Types of relationships – Sydney Metro Northwest
Stakeholder engagement #10
Stakeholder engagement conversations and complexity vary over the project lifecycle’. Within a large infrastructure project there are both vertical and horizontal relationships.
‘The vertical relationships describe the type of conversations being undertaken by key stakeholders, while the horizontal relationships reflect the complexity of stakeholder engagement across a phase of the project lifecycle.’
The vertical relationships describe the type of conversations being undertaken by key stakeholders, are they strategic, operational and/or tactical? As shown in figure 5, these types of conversations are driven by the phase of the project lifecycle. For example, during concept phase government agencies and industry representatives come together to develop possible concepts for a major project. As the project progresses into feasibility the conversations change to operational as consortium partners begin to plan how the work could be done. Moving into execution the conversations become more tactical to ensure the work gets done effectively.
Figure 5: Stakeholder vertical and horizontal relationships
The horizontal relationships reflect the complexity of stakeholder engagement across a phase of the project lifecycle. During concept there are only a few stakeholders. For example, agencies and industry coming together while liaising with the community to test concepts and possible ideas. As the project progresses through the lifecycle phases the number of stakeholders increase.
This increase is visually represented in figure 5 by the growing width of the oval shaded areas, and peaks during the execution phase, before ramping back during operations. During execution, consortium partners have their teams on the ground working together, and working with government agencies and the community to get the work done. As the stakeholder numbers increase, so does the complexity of stakeholder engagement.
It’s important to recognise communications are often drawn up and down vertical relationships. For example, the project may be in execution although conversations may have to be directed back to feasibility to confirm the scope, and then back to concept to confirm the business case. There are up and down conversations throughout the life of the project.
Stakeholder engagement types of conversations and complexity vary over the project lifecycle. This is more pronounced on large infrastructure projects due to the large numbers of stakeholders, complexity of the contractual arrangement and the size of the project. The remainder of this post explores each phase of the project lifecycle using the Sydney Metro Northwest project as a case study.
Agencies/Industry (Concept phase)
‘Strategic conversations should not be rushed, its takes time‘
Strategic conversations between agencies and industry can take many years to develop innovative concepts. The Sydney Metro North project was originally announced in 1998, the project went through a number of different governments and was eventually parked and then resurfaced in 2010. During these years, multiple government agencies and industry experts from around the world, worked together to develop possible concepts and a viable business case. The community was also engaged to help influence the corridor and station locations. These strategic conversations should not be rushed, it takes time for agencies, industry and the community to develop concepts and build genuine project momentum.
‘Transport for NSW’ recognised without strong industry participation, the project could not progress‘
Agencies and industry continue to work together to develop both the project and possible delivery strategies. During this prefeasibility phase, conversations remain strategic and the number of stakeholders continue to increase. With the project approved to continue development, government agencies and industry continue to develop the concepts and transition these into various procurement models which eventuate in a client/contract relationship. The Sydney Metro Northwest project procurement models focused on transferring risk from the government to the private sector as shown in figure 6.
Figure 6: contracting models and risk transfer
The procurement was broken down into five major packages as shown in figure7. Three of these five packages were released to industry via forums in order to test the market and suitability of the procurement model.
Figure 7: Sydney Metro Northwest project contract strategy
The design and construct Tunnels and Station Civil works (TSC) had more than 320 people representing 170 national and international firms attended the briefing. The design and construct Surface and Viaduct Civil Works (SVC) had more than 100 people representing Australian and overseas companies attended the industry briefing. Finally, the design, build, operate and maintain contract (Operations, Trains and Systems Public Private Partnership – OTS PPP) had more than 70 meetings with industry both in Australia and overseas. These important stakeholder engagement conversations helped to shape how the Sydney Metro Northwest project could be delivered in a client/contract relationship.
Effective stakeholder engagement is critical between agencies and industry, for a viable delivery strategy to be identified. ‘Transport for NSW’ recognised without strong industry participation, the project could not progress. The government was not just looking for someone to help build the project, in the case of the OTS PPP they also wanted industry to help fund the project.
The next post in this series will explore these relationships mapped to feasibility, execution and operations phases within the project lifecycle.