Improving infrastructure delivery: new resource fills gap in guidance for clients to reduce corruption, mismanagement and poor procurement

Engineers Against Poverty and the School of Construction Economics and Management, University of Witwatersrand have published, A Client Guide for Improving Infrastructure Project Outcomes. Authored by Dr Ron Watermeyer, the resource recognises the responsibility of the client in improving infrastructure delivery and fills an important gap in the practical guidance available for clients to do this.

Infrastructure provides a backbone for society’s needs. When poor quality infrastructure - such as roads and bridges and essential services like hospitals and schools are built - it is the ordinary citizens who suffer the most and whose every-day lives are impacted. Unfortunately, many sub-standard infrastructure projects do continue to be delivered around the world and can be traced to a lack of good governance, poor procurement and ineffective management. As the global demand for infrastructure grows, addressing these issues is essential.  

To look at just one country example – that of South Africa - approximately $(US)26 billion (R315 billion) is spent on public infrastructure per annum and it estimated that a 30% saving ($8(US) billion) could be achieved through better client leadership, improved governance and an effective procurement strategy. Further, if inefficiencies in the management process were addressed, such as layers of unnecessary reporting and surplus government staff involved, even greater savings could be possible.

The Guide emphasises that the client is crucial in setting the direction of good governance. It is the client that needs to provide effective leadership and direction to the delivery team and to meaningfully engage with internal and external stakeholders. Although the Guide targets clients, it is relevant to all with an interest in infrastructure projects including, practitioners, professionals, students, lecturers, researchers, decision makers and stakeholders.

The Guide draws on several national and international standards published in recent years and effectively demonstrates that outcomes of any project regardless of its size, complexity and location can be bettered.

Key areas of the Guide focus on:

  • Identifying practices such as the outcome of client decision-making to achieve an optimal balance of project benefits, risks and costs.
  • Offering practical guidance on how a client should go about establishing a client team and the structuring of governance arrangements.
  • Outlining critical knowledge areas for effective delivery, namely, delivery management, procurement, portfolio, programme and project management, risk and change management and governance.
  • Describing a methodology in relation to controlling workflows in differing contexts.
  • Outlining the range of project delivery routes and procurement options.
  • Discussing the concept of value for money.
  • Suggesting what clients can do to improve project outcomes in the design of their delivery management systems.

Download: A Client Guide for Improving Infrastructure Project Outcomes.

Date Published: 14 May 2018
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