As the IRM Infrastructure Risk SIG continues its growth, Birmingham played host to its first IRM Infrastructure SIG event in July of this year. With the magnitude of investment in construction and infrastructure that is being delivered within the Midlands, an event to establish a Network, share best practice, and tackle issues that face the Risk Management profession has been long overdue. The event was near capacity with attendees from a wide range of industries and projects across the Midlands and a total of five speakers presented their views on a range of subjects.
Asif Iqbal – National Grid
Asif presented to the group regarding the importance of Risk Management in support of Project Governance. I.e. projects shouldn’t be ready until we fully understand the risk we are taking on. Asif detailed the key hold points throughout National Grid’s approach to validating their capital projects and provided the group much food for thought on improvements that could be made with regards to further integrating Risk Management into their project life cycles.
Vaughan Latter – Network Rail
Vaughan presented to the group regarding the inherent human nature to be over optimistic when it comes to estimating the cost and programme of infrastructure delivery. Vaughan believed that the role of the Risk Management function in this regard is to provide Challenge at the right time, support holistic decision making (project objectives don’t exist independently – it’s part of a bigger system), communicate better through timely escalation and assurance and seek transparency at stage gates and points of no return.
Mike Ellis and Graeme Miller – Arcadis
Our hosts for the day, Arcadis, delivered a talk on some key cross industry research they have been undertaking looking at best practice risk management. Arcadis have been asked to investigate innovative and emerging best practice techniques for identifying, assessing, analysing, treating and/or reporting of risks on major capital programmes to support enhancement of existing processes and identify innovation and emerging best practice tools and techniques.
Wes Cadby – J Murphy and Sons
Our very own committee member, Wes Cadby, gave a presentation of his views on risk management maturity within the supply chain of major infrastructure delivery. Recognising that Risk Management as an activity is very often client led Wes presented how J Murphy and Sons are actively improving capability and maturity in Risk Management to enable more effective project delivery. Wes posed two questions at the end to challenge the Risk Management community. He suggested that the only way the Midlands will effectively deliver on time, on budget projects that disrupt the affected stakeholders as little as possible is through having a mature risk management supply chain, and asked “what more can we do to enable our supply chains to manage the risks our projects face?” In addition, Wes stated that he felt we can deliver on time, and on budget with good quality risk management, but unless we understand the extent of infrastructure projects as a system across the Midlands, and indeed the integration points of each (Traffic management, noise, timings), then the Midlands as a whole will suffer. He then asked the attendees “How do we as Risk Management Professionals enable the Midlands to operate efficiently as a system?”
Anne Shaw – Transport for West Midlands (TfWM)
The final speaker for the day delivered a very eye opening overview of the extent of Infrastructure delivery across the West Midlands. The new tram line extensions, improvements to bus routes, investment in railway projects, and readiness for the Commonwealth games in 2022, all the way through to investment in autonomous vehicles. The task of managing the risk of Infrastructure Delivery to the operations of the Midlands as a system, was an interesting and contrasting view to the risks to Infrastructure Delivery.
The day was a great success and, above all, established a network of individuals within the Midlands that can really drive a mature risk management approach to the significant amounts of infrastructure delivery taking place in the Midlands over the coming months and years.