CEO Update - November 2014 - ISCouncil
City Rail Link: Leading in Sustainability

CEO Update – November 2014

Friday, 14 November 2014

CEO Update

Dear ISCA Members and Industry Stakeholders

It is good to see that infrastructure is a priority area for governments and industry across Australia and also globally. This trend seems to compliment the ever increasing adoption of the IS rating scheme in infrastructure planning, procurement, design, construction and operations.

From an IS rating perspective it is great to see the continued growth in IS rating registrations and the associated diversity of asset classes, capital values and the stage of the project/assets life the rating process is being commenced.

In addition to responding to industry interest regarding IS ratings and training, ISCA has also been busy with responding to and participating in strategic infrastructure sustainability reviews and conversations, including:

  • The Federal Governments Productivity Commission “Public Infrastructure Productivity Commission Inquiry Report “. Click here to read the ISCA submission.
  • The Federal Governments request of industry to review the “Project Appraisal Framework”. Click here to read the ISCA submission.
  • The recent national workshop on “Pathways to Productive and Sustainable Infrastructure ” where the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) brought together a range of infrastructure stakeholders from state and federal agencies, councils, investors, industry peak bodies, contractors and professional service providers to determine the pathways to more productive and sustainable infrastructure. ISCA, through the ASBEC Infrastructure Working Group, was involved in leading this important initiative.  The workshop outcomes and associated report should be available by the end of November.

On the home front our technical team lead by Rick Walters is busy with facilitating ratings, kicking off the Economic Theme development and updating the IS training material. We also now have the Sydney and Canberra training dates available on the website.

Building the business case for infrastructure sustainability is an enduring theme for ISCA and the infrastructure industry in general. With this in mind I ask that if you are undertaking an IS rating, that you please collect and communicate the examples and case studies associated with the quantitative and qualitative benefits (financial and wider benefits) of the sustainability related policies, processes and initiatives you have identified and implemented. If you have a certified rating, can you submit your valuable case studies and lessons learnt to our technical team to inform and support the IS training update.

It is also very pleasing to see the level of interest from our members regarding the new ISCA Working Groups Janice has been coordinating, which are about to commence. Janice will also be communicating our annual diary soon highlighting the networking and knowledge sharing events planned for the coming 12 months.

Finally, we are still looking for funding for the Workforce Theme consultation, research and development. Please contact me if your organisation might be interested in supporting this very important productivity and sustainability related initiative.

Valuing good decision making

Recently, I was reminded by a number of ISCA members embedding IS into their projects and business processes that as an industry we still do not value good decision making, particularly in a sustainability context. Conversely there is still a propensity to not include decision criteria beyond just financial in key decision-making processes.

More often than not good practice in decision making processes and methods results in enhanced sustainability outcomes (social, economic and environmental). If practical triple bottom line sustainability criteria are not specifically included as part of decision-making tools and processes (regardless of the scale of the decision), the benefits cannot be easily quantified and reported. At the same time excluding applied sustainability criteria can lead to sub-optimal decisions and outcomes.

Examples of good design and construction decisions which were valued for cost and broader sustainability benefits, include:

  • The recent winner of the inaugural IS rating award, the Stage 1 Gold Coast Light Rail project demonstrated a saving of $14M associated with a good design decision which resulted in construction savings associated with reduced construction excavation, reduced generation of spoil and associated knock on cost savings and sustainability benefits.
  • The first certified IS Design and As-built rating project, the Whitsunday Sewage Water Treatment Plant Upgrades project, demonstrated a saving of almost $1M associated with waste and resource efficiencies realized during construction and planned for operation.

We are aware of other infrastructure projects (small and large) where good decisions likely lead to similar outcomes, however as applied sustainability criteria were not used to inform the decision process and value the outcomes, the broader financial, community and environmental outcomes were not quantified and reported.

With this in mind we strongly encourage that relevant IS credits and benchmarks are integrated into decision making tools and processes to facilitate enhanced decision making and the resultant ability to report on good sustainability outcomes, complimenting improved bottom line outcomes.

Lastly, the Annual General Meeting for ISCA members is scheduled for 11 December in Sydney. I strongly encourage and invite member representatives and those who belong to member organisations to join us at the AGM and the networking drinks after the formal proceedings.

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