New Zealand software innovator CS-VUE has enhanced an environmental compliance management system for one of the country’s largest infrastructure projects – the NZ Transport Agency’s $709.5m motorway from Pūhoi to Warkworth. It is the first stage of the Ara Tūhono – Pūhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance.
It’s a long way from where it all began. In 2004 the software start-up business was created to help the former Auckland City Council better manage its stormwater consents.
CS-VUE has since grown in staff, clients and turnover. In recent years, work includes providing software to manage the New Zealand Transport Agency’s operational network and capital project consents. Roads of National Significance projects can involve hundreds of consents across multiple teams and construction areas, with work often staged.
The Transport Agency says prior to using CS-VUE’s software to help manage their consent conditions and compliance, they relied on a range of spreadsheet-type systems that differed from contract to contract.
When the Transport Agency’s second Public Private Partnership (PPP) Pūhoi to Warkworth was in the procurement phase, CS-VUE General Manager Wayne Fisher got a phone call.
“I recall they wanted us to design some enhancements to the software and quickly,” he laughs. “We were thrilled for the call up. It was scoped, designed and built in time for the award of the contract to Northern Express Group (NX2).”
Mr Fisher says with construction underway, their software module is now doing its job and will continue to well after the four-lane motorway opens because many of the consents are ongoing, as is monitoring and compliance.
Known as their ‘Two Step Sign Off’ module, CS-VUE has built in extra capability and better data exchange to effectively allow “two-way conversations” between the consent holder and its contractors and the regulator, Auckland Council.
“Normally a consent holder would rely solely on its contractors to ensure every consent was being monitored and complied with. Our module gives the Transport Agency direct oversight and Auckland Council instant access to the status of consents with the ability to directly sign them off.”
Graham Jones, Senior Monitoring Officer at Auckland Council’s Resource Consents department says: “To the best of my knowledge this is the first time the regulator has shared a common platform with both the consent holder, the NZ Transport Agency and the contractor, NX2. All parties having access to common software allows us all to be on the same page at any instant in time on the status of conditions. As a project team, it allows us to work in a more collaborative manner.”
Tom Newson, NZTA’s Principal Project Manager, says: “As a PPP, the Pūhoi to Warkworth conditions require input and oversight from the three key parties during construction and once in service to ensure compliance and management of the outcomes-based consents set by the Board of Inquiry in 2014. CS-VUE’s new system provides all parties with quick access and a single source of truth via a two-step validation process with Auckland Council. We’re using it as a pilot with a view to using the same CS-VUE application on other large roading infrastructure projects, such as East West Link and the Northern Corridor improvements.”
Mr Fisher says with the 18.5km motorway scheduled to open by 2022, having a cloud-based environmental compliance management system that each party can access 24/7 not only means greater transparency, which helps to avoid any breaches and saves time.”
CS-VUE is proud of its role with the Pūhoi to Warkworth PPP, which will ultimately help in the Northern Express Group’s construction, management and maintenance of the motorway for the five-year construction and its further 25-year operational period.
“The Transport Agency is a massive government agency with a huge work programme. They’re also champions of innovation. As a New Zealand-owned and operated software business, we’re delighted to be working alongside them on a daily basis. It just goes to show there is room for local products and suppliers if they can deliver and keep up.”
Mr Newson says the Pūhoi to Warkworth outcome-based RMA conditions provide greater flexibility to the contractor in both design and construction than most other Transport Agency projects. It also requires vigilance from a compliance standpoint.
CS-VUE is also working with about 20 percent of the country’s district and city councils ensuring they keep on top of their often complex and lengthy consents granted by regional councils. For Auckland Council, CS-VUE manages its stormwater and contaminated land sites.
“Our clients have achieved great results around improving information accuracy and auditability. We provide tools to achieve better business analytics and we can reduce an organisation’s annual operating costs.
Board directors prick up their ears when we talk about improvements to governance, risk and compliance. While helping to keep the rates down seems to resonate with council procurement managers. Our products actually offer many tangible advantages.”
He says public and private entities also respond positively to the concept of resilience and keeping critical information safe from the likes of earthquakes, floods or fires. CS-VUE achieves this as its software is entirely cloud-based, putting everything in one place for easy management, and no capital expenditure on hardware is required.
