Archive | Land use

Joyce lifts infrastructure intentions and talks new operating mechanisms

New finance minister Steven Joyce (pictured early in his career as a sod-turner) looks to have increased the annual allocation to capital infrastructure spending from $900 million to $4 billion for the 2016-17 financial year, with the promise of upping the budget for the following 3 years by $4.3 billion.

Mr Joyce took over finance from Bill English in December, in the reshuffle following Mr English’s appointment as prime minister. The country goes to a general election on 23 September

Under the more conservative English programme, the allocation to capital infrastructure over the next 4 years was $900 million/year. Mr Joyce said yesterday the focus would be on the infrastructure that supports growth, and those annual allocations would rise to $2 million in the 2017-18 financial year and $2.5 billion in each of the following 2 years.

Both the Property Council & Infrastructure NZ focused on the $11 billion figure Mr Joyce waved in front of them, which included the $3.6 billion already budgeted.

Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend said a lot of the country’s infrastructure was at the end of its useful life and he expected asset replacement would feature prominently in the Budget: “Government’s announcement is a recognition that houses & commercial properties do not exist in isolation but need to be supported by infrastructure such as roads, schools & hospitals….

“Under-investment in infrastructure creates significant deadweight losses for the wider economy. Property Council is pleased that Government recognises this. Infrastructure spending must be seen for what it really is. It is an investment in our cities and a productive input into the wider production process, rather than a mere cost.”

Infrastructure NZ chief executive Stephen Selwood said: “This is a massive increase and the largest capital investment commitment by any government since the 1970s. But it must be said that New Zealand’s growth challenge is the highest it has ever been, and meeting population demands requires the services for a city larger than Nelson to be added every year.

“Added to the growth challenge is New Zealand’s historic under-investment in infrastructure. The reality is that it would not be difficult to spend $11 billion in 2017 alone.”

Mr Joyce said: “We are growing faster than we have for a long time and adding more jobs all over the country. That’s a great thing but, to keep growing, it’s important we keep investing in the infrastructure that enables that growth.”

“We are investing hugely in new schools, hospitals, housing, roads & railways. This investment will extend that run-rate significantly, and include new investment in the justice & defence sectors as well.”

Mr Joyce said the budgeted new capital investment would be added to the investment made through baselines & the National Land Transport Fund, so the total budgeted for infrastructure over the next 4 years would be about $23 billion.

He said the Government wanted to extend that further, with greater use of public-private partnerships and joint ventures between central & local government & private investors.

“As a country we are now growing a bit like South-east Queensland or Sydney, when in the past we were used to growing in fits & starts. That’s great because we used to send our kids to South-east Queensland & Sydney to work, and now they come back here. We just need to invest in the infrastructure required to maintain that growth. Budget 2017 will show we are committed to doing just that.”

Mr Joyce will give details of the initial increase in the May Budget.

Attribution: Ministerial release.

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3 shortlisted for city rail link lines tender

3 companies have been shortlisted to tender for linewide systems integration, testing & commissioning for Auckland’s city rail link (contract 7).

Project director Chris Meale said on Monday there were 8 expressions of interest from international parties for the work and 3 had been selected to move to the phase of request for tender.

They are:

  • John Holland NZ Ltd
  • Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction Pty Ltd, and
  • RCR Infrastructure (NZ) Ltd

They’ll have 3 months to tender. Mr Meale said that, following evaluation, the successful company was likely to be appointed in the last quarter of this year.

The contract will be for the systems that include tracks, power systems, communications, controls, ventilation & signalling from Britomart, through the city rail link and connecting to the western line at Mt Eden Station.

Attribution: Auckland Transport release.

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Silverdale bus station completion a year away

Earthworks are underway for the redesigned Silverdale bus station on Hibiscus Coast Highway, just along from the Northern Motorway ramps, but the station building will only be erected next year and an extra 127 parking spaces still have to be consented.

