WHITEPAPER: Mastering multi-disciplinary engineering
across Australia's rail network
Introduction
Australia's railway engi...
Discipline silos
Hammer notes that one of the most significant problems encountered when
delivering a rail project is the ...
However, managers, designers and construction engineers can significantly boost
the efficiency of rail projects by gaining...
"The workshop is a chance to learn from those who have been there and done it
before. It's a real opportunity to learn fro...
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Whitepaper: Managing Multi-Disciplinary Rail Engineering Projects

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One of the most significant problems encountered when delivering a rail project is the disconnect between different disciplines.

A railway engineering scheme is likely to involve experts from numerous sectors, including safety and system assurance; signalling, control and protection; electrical engineering; rolling stock; and operational requirements. This whitepaper takes a closer look at the challenges that need to be overcome when delivering multi-disciplinary rail engineering projects. For more information, please visit http://www.iired.com.au/railworkshop2014

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Transcript of "Whitepaper: Managing Multi-Disciplinary Rail Engineering Projects"

  1. 1. WHITEPAPER: Mastering multi-disciplinary engineering across Australia's rail network Introduction Australia's railway engineering industry generates revenues of more than $4 billion a year, and recent federal government announcements suggest this is only going to increase. In July 2013, Infrastructure Australia launched its 50-year National Infrastructure Plan, which highlighted several large-scale projects on the horizon. These include Brisbane's Cross River Rail, the Melbourne Metro and the Sydney Light Rail. Furthermore, deputy prime minister Warren Truss announced in November that an Inland Rail Implementation Group will be established. This will support the development of the Inland Rail project, a railway that will stretch from Melbourne to Darwin. With these schemes already in the pipeline and a number of others being discussed, there will be increased pressure on the railway engineering industry to deliver highquality networks on time and within budget. However, this is easier said than done when multiple disciplines are involved in the design process, creating an environment where skills and knowledge are siloed across the project. Addressing this problem effectively can help to boost productivity, streamline existing processes and improve communication on future projects. Railway project challenges Citing the Inland Rail scheme as an example, chief executive officer of the Australasian Railway Association Bryan Nye highlighted several issues major transport infrastructure projects often face. "For such a large project in a complicated policy environment, there is a lot that needs to be resolved - such as the exact corridor, ownership arrangements, funding and links to the resource sector," he explains. This lack of a comprehensive strategy is not unique to the Inland Rail initiative. Bob Hammer, principal consultant for transport at Jacobs, says a disorganised approach can hinder many projects in the design phase. He highlighted two issues in particular that can prevent the timely and low-cost delivery of rail projects. For more information, please visit: www.iired.com.au/railworkshop2014
  2. 2. Discipline silos Hammer notes that one of the most significant problems encountered when delivering a rail project is the disconnect between different disciplines. A railway engineering scheme is likely to involve experts from numerous sectors, including safety and system assurance; signalling, control and protection; electrical engineering; rolling stock; and operational requirements. A lack of communication between these silos means projects often lack a cohesive approach that fully utilises the skills and knowledge of each group. "There's still a tendency for design to be done in discipline silos. Therefore, mistakes happen in the interfaces between the different disciplines," Hammer says. "Poor communication leads to mistakes happening, which then causes time overruns and additional costs." Poor project focus Another issue that project managers and designers must tackle is a lack of clarity and understanding in what rail operators actually want. Hammer says the scope of a rail initiative is often defined in engineering terms rather than operational functional requirements, leading to confusion over how to achieve the desired project outcome. "There are two main problems," he states. "One is to make sure you've got the right project and the second is to make sure you deliver the project right." Further challenges arise when there is no understanding of how a project will be commissioned and put into operation during the design phase. Overcoming these challenges The above issues suggest there is a fundamental gap in the knowledge and appreciation of how different disciplines must interact to overcome the technical challenges of a modern rail project. "Ultimately, there is a lack of understanding of how the whole system works together to provide the right outcomes," Hammer adds. "This is exacerbated by the fact that people must deliver against specific targets for their own discipline, rather than an overall integrated approach." For more information, please visit: www.iired.com.au/railworkshop2014
  3. 3. However, managers, designers and construction engineers can significantly boost the efficiency of rail projects by gaining an understanding of the ways in which particular disciplines interact with each other. The Rail Multi-Disciplinary Engineering Workshop can help people from all backgrounds do this. It can improve their knowledge of the design, build, operation and management of the sub-systems and interfaces of railways. Goals and benefits This first-of-its-kind workshop, which takes place on February 26 and 27 2014 in Sydney, brings together experts of the railway development landscape. Participants are encouraged to build a broader and more informed perspective of how disciplines interact through a range of case study presentations and discussions. Presenters include Stephen Scott, general manager of operations planning at Sydney Trains; senior civil engineer at Aurecon Joel Walsh; and Andrew Forster, manager of asset strategy and emerging technology at Queensland Rail. Over the two days, attendees will learn more about all of the major railway engineering disciplines:           operational requirements safety and system assurance rolling stock permanent way, track design civil and structural engineering signalling, control and protection electrical engineering telecommunications commissioning operational readiness This breadth and depth of knowledge is designed to offer attendees a comprehensive look at each discipline, while giving them the opportunity to ask questions and make contributions through interactive discussions. Hammer, who is chairperson for the workshop, says it provides individuals with an awareness of the issues that can arise during a project's design phase, and offers potential ways of addressing problems. "People should come away with a realisation that their discipline is a part of a whole project - and that the total is better than the sum of its parts," he says. For more information, please visit: www.iired.com.au/railworkshop2014
  4. 4. "The workshop is a chance to learn from those who have been there and done it before. It's a real opportunity to learn from others and discuss how rail projects come together." Summary of outcomes       Develop a detailed understanding of every key job and discipline involved in a rail project environment Learn the goals, challenges, issues and constraints of each discipline Learn how to use this information to improve interactions and enhance final project outcomes Gain the knowledge to perform at an optimum level Interact with more confidence and provide better insights Take home a robust project blueprint that can be implemented in the workplace If you would like to learn more about multi-disciplinary railway engineering or are interested in attending the workshop, please contact Informa Australia or click here. For more information, please visit: www.iired.com.au/railworkshop2014

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