CS-VUE also manages and tracks resource consents for big infrastructure players and heavy industry. Most consents being managed are around air discharge, water, land use, and trade waste, or consents issued by NZ Petroleum & Minerals for extraction. Sectors include oil and gas, quarrying, mining, and some of the country’s key ports. While clients include GBC Winstone, Bathurst Resources, Fulton Hogan, Landcorp, NZ Defence Force, KiwiRail, BP and Shell. Large packaging company, PACT, is among its Australian clients.
And it’s not just about delivering up-to-the-minute environmental balance sheets. Since the Health and Safety At Work Act came into force in April last year, CS-VUE has designed and implemented software to help businesses and organisations better manage and mitigate risks in the workplace.
“Over the past 13 years in software we’ve learnt you can have all the marketing, management and techno speak you want, but what really defines whether you succeed or not is the quality of your software developers and CS-VUE has an exceptional team.
“We work really hard to keep ahead of change and continuously improve. That is how we’ve secured great clients and big projects,” says Wayne Fisher.
"The change to the constitution of Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) to allow it to fund water storage projects that directly lead to environmental benefits is a very positive step and should be extended to recognise resilience and social benefits as well," says Infrastructure New Zealand, Chief Executive Stephen Selwood.
"To date, existing rules guiding the government's irrigation investment arm have placed a too narrow focus on direct economic benefits.
"This has resulted in disproportionate emphasis on maximising land use productivity and insufficient recognition of wider economic, social and environmental benefits.
"Widening the criteria to include the full scope of costs and benefits from irrigation is critical.
"Other benefits not currently adequately recognised include enhancing the resilience of rural areas in the face of climate change, supporting employment and improving the quality and amenity of freshwater resources.
"In the immediate term, this means wider economic and social benefits, including increased regional employment and improved freshwater swimming quality, will be better reflected in the reasons the public invests in irrigation infrastructure.
"We also know that irrigation is increasingly being used to improve environmental performance by recharging aquifers, guaranteeing minimum river flows and flushing systems.
"These benefits are of the utmost importance over the long term as rainfall patterns shift in response to climate change.
"Yet resilience is not currently a significant driver for irrigation investment, and even environmental factors are approached from the perspective of mitigating effects rather than improving environmental performance.
"Assessing the full spectrum of costs and benefits over the long term is a core infrastructure activity and needs to be included in CIIL’s brief," Selwood says.
| An InfrastructureNZ release with MSCNewsWire || September 5, 2017 |||
"The National Party’s announcement today that, if elected, it will set up an independent National Infrastructure Commission should have cross party support," says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen Selwood.
"Establishment of such a body will bring New Zealand’s infrastructure practices up to speed with Australia, the UK, Canada and other leading countries.
"The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission was established in 2015 to provide independent, strategic thinking, analysis and advice to address the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs.
"A New Zealand infrastructure commission needs to be charged with equivalent responsibility. This would include investigating and recommending responses to our most pressing issues in housing, freshwater quality and congestion, in addition to oversight of project delivery, procurement, and the national infrastructure pipeline.
"The size of the infrastructure workload ahead means we have to make the most of every dollar spent. Having a public entity working in New Zealand's best interests and with expertise in project delivery is critical.
"National’s announcement today is focussed on leveraging private sector capital and expertise through Public Private Partnerships.
"PPPs are an important component of any rational infrastructure delivery programme, but the Commission needs to encompass all forms of project delivery, regardless of whether or not private capital is involved.
"Successive surveys by Infrastructure NZ and other evidence shows that New Zealand’s infrastructure procurement can significantly be improved and international experience shows there are billions of dollars of benefit from doing so.
"Having our best and most experienced people involved when the Government buys large and complex assets like motorways, railways, schools, and hospitals minimises the risk of mistakes and capitalises on the investment opportunity.
"It’s not only individual projects which will benefit from a new body. A clear and committed national infrastructure pipeline has for many years been an industry priority. Businesses who deliver assets on behalf of governments need to know what’s ahead and if the Commission can provide greater certainty around this it will make a big difference to investment and productivity in the sector.
