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Thursday , 11 August 2022

Risk Management:Elevated Metros

The importance of risk management in today?s complex elevated Metro projects, where cost overruns in design and construction are common place, cannot be emphasized more. Due to the uncertainty underlying the various elements of work, cost overruns and schedule delays occur. The authors take a look at the risks involved and feel a proper mechanism should be established to capture these uncertainties to the extent possible and incorporate the same in the development of the risk management framework.

Risk management is the set of activities concerned with identifying potential risks, analysing their consequences and devising and implementing responses so as to ensure the project objectives and delivery goals are achieved. The process of risk management is iterative with emphasis on the identification of risks, actions to control them and identify benefits from opportunities. The very reason for managing risk is to identify and deal with risks long before they occur. There are a number of stakeholders involved in a mega project and risk management of specific risks shall be by identified parties.

The process of evaluating risk and its influence is as above:

There are many different ways to evaluate risk and one of the simple ways to evaluate it is by its qualitative assessment. Risk analysis is done using the Risk Assessment Matrix shown below. ?Major risks? are defined in terms of High Impact and High Probability, High Probability and Medium Impact and also in terms of Medium Probability and High Impact. Risks ranked ?Moderate? are defined as risks being of Medium Impact with Medium Probability and Low Probability with High Impact. ?Minor risks? are described as those risks with Low Probability and Low Impact or High Probability and Low Impact or with Low Probability and Medium Impact or with Medium Probability and Low Impact.

Major Risks for Elevated Metro Project and Possible Mitigation

1. Aggressive Time Line

In order to complete the project on time and keep pace with the critical programme requirements, there are some important steps that should be taken into consideration at a very early stage on the project:

? Manage the detail – Detailing starts with the early design stage of the project and continues all the way to the testing and commissioning phase. Capturing the various activities on a schedule, which flows into the Risk Management tracker, will synchronize planning with Risk Management.

? Integrated civil and system schedule planning – Independent teams are set up on all projects for the Civil and the Systems work, but a huge task is to integrate the elements of work between these teams and carefully plan the handover, access and interface between the parties. The earlier it is done in a project, the better.

? Operating input at early stage – Inputs from the operations team are required in the initial stages in order to establish the requirements for the testing and commissioning phase, operation and maintenance manuals and other related issues that may arise at the operating stage of the project.

? Coordinate with stakeholders and external parties to avoid associated delays – The stakeholders on a project include government entities that give permission for construction, entities that give approvals, various design developers and reviewers and of course the contractors who deliver on the construction.

? Establish strategies for early integrated testing and commissioning on section of civil works.

? Coordinated Installation Plan (CIP) – This can be developed early by means of a simple matrix structure where the interface requirements between systems are identified and a timeline or a date of the actual interface activity is defined.

? Focus on handover dates – Handover dates with definite degrees of access have to be defined in the various contracts. These will realign based on the Right of Way (RoW) and access available from other vendors. The realignment of these days should be managed through an integrated schedule.

2. Stations Completion

Stations are pretty simple structures but typically get delayed in Elevated Metro projects as they form a critical interface from Viaduct to Systems. As the viaduct contractor completes and works through his portion of work, the delays attributed to this stage get passed on to the stations contractor. Similarly as the system contractors cannot compress their aggressive schedules, the onus is on the station contractor to complete the set of activities and manage access to the various vendors through the CIP mentioned above. To cater for short-term peak work with long term planning and prepare for stations completion it is important to establish the minimum that needs to be built, consider temporary facilities (staircase arrangements etc.), develop comprehensive interface plan, provide sequence awareness to all vendors, provide systems continuity and address all access aspects during construction.

3. Right of Way (RoW) / Government Access to Land

Right of Way(RoW) is critical for any project that gets built in a public environment. Government plays a crucial part in providing access and giving the fronts to the developer to undertake the work.

The challenges that are faced by the Metro sector in RoW issues in India need to be overcome starting at the policy level. Reforms are required to spell out land acquisition norms, draw up a model agreement that can be used as a template and define guidelines that can be used across the various states. Traffic management plans should be prepared well in advance with critical traffic studies done for traffic planning. During this process, due consideration needs to be given to safety and quality standards, that are adopted on the project.

4. Construction of Rail Over Bridges (RoBs)

Rail Over Bridges generally add a lot of time to the project. The design development process for the Rail Over Bridges is elaborate and time consuming. The construction work takes place in ?blocks? of time that is allotted by the railway authorities. Getting the utility surveys done ahead of time is always a good idea. Any change in design, such as in case of a pipeline/electrical duct being unearthed during the construction work, will mean that the design team will need to revisit the drawings and make the appropriate changes and fresh approvals would be required for new design drawings. The design process may be standardized, thus improving the design turnaround time. Efforts need to be made to fast track the approval process. Risk mitigation for this major risk will involve identifying and ordering all the temporary structures ahead of time, considering alternate schedules, applying for block time approvals ahead of time, completing adjacent piers ahead of time and as with the previous risk, developing Traffic Management Plans along with effective Safety and Quality Plans.

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