Engineering, Informa Insights, Passenger Rail

Rigorous bidding phase key to PPP success, expert says

John Holland. Photo John Holland

Extensive preparation for all aspects of a project during the bidding stage is crucial to the successful delivery of a Public Private Partnership, John Holland executive general manager of development and investments Tom Roche has said.

Roche recently spoke with Rail Express publisher Informa Australia ahead of Informa’s National PPP Summit on November 15-16 in Melbourne.

“You need to plan for success” Roche said. “And spend far more preparation time than you may initially anticipate.

“You need to plan for all the key elements of the project – design, construction and commissioning – from day one. The foundations of success are created during the bid phase of most projects.”

John Holland is no stranger to PPPs in the rail sector.

The construction and engineering group, which was recently acquired by China Communications Construction Company, is currently engaged in PPP contracts to help deliver Canberra’s Capital Metro light rail line, the Sydney Metro Northwest project, and several others.

Roche, who has enjoyed a three-decade career delivering PPPs, firmly believes a good contractor should be preparing as early as possible and building strong relationships with their public sector clients.

He also cites the importance of having sufficiently skilled staff, in areas like negotiation and design and client management.

“You need people who can present appropriate, well-thought out arguments, can present the value of their design and construction approach and bring the clients on the journey with them,” he told Informa.

“You need your best people in design development as well as construction in order to be sure that the project will progress well.”

On top of this, he argued staff must have a ‘partnership mentality’.

“Some people treat PPPs in the same way as traditional procurement models. It’s human nature,” he said. “Some look for ways to cut corners.”

Roche believes being seen to be doing your best and having the client’s interests at heart is conducive to a good relationship, and therefore to a successful project.

Tom Roche will speak at the National PPP Summit in Melbourne this November. As well as presenting strategic advice regarding the practical and logistical side of PPPs, he will discuss how he believes effective partnerships can be forged.

PPP Conference