"These are the reasons why Canada, through Partnerships BC and Infrastructure Ontario, the UK, through the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and Scottish Futures Trust, and Australia through Infrastructure NSW and Major Projects Victoria have all picked up the model.
"Some of the greatest benefits could be realised from using the Commission to assist local government with its $50 billion infrastructure programme. Bundling council projects and supporting our smallest infrastructure providers with specialist knowledge will reduce project overruns and help provide better services at lower cost to ratepayers.
"For the Commission to be successful, it will need arm’s length independence from the Government, like the Commerce Commission or Reserve Bank, to ensure that it acts apolitically in New Zealand’s long term interests.
"A specialist infrastructure body is a really positive step forward for New Zealand. It is a bi-partisan response to New Zealand’s infrastructure needs and should receive cross-party support," Selwood says.
| An Infrastructure New Zealand release || September 1, 2017 |||
With a reported $11 billion dollars to be spent on strengthening infrastructure over the next four years, the New Zealand government’s pledged funding has fostered strong confidence among the domestic workforce.
In a survey conducted by global recruitment specialist, Michael Page, professionals in New Zealand rated the fourth highest in employment confidence within Asia Pacific. The Michael Page Job Applicant Confidence Index Q2 2017, evaluated the responses of mid to senior-level employees across industries and revealed New Zealand ranked 72 on the confidence index, above the Asia Pacific average of 64.
“The government is investing in infrastructure on the back of the population growth. This has created new job opportunities for professionals in the building sector including those skilled in civil engineering, residential property as well as commercial construction. This is where we are seeing the largest demand for talent right now,” observes Pete Macauley, Regional Director, Michael Page New Zealand.
Most notably, the record numbers of immigration to New Zealand has also driven growth in the construction, retail, manufacturing, consumer products and professional services industries. In view of the country’s hiring demand for professionals outstripping the supply, 79% of job seekers say that they are confident of securing a job in less than three months. In addition, 48% responded with optimism stating they see good employment opportunities in their areas of expertise and 68% of job seekers are confident the job market will get better in the next six months.
“We have seen organisations focus on promotion prospects for existing employees in the recent years which has resulted in strong optimism among professionals. However this has led to a highly candidate-driven employment landscape as professionals who can see a succession plan for themselves in their companies are unlikely to leave,” Pete Macauley shares his insights.
On attracting top tier candidates in New Zealand, Pete Macauley continues, “Companies are doing a very good job of retaining their best talent. A lot of human resources strategising has gone into ensuring learning and development as well as personal progression are well integrated into every employee’s career. Professionals in New Zealand are most concerned with selecting employers who can prove that they will progress on performance and continually invest in internal growth opportunities.”
Respondents to the Michael Page Job Applicant Confidence Index Q2 2017 also listed developing new skills (42%) and achieving better work-life balance (36%) as the top two reasons why they are most likely to switch jobs.
On top of investing heavily in organisational growth to enhance skills development, companies have also harnessed the latest technologies to allow employees their desired work-life balance. As more hiring managers recognise that flexibility as a talent attraction tool, efforts have also gone towards enabling professionals to do their job outside of the office and promoting dynamic working.
In New Zealand’s current hiring market, the strongest talent are aware of their position to demand the best compensation packages. Employers who can fulfill all their requirements for salary, career development and work-life balance will be best placed to secure top tier candidates for further business growth.
Editor’s note: The Michael Page Job Applicant Confidence Index Q2 2017 is a measure of how optimistic job applicants are about the current job market. The responses are based on those that applied for a job published on our Michael Page website in Q2 2017
| A SmartRecruitmentNews release || August 19, 2017 \\\
Raimondi Cranes, an Italian equipment manufacturer owned by Saudi Arabia’s KBW Investments, has appointed Heavy Lift Designs (HLD) as its official agent in New Zealand.
Wellington-based HLD will represent Raimondi Cranes in New Zealand’s North and South Islands, conducting all installation and dismantling procedures.
Founded in 2014 by managing director, Eng Blake Hammon, HLD provides engineering services for New Zealand’s heavy lifting segment, following previous success in New South Wales, Australia.