The existing bus station lost temporary parking recently because it was on a neighbouring development site, and work started on the development. However, the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board has made temporary parking available at the site of the former Nippon Judo Club, on Hibiscus Coast Highway, just past the Silverdale War Memorial Park.

Auckland Transport said it would maintain 200 spaces in the existing commuter parking area – but ban parking on verges to facilitate construction work – until the main new parking lot is complete, scheduled for February 2018. 484 new parking spaces have been consented so far.

The new parking will be on a levelled site, and the bus station will be built next to the Hibiscus Coast Highway. It will have ticket & top-up machines, toilets, secure cycle parking and waiting areas that will be well lit & protected from the elements.

The whole project is scheduled for completion in May 2018.

Auckland Transport has asked commuters to use connecting bus services in the meantime.

Attribution: Auckland Transport release.

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Building institute launches 2 industry-improving scholarships

The NZIOB (Institute of Building) Charitable Trust has launched 2 $10,000 scholarships for projects that will improve the industry. Entries close on Friday 30 June.

The trust has also decided on its first fundraising event aimed at eventually making grant payments from earnings rather than capital.

Trust chair Gina Jones said yesterday the institute had established the scholarships to recognise, encourage & financially support recipients from a trade, technical or professional role to pursue a project linked to building through research, practice or professional development.

“We have a mission to encourage aspirational thinking that lifts the construction industry’s performance and we are particularly interested in applications from members who have a project that will introduce improvements to the industry.

“We’re looking for applicants with a project that has the potential to advance some aspect of design, construction or management of buildings in New Zealand, and thereby enhance the quality of our built environment.”

The successful recipients will be chosen by a panel comprising 3 past presidents of the institute. Winners will be announced at the institute’s awards night on Friday 25 August in Auckland.

Ms Jones said the trust’s first fundraising event would be a lunch with former All Black captain – and builder – Sean Fitzpatrick at Mac’s Brewbar in Wellington on 30 June, the day before the British & Irish Lions play the All Blacks at Westpac Stadium.

Link:
NZIOB Charitable Trust
Scholarship details

Attribution: Institute release.

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Tracking ideas Sun16Apr17 – King tides & what to do

King tides in Miami may bring forth solutions

Tracking ideas is a Bob Dey Property Report section devoted to ideas on property questions such as urban strategies & design, many from overseas but with relevance to Auckland.

King tides in Miami may bring forth solutions

The Miami beachfront after recent king tides.

Southern Florida was flooded last November, hit by king tides, and architects will look at solutions at a conference in Orlando on 27-29 April.

Normally such an event would pass us by. After Edgecumbe’s inundation, after what turned out to be excessive caution in Auckland (warnings about closing of the harbour bridge mid-afternoon before Easter, cancellation of flights for a storm that didn’t eventuate), now we’ll pay more attention to construction & site precautions, perhaps less to officialdom’s warnings.

The full heading in the US Architect’s Newspaper read, Facing rising sea levels & greater insurance risk, Southern Florida braces for relocations, new flood design standards & more. On a coastline like Miami’s – a rich people’s playground – the greatest concern is likely to be over the potential loss of insurance cover, and that’s likely to make them think of long-term solutions.

In New Zealand, alarm at millimetre-by-millimetre sea level creep can only make you hold your breath for a day or 2, and then you return to life as usual, which doesn’t include too much concern about climate change.

But, climate change or not, when high river flows run into exceptional tides – the photo above shows the flow from the beach-end creek battling out against the ebbing tidal flow at Stanmore Bay on 4 April – floods can rise quickly.

We know this, but our reactions remain slow.

Miami-Dade County chief resiliency officer Jim Murley said the Great Miami Chamber of Commerce’s second sea-level rise solutions conference on Friday 5 May would focus on building solutions, business opportunities & regional collaboration.

In the American way, business opportunities are likely to attract most attention. Building solutions may flow from that.

