Project 13 early adopters reveal aspirations for success

Early adopters of Project 13 reveal how industry, enterprises and integrated delivery models are combining to deliver better performance and value.

ICE Strategy Session - Project 13
ICE Strategy Session - Project 13

Early adopters of Project 13 told the latest ICE Strategy Session that they anticipate savings of between 15-20% on infrastructure costs, as a result of using the approach, with greater assurance over costs expected to encourage increased investment.

All parts of the industry were encouraged to ‘get on board’ and become part of the Project 13 community. The ICE Strategy Session: ‘Project 13 – Turning theory into a reality’ on 9 June 2020, explored the progress made so far and the hurdles yet to be overcome in making Project 13 the de facto approach for delivery of large-scale infrastructure projects.

Watch the session in full below.

What is Project 13?

Project 13 was launched two years ago in 2018 as an industry-led response to infrastructure delivery models that “fail not just clients and their suppliers, but also the operators and users of our infrastructure systems and networks”. Its implementation sought to develop a new business model – based on an enterprise, not on traditional transactional arrangements – to boost certainty and productivity in delivery, improve whole life outcomes in operation and support a more sustainable, innovative, highly skilled industry.

Central to the approach is the Project 13 Framework comprising the following:

  • Five pillars: Capable owner, governance, organisation, integration, digital transformation
  • The Project 13 principles
  • The maturity matrix

The collaborative enterprise business model officially moved into its implementation phase in May 2018. At its heart, Project 13 advocates delivering projects through enterprises and aligning all involved around a set of agreed outcomes that they work collaboratively towards achieving. It is based on examples of best practice from across the industry, brought together in one model.

Views from early adopters

Australia's largest water and wastewater service provider Sydney Water, along with Network Rail and Anglian Water’s @one Alliance in the UK are early adopters of Project 13. They described their reasons for using the approach and explained the kind of behaviours they expected from civil engineers.

Project 13 demonstrates a different approach to procurement and how value is defined, they explained. As part of the collaborative enterprise business model, engineers would be expected to work as part of integrated teams and exhibit a collective approach to the delivery of the programme’s common shared goals. This alignment of a common-sense approach and collective responsibility would be fundamental to achieving the desired outcomes.

Tips for success

Jacobs people and leadership development manager Lil Wade, who is working within Anglian Water’s Strategic Pipeline Alliance, recommended a ‘best for task’ approach, where partners are placed to feed success. Additionally, specific training and development should be considered to develop those individuals and behaviours within a team.

Network Rail’s Northern programme delivery director, Ian Quick, drew on the firm’s experience of alliancing, saying that, “to achieve success, we must work collaboratively to build trust, encourage openness between partners and seek to create the right environment for a collaborative approach to infrastructure design, delivery, maintenance and operations."

He added that industry must engage with partners more effectively, adding that focusing on outputs and outcomes can seem “quite unmanageable in the traditional sense” and that it required commitment to collaboration and training to help people work in this way.

When Network Rail began its Trans-Pennine Route upgrade programme, he continued, it was clear that the company had to build trust in the team. “When you understand this, you can build that level of collaboration. Trust has to be an embodiment of what you’re trying to achieve,” he noted.

Barriers to success

Sydney Water’s head of delivery management, Mark Simister, described how it was adopting Project 13 principles and NEC Contracts for its Partnering for Success (P4S) programme.

As the architect of establishing Sydney Water’s infrastructure delivery framework, P4S, this directive enterprise project management office (PMO) was “fully aligned to the ICE Project 13 principles”. Sydney Water was the first international early adopter of Project 13. In addition, further innovation has seen it adopt the full NEC4 suite of contracts to support the rollout of P4S, delivering new works and managing maintenance activities.

The biggest challenge it faced, Simister said, was in “changing the established way of doing things”. It is using a multi-criteria assessment of risks and benefits, while using data to explain to industry partners how adopting this approach aligns with the New South Wales Government’s ten-point plan for improving infrastructure delivery.

Project 13 principles and NEC contracts offered Sydney Water an ideal approach to project delivery, which encouraged partners to be open, collaborative and clear on their shared common goals and desired outcomes. Simister commented that the ICE had been “a pillar of strength in setting up the programme”.

What next?

Chair of Project 13, Dale Evans, summarised the discussion by emphasising that, when adopted, industry, enterprises and integrated delivery models will enjoy better performance.

“We must now, as an industry, work to create the environment for a collaborative approach, learn from each other, and encourage all parts of the industry to get on board and become part of the Project 13 community.” Find out more:

  • Project 13 Framework: The Project 13 Framework is made up of five pillars, the Project 13 principles and the maturity matrix.
  • Blueprint: The Blueprint describes how a high performing enterprise operates. Specifically, it sets out the roles, capabilities and responsibilities of the key stakeholders in an enterprise model - investors, owners, integrators, advisers and suppliers.
  • Commercial Handbook: The Commercial Handbook outlines a series of core principles that are fundamental to creating the right commercial environment for an enterprise model to be realised.
  • From Transactions to Enterprises: Published before the Blueprint and Commercial Handbook, this report sets out the conceptual case for Project 13.