The firm’s service offering includes technical lift planning, erection, dismantling, and site planning, as well as feasibility assessments, third-party verification, and equipment sourcing.
Commenting on heavy lifting-related activities in his domestic market, Hammon said: “I see New Zealand as the opportune place for HLD to launch new technologies; there is substantial activity in the construction and engineering sectors with room for a successful entrepreneurial-driven market entry.”
Under the agency of HLD, Raimondi Cranes’ topless tower and luffing jib models will be made available to clients across New Zealand, together with aftersales and technical support.
READ: Saudi-owned Raimondi supplies six cranes for French uni project
“HLD’s entire value proposition is based on bringing modern engineering solutions, developed and drafted with precision and care, to the construction industry,” Hammon added. “Raimondi Cranes is a fantastic, forward-thinking crane manufacturer; for this reason, we actively pursued the Raimondi agency appointment, and we’re looking forward to bringing the company’s highly reputable, solution based products to market.”
Raimondi Cranes’ partnership with HLD in New Zealand follows recent appointments of representatives in South Germany and Great Britain.
The moves form part of the manufacturer’s broader strategy to increase its market share in global construction hubs, according to commercial director, Mauro Masetti.
| A ConstructionWeekOnline release || August 14, 2017 |||
McConnell Dowell has been awarded the contract for Te Mato Vai Stage 2 which includes the design and construction of 10 water intake upgrades.
Awarding of the contract marks a milestone in the progress of the Te Mato Vai project and comes after consent was granted from landowners of all 10 intakes to undertake surveys to provide information for detailed designs.
The scope of Te Mato Vai Stage 2 involves the upgrade of water inlets, construction of treatment facilities, additional storage capacity as well as the replacement of trunk mains and some improvements to access roads.
As part of their design-build contract, the McConnell Dowell team will undertake preliminary surveys, geotechnical investigation, develop detailed designs and do construction.
They will also operate the system with the Cook Islands Government for 12 months at completion of construction as part of a training and capacity building exercise, as well as ensuring the supply meets performance requirements.
McConnell Dowell worked on the Avatiu Port development project for the Cook Islands government and Ports Authority, completed in 2013.
A spokesman for the project said the company’s existing relationships with local resources and the people of Rarotonga would be valuable in the successful implementation of the Te Mato Vai Stage 2 works.
They are relationships that Finance minister Mark Brown says will see the government’s capital investment flow back into the local community and workforce.
A core team from McConnell Dowell will be based in Rarotonga to oversee the Stage 2 works, which will be carried out mostly by local contractors and workers.
GHD New Zealand is the engineer to the contract, and will have a full time presence in Rarotonga for the full duration of construction.
The company is responsible for managing and monitoring the works with regards to performance and compliance to all relevant regulations and quality standards, on behalf of the Cook Islands Government.
Brown acknowledges the lengthy and complex tender process undertaken between GHD New Zealand, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, the Crown Law Office and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, before McConnell Dowell was identified as preferred tenderer on May 23.
Since that time, a final scope has been negotiated for a contract price acceptable to the Cook Islands government.
The contract is worth $34.6 million, and is the outcome of a well prepared construction plan with a scope of work that maximises value for money and will deliver a safe and reliable water supply to the people of Rarotonga.
During discussions, much consideration was given to ensuring that guarantees and warranties for the treatment facilities are in place and that the system can be managed and operated with minimal maintenance.
This negotiation phase also reduced the contract price by $4.6 million without any detrimental effect on the project outcomes.
The spokesman said the tender process had established a productive relationship between the Cook Islands Government, GHD New Zealand, and McConnell Dowell.
The contract is expected to be signed in the next few weeks with preliminary surveys starting shortly afterwards.
A new phase of landowner meetings will be undertaken over coming months, to discuss survey findings, develop the detailed designs and obtain landowners’ consent to proceed with construction.
“Government will continue to work very closely with landowners not only throughout the project but also far into the future as part of the upkeep of this national investment,” says Brown.
According to the project programme the detailed designs will be complete before the end of 2017, with the physical works scheduled to start in 2018. The work will take around two and a half years to complete.