Links:
The Architect’s Newspaper, 12 April 2017: Southern Florida braces for relocations
Miami sea-level rise solutions conference

Attribution: The Architect’s Newspaper, Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Regular leads: Planetizen

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Tracking ideas Sat15Apr17 – How to beat floods, vertical farm for Shanghai

Look on the back of an envelope for response to flood scare
100ha urban farm to feed Shanghai

Tracking ideas is a Bob Dey Property Report section devoted to ideas on property questions such as urban strategies & design, many from overseas but with relevance to Auckland.

Look on the back of an envelope for response to flood scare

I read the heading, Flooding forces overhaul of building rules, and thought: Is there another way?

And then: Of course there is another way. There is always another way.

The immediate response is to say “No, you can’t build there”. Alternatives would encourage inventive architects, such as:

  • Change the design of houses so flooding doesn’t get inside
  • Do, as the owner of a house I pass every day on my way to the beach did, acknowledge that the land was once swamp and remained subject to some flooding, especially on the tide, and build garage & workshop downstairs, living quarters upstairs
  • Build on stilts, as many communities through Asia do
  • Alter coastal landscapes so rising seas are forced to take less invasive paths
  • Produce barriers that can be raised on threat of flooding – mechanical sandbagging.

The beachfront of grand unused baches

I swim at a beach where every shoreline house is a bach, or the multi-million-dollar equivalent, none occupied more than a few days/year so no homelessness there in the event of a flood, but a resthome and houses on the drained swamp would be affected.

Those grand beachfront baches are an example of changing lifestyles. The grown children don’t have time to look after the bach and are more likely to want to go on overseas holidays, the grandchildren might enjoy it for a week or 2 but are also getting used to grander escapades further afield. And the parents/grandparents don’t turn up because they’d be rattling round on their own.

Some of these baches have enough space around them for the games which no longer get played, but the question is there: Why does beachfront have to be so exclusive that nobody occupies it?

For the owners of these individual sections there is capital gain (though some have been held by the same families for generations), but there can still be capital gain if occupancy is more effective, such as apartments used year-round.

2 beaches up the coast, at the top of Orewa, it’s been done. 30 years ago, a group of investors bought a large site between the main road and the beach, built 2-storey units in a resort style with the intention of using some of the units themselves – and were sent bust through bank inflexibility & outrageously high penalty rates in the 1987 crash. All but one of the 8 were bankrupted, the other saved by investing through a trust.

From my drive-by observations, a development launched in good times, completed in hard times, has had variable success but these days is well used.

Saying no to coastal development for fear of occasional flooding or long-term inundation resulting from climate change cannot be a New Zealand answer: innate ingenuity should see to that.

Where do people want to live? And how to do it

I had a conversation about intensification last year with a property professional, who asked me: “Where do people most want to live in Auckland?” We both answered: “On the coast.” Then he posed a second question: “Where do authorities [government & council] want to see housing built?” He answered: “In places like New Lynn.”

Now I happen to think that New Lynn and many suburban villages like it have a tremendous future if new intensive housing is accompanied by the right kinds of other development – businesses, community amenities, education – and if transit lines encourage 2-way travel to suburban work beyond the standard shopkeeping.

But, in the current climate, the pressure to provide housing first comes way ahead of the social & occupational infrastructure (a wider range of jobs than is traditional in suburban centres), making for desolate suburbs & long commutes.

And the coastal side of the argument? Build apartment blocks & townhouses where individual palaces have dominated, we agreed. Expensive? Probably. Worth doing? Yes.

What about Edgecumbe?

Would these simple answers work for Edgecumbe, a whole Bay of Plenty town submerged when the Rangitaiki River burst its banks?

A torrent like that hitting Edgecumbe will defeat even the greatest optimist – today. Tomorrow, we need to search for answers because New Zealand is primarily a coastal country.

100ha urban farm to feed Shanghai

International architecture firm Sasaki Associates Inc (Boston & Shanghai) unveiled plans last month for a square kilometre (100ha) urban farm in the midst of Shanghai’s skyscrapers. Design writer Nicole Jewell wrote on the Inhabit website: “The project is a mega farming laboratory that will meet the food needs of almost 24 million people while serving as a centre for innovation, interaction & education within the world of urban agriculture.”

