Early supply chain involvement critical to success of mega projects

Early supply chain involvement critical to success of mega projects
Early supply chain involvement critical to success of mega projects

Key points

  • Le Compte says initial preparation and research by the client is essential
  • Mega civil construction projects look set to increase in number in coming years
  • Several projects involving InfraBuild have been delivered successfully as a result of early collaboration

Lindsay Le Compte, Executive Director of the Australian Constructors Association (ACA), says early contractor and supply chain involvement is essential to a mega project's success.

As the executive director of the Australian Constructors Association (ACA), Lindsay Le Compte has witnessed the rise of the mega project (construction and infrastructure projects valued at over $1 billion) and understands the obstacles that come with them. 

As part of his presentation at the 2018 National Construction Equipment Convention (NCEC), 15–17 November in Sydney, Le Compte said initial responsibility for the smooth execution of a mega project falls on the client. In this stage, preparation and research are paramount.

"The client has an obligation to ensure that they have undertaken all of the relevant background investigations to enable them to develop an appropriate tender specification," Le Compte said. "They must have thought through the key commercial, operational and related risks in their project and worked out how they're going to deal with them, and then they need to select a tenderer with demonstrated capacity and commitment to work collaboratively with them to successfully undertake the project." 

Supply chain management has always been a significant component of project management, but the complexity of mega projects necessitates involvement with suppliers at an earlier stage and in a more refined manner than clients and industry may be used to. 

"The traditional approach pre-lodgement of tender has been for contractors to obtain from supply chain organisations, such as suppliers of cement, concrete, aggregates, steel and bitumen, etc., indications as to price and deliverability of their materials," Le Compte said. "However, the supply chain may not be engaged at a time in the project lifecycle that would optimise the opportunity for organisations to add value through innovation, or in more effective management of project delivery programs.

"There may be many reasons for this occurring, including the constraints of the tender process itself, but the end result may be a lost opportunity to achieve cost and time efficiencies.

"However you look at it, early contractor and supply chain involvement in mega projects can ensure that the project is delivered on time, within budget and without disputes."

Future of mega projects

Despite the degree of complexity in their delivery, Le Compte is optimistic about the future of mega projects, forecasting that their prevalence in civil construction will only escalate in the years to come.

"I think mega projects will be here for the foreseeable future because governments are responding to community expectations for new infrastructure and more liveable cities," Le Compte continued. "The future for the civil construction sector and delivery of mega projects is bright. There is great scope to reduce the cost of projects through efficient design, innovation and good management – a win/win for all parties."

Lindsay Le Compte will be discussing these issues and more in his presentation at the National Construction Equipment Convention. This industry event will run from 15–17 November in Sydney and will feature an expert speaker line-up and leading companies showcasing new equipment.

This article is based on an article published in Inside Construction (October 2018). 

InfraBuild (formerly LIBERTY OneSteel) recognises the value of engaging early on with contractors to deliver optimum supply chain efficiencies and to overcome budget and time constraints. Among the many recent mega projects to have been successfully delivered on the back of early collaboration between InfraBuild and its construction partners are the following:

  • Torrens River Junction (SA)
  • Optus Stadium (WA)
  • Crown Sydney early works (NSW)

Main image of the Crown Sydney early works courtesy High Exposure

Article published on Thursday, 01 January 2015

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