customer) was two-way while the link between the project manager and the other stakeholders such as the environmentalists and the communities was one-directional since these stakeholders mainly needed to be informed of the progress of the project or fed with information for awareness purposes.
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