Fast Company named Sasaki’s proposal for the Sunqiao urban agricultural district, intended to have vertical farms next to office towers, as a finalist in its World-changing ideas awards.

Sasaki principal Michael Grove said at the awards: “Sometimes an idea that can have a big impact is so obvious that it’s a bit strange to think it hasn’t been done already. With leafy greens accounting for about 56% of the typical Shanghainese diet, the fact they are the ideal crop for hydroponic growing systems, and the cost of land driving buildings up instead of out, Shanghai is the ideal environment for the vertical farms that make up Sunqiao.”

The award winners included Hillary Fellowship’s global impact visa

Fast Company announced 12 winners in March out of 192 finalists & over 1000 entries for its first world-changing ideas awards.

I’ve just realised I did see these awards at the time but skipped by quickly after looking at the first of the finalists, which was an edible 6-pack ring. One of the winners was the Edmund Hillary Fellowship’s global impact visa (link below).

Links:
Inhabitat, 13 April 2017: Shanghai is planning a massive 100ha vertical farm to feed 24 million people
Sasaki, 20 March 2017: Sunqiao named one of FastCo’s world-changing ideas
Sasaki, Sunqiao urban agricultural district
Fast Company, 20 March 2017: Announcing the winners of the 2017 world-changing ideas awards

Earlier story:
Tracking ideas Sun26Mar17 – Melbourne plan review, value of transit, world-changing ideas

Attribution: Inhabitat, Fast Company, Sasaki.

Regular leads: Planetizen

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RMA reform approved – but central issue of competence still needs work

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill – Environment Minister Nick Smith’s revision of the Resource Management Act – passed its third reading on Thursday, without the support of Act’s David Seymour or United Future’s Peter Dunne but courtesy of the Maori Party’s 2 votes.

Dr Smith, as usual, mentioned 2 factors at the heart of the changes – the exorbitant rise in Auckland house prices and the many voices demanding a freeing up of land supply.

Also as usual, he refrained from mentioning 2 other factors. The first has come in 2 parts – the immigration spike under Labour in 2003-04, which got supply & demand seriously out of kilter, followed by the longer run of high net immigration under National that started in late 2012 and was well underway in 2014.

The most important factor

The second, and I think most important factor in the whole resource management hubbub, is that the Resource Management Act has been widely condemned but the failure to balance supply & demand falls entirely to incompetence.

The first factor in that incompetence concerns the supply of potential residents. Natural growth is predictable and the supply of migrants can be controlled, at least to some extent. The return of Kiwis from a depressed Australian economy is outside the norm, but ought to have been taken into consideration in the allowance of other migration.

Both Labour in 2003 and National now have used immigration to boost the economy. Their consideration of the impacts has been negligible, until too late.

Through the Regional Growth Forum devised in 1996, expansion of Auckland’s urban footprint was anticipated to allow some of the growth to a population of 2 million over the next 50 years, but the notion of a compact city had arrived and the bulk of growth (70% of it) was expected to occur within the existing metropolitan urban limits.

Quite how another 200,000 homes were to be dropped into place was never quite worked out, but the fact that they’d be needed was evident over 20 years ago.

All very well, but Auckland had 7 territorial councils & one regional council, Auckland City followed by Manukau collected the bulk of the region’s business rates, and the fringe councils (including Waitakere) struggled to supply adequate infrastructure on a diet of residential rates.

The fringe councils looked for ways to increase their rating bases, such as encouraging business, and developers looked to the fringes for cheaper land for housing, only to find themselves entering an intense battle, certainly between regional & local politicians, sometimes also between the competing urges of different localities.

Attempts to expand those urban limits were contested by the Auckland Regional Council, which focused more on environmental protection, although expansion of the limits was envisaged.

The 2003-04 immigration spike necessitated more housing, but the supply was inadequate, and political thinking on what was required was abysmal.

None of the above involves hindsight. Certain measures were plainly required 21 years ago and after 5 years of strong growth – and some of the how-to is still awaiting a decision.

