Sustainability, Water, Infrastructure, and Our Future

Sustainability is going to impact every business in construction—and sustainability and our infrastructure are intrinsically connected. Case in point: water. We know the world needs water and delivering it in a way that is effective, efficient, and safe is critical for economies around the world.
Another factor to take into consideration is population boom. As an example, Australia, as a whole, and key areas of New South Wales have experienced steady population growth over the last few decades, and that’s expected to continue. Thus, comes the need for upgraded infrastructure in order to increase the ability to move water around and provide water for residential and commercial sustainability.
Here is a cool project to consider. Sydney Water is transforming the way Australia’s largest water utility delivers projects and collaborates with its three RDCs (regional delivery consortia) through the P4S (Partnering for Success) program, which is Sydney Water’s innovative delivery model for all water and wastewater infrastructure across Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and the Illawarra.
Under the new model, Sydney Water entered a 10-year partnership with the RDCs to deliver end-to-end design, construction, maintenance, and facilities management services. Sydney Water’s three RDCs are comprised of 12 of Australia’s largest design and delivery organizations for public sector infrastructure and capital projects.
InEight is engaged with Sydney Water for the next 10 years, as it rolls out the program. “So it’s around a $10 billion, 10 year program to put infrastructure in place for the long-term needs of New South Wales in terms of providing water to the growing population and upgrading the existing infrastructure,” says Robert Bryant, executive vice president, Asia Pacific, InEight.
He explains the big challenge it was facing was how to engage all of the parties in effectively one system and provide consistency for reporting, the progress tracking, and enable it to own all the data and have that put through the course of the program.
Enter the digital twin—a 3D virtual replica of physical buildings and infrastructure, which are connected to the data. The digital twin offers huge opportunities to tap into that information to optimize the design, construction, and performance of a piece infrastructure.
For Sydney Water, the technology from InEight enables it to track progress through 10 years and, as the program evolves, to operate those assets; the data can move immediately to handover and commissioning phase, and ultimately the operational phase with all of the data. “So they don’t have to go back and spend time understanding how something’s been built, conducting surveys and inspections. They can rely on the information that’s been gathered through the course of the construction and move into that phase very seamlessly,” says Bryant.
While this project has brought forth new considerations for sustainability and improved ways to collaborate and increase transparency, Bryant points to something significant on this project: “One of the most interesting areas for us is the contracting philosophy that’s come into it because I know that’s quite common place throughout, particularly in the water sector.”
He explains there’s a U.K. standard of contracting that is all about collaboration, practice management, mutual trust, and looking through early identification and resolution of issues. The project will rely on the InEight platform for tracking and managing the NEC4 based P4S framework contracts.
“I think one of the really strong things that we saw, as we engage with Sydney Water, was how we were able to address each of those points. I think that’s what brought us together as partners with them in this program of work, in particular.”
Throughout the next 10 years, Sydney Water will invest at least $4 billion, supporting more than 400 jobs, which is expected to grow to 1200 in the coming years. This regional-based model will help deliver further efficiencies, improve network resilience, and deliver the services to meet the needs of Sydney Water’s customers for many generations to come.
At the end of the day, on any project—and this is certainly one example—bringing together partners is what it is all about to deliver a project that leaves a lasting impact.