New questionnaires reduce risk and improve outcomes
You have been tasked to project manage the installation of a new fence, including the design, procurement and construction phases, but you have little or no knowledge and previous experience in regards to fencing. Where to start? Well, we have a new tool that will make life easier and benefit you and your organisation…a lot.
The devil is in the detail
Firstly, it is worth highlighting that there is much more to a fencing project than you might first think. Moreover, overlooking just one element can compromise a key desired outcome and therefore diminish the value of the considerable financial investment being made. For example, in relation to perimeter security fencing the fence is only as effective as its weakest link. Therefore, a simple design oversight such as a climb point for a would-be intruder to scale the fence can nullify the value of the balance of the fence. Alternatively, not assessing the ground height where a playground fence is to be placed may result in gaps under the fence that children can breach thus compromising a primary function of the fence.
Our easy to follow questionnaires takes away the guess work
We have prepared a series of questionnaires tailored for specific fencing applications. The person tasked with managing the project can then work through the questionnaire and answer each item. A basic principle of good project management is that the return on the time and effort invested during the planning phase of a project is leveraged over the balance of the project as compared to time invested later. The questionnaire provides at project inception a comprehensive checklist of considerations. This enables the manager to pre-empt and see the relationship across the range of strategic to practical considerations rather than discovering these aspects as they go at which point they may well have less flexibility to alter the approach in order to achieve the desired outcomes.
Identify the strategic goals
What are the key outcomes the asset owner and/ or stakeholders desire from for the fencing, and how do these outcomes rank in priority? It might be prevention of unauthorised access to a site (and resulting elimination of vandalism and theft), it might be to improve aesthetics and compliment heritage considerations, it might be to maximise the service life of the fence.
Identify practical goals
What is the budget? Has access for people in wheelchairs been considered? How will the new fence integrate with site signage? What are the perimeter security weak points? How does the proposed fence alignment integrate with emergency evacuation plans?
The benefits in the design phase include:
- Define key outcomes. Often we find that people within the organisation purchasing the fence think that the key outcomes of a fencing project are self-evident and that there is uniform agreement within the organisation. However, the process of defining outcomes can reveal a range of differing views. Gaining a common understanding of the priority of desired outcomes and in particular how one outcome may be in tension with others early in the process, is critical to avoiding disputes, poor outcomes, time delays and rework costs.
- Prepare a robust business case as to the need and value for the fencing and the options available.
- Better able to mediate with stakeholders. Using the tool makes you better informed in relation to cost, value for money, time and risk. This enables you to more effectively explain to stakeholders why, for example, compromises may need to be made for cost of functional reasons. This can streamline the process to approval and reduce the risk of stakeholder disappointment or complaint later in the project.
The benefits in the procurement phase include:
- Outsourcing risk to the fencing Contractor. The tool allows you to structure the scope of works to shift areas of risk around unknown variables onto the contractor. For example, having identified that underground services and traffic management are relevant to a project you can structure the scope such that Contractor is to take responsibility for these aspects and allow for this work in their Tender.
- Better equipped to assess tenders by being an informed customer to scrutinise tenders and negotiate with Contractors.
The benefits in the construction phase include:
- Ready made checklist to monitor construction. As construction progresses you can refer to the answers in the questionnaire and monitor that the fence as installed is consistent with those answers and identify any discrepancies as early as possible.
- Minimise cost and time variations: By more comprehensively identifying issues in the planning phase this will translate to less surprises for you and the Contractor during the construction phase. For example, if uncertainty around the exact location of a boundary is recognised during the planning phase action can be take that will reduce the risk of time delays during the construction phase.