The ability to intensify development has been made easier by Auckland’s new unitary plan, but funding of infrastructure was an issue then and remains largely unresolved today. Sewage overflowed into the harbour then, the issue was recognised, and it still overflows.

Intensification will include more housing redevelopment, not necessarily medium-rise apartment buildings, in suburban streets. The supply of new suburban subdivisions has started via housing accords & special housing areas, but also through standard subdivision.

Smith sees many positive impacts

Enter Dr Smith & the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill. “The reforms in this bill will help increase the supply & affordability of housing, grow the economy with more jobs & higher incomes, support infrastructure investment and improve environmental management,” he said after the third reading was passed on Thursday.

The 700-clause bill makes 40 significant changes to the Resource Management Act, Public Works Act, Conservation Act, Reserves Act and the Exclusive Economic Zone (Environmental Effects) Act. They include:

  • National planning standards to reduce complexity & cost
  • Streamlined planning process to improve responsiveness
  • Discretion for councils to exempt an activity from consents
  • Strengthening of requirements to manage natural hazard risks
  • New 10-day consent category for minor activities
  • New requirements for councils to free up land for housing
  • More generous compensation for land required for public works
  • Better alignment with other acts like Reserves, Conservation & Exclusive Economic Zone
  • Collaborative planning process to encourage community-led solutions, and
  • Improved Maori participation arrangements.

“These reforms will reduce the number of consents required by thousands. Councils will have a new power to waive the need for consents for minor issues, and a new 10-day fast-track consent will be available. This boils down to things like homeowners wanting to build a deck having to consult only with an affected neighbour, and no consent being required for issues that involve minor or temporary rule breaches.

“This Bill is pivotal to resolving New Zealand’s long-term housing supply & affordability problems. The cost of a section in Auckland has increased 10-fold over the past 25 years, from $53,000 to $530,000, as compared to the 3-fold increase in the cost of building, from $120,000 to $360,000. The key solution is making sections easier to create and more affordable. This bill introduces a specific requirement on councils to free up land, removes appeals on residential developments, reverses the presumption in favour of subdivisions and removes the double charging system of financial & development contributions.”

Links:
Resource Legislation Amendment Bill

Text of bill & related supplementary order papers
Nick Smith booklet, 26 November 2015: The second phase of Resource Management Act reform

Earlier stories:
15 March 2017: Bill opponents talk “shambles”, not ideology
15 March 2017: RMA reform bill scrapes through second reading
6 March 2017: RMA amendment back for second reading
10 November 2016: 
National gets Maori agreement to advance RMA reforms
14 March 2016: 
Council says Government approach wrong on resource management reform
27 November 2015: 
RMA reform introduced

Attribution: Ministerial release, growth forum strategy.

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Upper North Island councils’ “alliance” reaffirmed

While Auckland Council wonders about where it should have a port – or whether it should have one at all – it & 6 other councils in the upper North Island quietly committed last Friday to a strategic alliance for another 2 years.

UNISA (the Upper North Island strategic alliance) was formed in 2011 by the territorial authorities from Whangarei District, Hamilton City & Tauranga City; the Waikato, Bay of Plenty & Northland Regional Councils; and Auckland Council.

The idea was to get collaboration between the councils on boosting economic growth, in place of the antagonistic rivalry between the ports of Auckland & Tauranga in particular.

PricewaterhouseCoopers produced a report for them at the end of 2012. Since then, the rivalry has remained firmly in place, there’s been little evidence of progress toward harmonised freight infrastructure; and the public disclosures of UNISA’s existence certainly don’t emanate from Auckland Council.

The Hamilton City Council & Waikato Regional Council both said last Friday they’d affirmed their commitment to the alliance for the next 2 years – after a meeting in Auckland.

The 7 councils also released an infographic, The Upper North Island Story, a report showing how life could change for the more than 2.5 million New Zealanders living in their regions. The Waikato Regional Council, at least, owned up to knowing about this document. Auckland Council kept its hands clean – a search of its website discloses nothing on UNISA or the strategic alliance.

