A Systems Approach to Infrastructure Delivery – Part 2: Putting the principles into practice

Document type: Case Study
Author: Institution of Civil Engineers
Publication Date: 20/04/2022

  • Abstract

    The second report from ICE’s Systems Approach to Infrastructure Delivery review shows how infrastructure projects, programmes, and supply chain businesses are using systems thinking to deliver better outcomes.

    In December 2020, ICE published the findings of a major review into improving the delivery of major infrastructure projects.

    A Systems Approach to Infrastructure Delivery (SAID) concluded that the infrastructure sector too often struggles to cope with projects that require the planning delivery and integration of complex systems.

    SAID also found that the services provided by infrastructure operators are increasingly dependent on technology and software that is evolving at a far faster rate than the lifecycle of the road, tunnel or other structure in which they are embedded.

    All of this means that while traditional civil engineering remains a large capital cost, a construction focused approach to bringing new and upgraded infrastructure into operation looks increasingly obsolete.

    The SAID report proposed eight principles for a new approach that is grounded in systems thinking.

    In this second report, those principles are used to analyse the real-world experience of five projects and programmes: Tideway, Crossrail, East West Rail, the British Antarctic Survey’s Infrastructure Modernisation Programme and Anglian Water’s Strategic Pipeline Alliance.

    It also draws on insight from Costain about the challenges of developing the capability to adopt a systems approach within a large supply-chain business.

    The insight from these deep-dive case studies will help other projects and practitioners unlock the benefits of a Systems Approach to Infrastructure Delivery.

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