The 10 intakes are to be upgraded are Avana, Avatiu, Matavera, Ngatoe, Papua, Taipara, Takuvaine, Totokoitu, Tupapa and Turangi.
| A Cook Islands News release || August 14, 2017 |||
Property Council New Zealand welcomes the Government's announcement of a Crown company to invest in housing infrastructure.
“The Property Council has long called for adequate funding tools, and at last the Crown gives us a useful solution to address New Zealand’s housing crisis,” says Connal Townsend, chief executive, Property Council New Zealand.
“We have a severe lack of housing. If we continue along this path, you will see more homelessness.
“The development community is ready to respond to the urgent need for more housing. The handbrake has been a lack of infrastructure such as roading, water and sewerage that supports development. Building cities costs a lot of money and infrastructure is a large proportion of that cost.”
"The $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund whilst a great initiative does not address how some councils, who are ruled by strict debt ratios, would be able to carry that debt on their balance sheet."
Mr Townsend believes this move by the Government to co-invest $600 million alongside local councils and private investors in network infrastructure for housing development, will finally start to remove the handbrake.
“The traditional way we have funded growth in our cities is way out of date and cannot deliver the infrastructure and housing we need.
“By setting up a Crown company, the Crown retains the legal ownership of the debt, thus allowing councils to access the fund and get much needed infrastructure built. This has enormous potential, provided councils also partner with the development community.”
| A Property Council NZ release || July 24, 2017 |||
The Government will co-invest up to $600 million alongside local councils and private investors in network infrastructure for big new housing developments through a re-purposed ultra-fast broadband company, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Local Government Minister Anne Tolley say.
“Crown Fibre Holdings will be re-named Crown Infrastructure Partners, and bring the investment skills and experience gained through the Government’s world-leading ultra-fast broadband rollout to the job of attracting private investment in roading and water infrastructure that open up big new tracts of land for more housing development,” Mr Joyce says.
"Crown Infrastructure Partners will set up special purpose companies to build and own new trunk infrastructure for housing developments in return for dedicated long term revenue streams from councils through targeted rates and volumetric charging for use of the infrastructure by new residents.”
“This innovative new funding method will be made available to cash-strapped councils who are struggling to fund new long-term infrastructure from their own balance sheets,” Mrs Tolley says.
“Councils will have the option of buying back the infrastructure at some point in the future, but won’t have to commit to doing so. This is all about introducing outside capital to build this infrastructure, so current ratepayers don’t get burdened with all the costs of growth.”
Two of the earliest projects to be assessed by Crown Infrastructure Partners for investment will be the Auckland North and Auckland South projects previously submitted by Auckland Council as requiring investment outside the Council’s own balance sheet.
“These two large projects can provide an additional 5,500 homes in Wainui to the north of Auckland, and 17,800 homes across Pukekohe, Paerata and Drury to the south of the city,” Mrs Tolley says.
Mr Joyce says the Government is prepared to be an investor alongside the private sector and take up some of the early uptake risk.
“We learnt from the ultra-fast broadband programme that if we de-risk some of the early stages of the investment, we can bring in private sector investors to take on much of the heavy lifting as the investments mature,” Mr Joyce says. “We would expect the Crown’s investment in each project to be matched with at least one to one with private sector investment over time.”
“This new model is another way in which we are helping Councils in our fastest growing cities to open up more land supply so more Kiwis can achieve the goal of home ownership,”
Mr Joyce says it forms part of our comprehensive programme for lifting housing supply to meet the needs of a confident growing country.
“Crown Infrastructure Partners is the logical next step in infrastructure funding following the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund which will deliver 60,000 houses across our fastest growing population centres over the next ten years.
Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP)Questions and Answers
What is Crown Infrastructure Partners?
CIP is a Crown company (formerly Crown Fibre Holdings) that is being tasked with designing and implementing new commercial models to attract co-investment from the private or other sectors and achieve the Government’s objectives for the efficient deployment of water and roading infrastructure to support the timely increase of housing supply.
The aim is to increase the total investment in local arterial roading and network water projects needed to make more housing development possible by tapping private sources of capital.
Why repurpose CFH as CIP?
A number of corporate structures were identified during the review phase. Establishing a . . .