Links:
The Upper North Island story infographic
UNISA agreement

Earlier stories:
22 August 2016: Auckland port responds to Tauranga’s helping hand
19 August 2016: Port of Tauranga pays back shareholders after expansion – and offers Auckland hand to overcome constraint
1 April 2015: Council to bring forward port precinct study
7 December 2012: Super-city reduces magnanimous ports study to parish pump
30 November 2012: Ports study appears to miss fundamental point: cannibalism
20 June 2012: PWC gets ports study job
27 April 2012: Council alliance seeks technical study on freight & port needs

Attribution: Hamilton City Council release, documents.

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Statistics House quake damage prompts standards review

Building & Construction Minister Nick Smith said on Friday design standards & building laws would be reviewed in response to an investigation into structural damage to Statistics House in Wellington in the Kaikoura earthquake on 14 November.

He released an independent panel’s findings into the performance of the building during the quake, which focused on its design & construction and the land influences on it.

The panel found a combination of 4 factors contributed to the partial failure of lower floor segments.

2 of the factors – the flexible frames & style of floor construction – combined with significant shaking for up to 120 seconds, and localised amplification of the shaking, to compromise the support of the lower precast concrete floor units.

The panel also noted that the combination of factors that led to the partial collapse of floor units in Statistics House wasn’t anticipated by the design standards in place when it was built in 2005.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, the Institution of Professional Engineers (IPENZ) & the institution’s technical societies have produced information for owners & building professionals responsible for assessing & designing multi-storey concrete moment-resisting frame buildings with precast concrete floor systems that may be vulnerable to loss of floor support during an earthquake.

Performance “unacceptable”

Dr Smith said: “The performance of Statistics House in the Kaikoura earthquake was unacceptable and could have caused fatalities. This quake was large & unusually long, but a modern building like Statistics House should not have had life-threatening structural damage. The building was designed to the industry practice of the time, but this did not fully account for the effects of beam elongation during an earthquake, an issue that was deficient in the concrete structures standard at the time of the design.

“The design flaw is quite specific to highly ductile framed concrete buildings with precast floor slabs, and particularly those with multi-bay frames. We need to follow up on similarly designed buildings through councils & engineering companies so that where it is a problem, it can be rectified. This has already been done in respect of Wellington as a consequence of the preliminary findings in Statistics House, but now needs to be followed up elsewhere.

“We also need to amend the concrete structures standard to ensure newly designed buildings are adequately designed to cope with beam elongation during long-duration earthquakes. This will be done this year.

“A compounding factor was geological basin effects that are not well understood but which have also been observed in other earthquakes internationally. This is not to do with reclaimed land but the amplification of ground shaking in a basin. This phenomenon is similar to the way sea waves respond to a wall in an enclosed bay. This is an area of seismic science that needs further research, particularly in respect of Wellington, and to be considered as part of a review of the earthquake actions standard.

Building law issue

“There is a building law issue that arises from this report on which I have asked officials to report. The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment has limited powers to follow up on design deficiencies like those identified in this report, beyond those specifically provided for following civil emergencies. This means the ministry cannot require building owners to follow up on these sorts of potentially serious technical problems. I have asked the ministry to report on whether additional powers are needed in the Building Act.”

Dr Smith said New Zealand was at the cutting edge of international seismic design standards, but hadn’t yet solved all of the potential ways a building can fail: “Most buildings in Wellington performed well despite the ferocity of the Kaikoura earthquake. We need to take the opportunity following such earthquakes to learn as much as we can and to further strengthen our standards & systems to improve building safety for the future.

“These detailed issues over the performance of modern buildings are important for improving design standards, but they should not divert attention away from the far more significant risk to life of older buildings. The Kaikoura earthquake was sufficiently distant from Wellington that the city did not get the dangerous high frequency shaking that poses the greatest risk to life.

“The largest safety gains for Wellington are to be made in the initiatives requiring unreinforced masonry facades & parapets to be tied back over the next year, and all earthquake-prone buildings under 34% of Building Code to be upgraded under the new law coming into effect on 1 July.”

Links:
Statistics House investigation
Framed buildings with precast concrete floor systems

Attribution: Ministry website & ministerial release.

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Council signs off on new-style maintenance contracts

Auckland Council has taken its facilities, tree & ecological maintenance contracts through 2 committees in the last 10 days, finalising a process that began last July, and will sign new contracts this month. The contracts will take effect on 1 July.

The process, called Project 17, will replace procurement agreements signed in 2012 and, community facilities general manager Rod Sheridan said, would bring improvements & savings worth $30 million to the council.

Mr Sheridan & procurement general manager Jazz Singh told the council’s finance & performance committee in a report on Thursday the council had 26 contracts for the supply of these services around the region. Service delivery was duplicated under 20 of them.

They said inconsistencies in facilities maintenance service delivery – due to both internal (different ways of doing things between teams/departments) & external (contract scope/contractor delivery) factors – had long been identified.

“These issues & challenges, under the contracts entered into by council in 2012 following the last major procurement of the facilities maintenance contracts (Project Genesis), included:

  • Duplication in the delivery of services under 20 existing contracts
  • Prescriptive contracts that were not delivering added value
  • Unco-ordinated approach to the management & delivery of services, with multiple contractors delivering across multiple service lines in the same geographic areas
  • Lack of co-ordination in the delivery of services across the council family
  • Inefficient procurement & delivery of minor capital expenditure renewals, and
  • Lack of good quality asset information in a centralised register together with an associated asset condition assessment.”

Local boards & other stakeholders told the Project 17 team that issues for them included:

  • Lack of consultation & engagement with local boards regarding the outcomes from the service delivery
  • Lack of accountability, and
  • Service levels weren’t aligned with local boards’ objectives & requirements.

Service areas align with board boundaries

The new contracts will cover the whole Auckland region, but are structured in service areas aligned with local board boundaries.

The council’s strategic procurement committee (as it’s been renamed) approved supplier recommendations on 24 March and sent them to the finance committee on Thursday for the final tick.

The council will release costs & a full list of successful suppliers at the end of April, once all contacts have been signed.

Mr Sheridan said the procurement process wasn’t about doing the same thing with different suppliers: “Instead, it was about doing something bold & different that would move Auckland closer to being the best performing city in the world.

“The involvement & support of our local boards has been integral to the procurement process, and we sought boards’ input in deciding service levels, the proposed geographical areas & smart procurement outcomes. We need to ensure that everything we do is locally driven & customer-centric.

“We are excited about the innovation this opportunity offers, and using technology to take us into the future. We will be able to empty bins before they overflow by installing sensors and will install counters on public toilet doors to monitor use & schedule cleaning.

“This procurement process has been about ensuring the suppliers who will maintain Auckland’s assets over the next 5 years or more will deliver value for money for ratepayers.

“This is an example of Auckland Council making our size work and, in addition to that, better managed & maintained assets will ultimately lead to further cost savings. We have added $30 million worth of value to the organisation.”

Streamlined service

Finance committee chair Ross Clow said: “From 1 July, Aucklanders can expect to see more responsive, streamlined local maintenance services. One supplier will now manage the cleaning of a public toilet and, while they’re at the site, will ensure bins are emptied, lights fixed, and gates & doors locked or unlocked. Until now, this has been done by different suppliers under different contractual arrangements.

“The procurement process included provisions on standardising service levels across Auckland, introduced key performance indicators to ensure consistent, high quality delivery, and asked suppliers to commit to their communities by using local staff, offices & depots wherever possible.”

The council will continue to manage local suppliers on Waiheke & Great Barrier Islands through its community facilities department.

Link:
Project 17, Auckland Council maintenance contracts

Earlier story:
13 March 2017: Council maintenance contract decision process enters final stages, Panuku report, home fires bylaw

Attribution: Council agendas, release.

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