REGINA, Sask.–Aconex Limited announced its selection for the largest public-private partnership (P3) infrastructure project in the history of Canada’s Saskatchewan Province. The new Regina Bypass will route traffic around the province’s capital city with aim to improve safety, alleviate traffic in the city and stimulate growth throughout the region.
The joint venture formed to plan, design and build the P3 project, Regina Bypass Partners, consists of four of the largest construction companies operating in Canada: Graham Infrastructure, LP; Parsons Canada, Ltd.; Carmacks Enterprises; and Vinci Construction Terrassement. The government of Saskatchewan has invested C$1.88 billion in the design, construction and operation of the Regina Bypass project. Included in the total investment is a C$200-million commitment from the government of Canada. By using a P3 model, the government of Saskatchewan said it will save taxpayers $380 million, or more than 16% of the total project value, compared to a traditional approach.
When completed, the Regina Bypass will consist of 60 kilometers of a new and upgraded four-lane highway, 12 new overpasses, and 55 kilometers of new service roads. Construction is estimated to be completed in 2019, and the P3 will operate and maintain the built assets for 30 years.
The size and complexity of the project — plus the need for accountability to many public and private stakeholders — require that all project information and decisions be recorded, tracked, communicated, approved, reported, and searchable — not only for those building it now but also for those who will manage its operation three decades from now.
“In the construction industry, people want to move dirt and pour concrete,” explained Alisdair Dickinson, project director at Regina Bypass Partners. “When you see that happening, it’s easy to feel that you’re doing well. But on a project where you are responsible for the next 30 years, you have to make sure that you’re also creating a culture of accountability. Being able to track project information and processes throughout the entire lifecycle, and to audit the project at any time, is critical.”
Neutral Access to Project Data Each of the four joint venture partners has its own system and methods for managing project information and processes. Regina Bypass Partners considered adopting one of the partners’ systems for the project.
“When you have four partners like we do, each with their own system, you can take one of those systems and implement it across the project team,” said Mr. Dickinson. “Or you can look for a system that is not affiliated with any of the partners. Intentionally, we chose Aconex because it doesn’t belong to Graham, Parsons, Carmacks, or Vinci. We decided it was important that the joint venture have its own identity and an independent platform.”
In part, their decision was driven by a requirement for neutrality. “This way, project information isn’t being stored on a server that belongs to one of the partners,” Dickinson said. “If a partner left the project, getting access to their information would be quite a job. On a neutral, cloud-based platform, all parties have access to project data. That includes the joint venture partners as well as other stakeholders, the transportation ministry, and the contractors, engineers, consultants, subcontractors, and vendors that join the project at any time.” Aconex provides a single platform for collaboration across the many different organizations involved in the Regina Bypass development. The project team can readily determine what needs to happen and when, what has been decided and by whom, what is holding up progress, and who needs to approve a decision or complete work before the next step can begin. Regina Bypass Partners has project-wide visibility and control of all project documents, designs, communications, decisions, and approvals.
through Aconex, it doesn’t exist.”
“Aconex is like an empty shell that has the means to do everything,” said Dickinson. “We had the opportunity to set aside what everyone had done in the past and ask, ‘What is the best way to do this?'”
“We appreciate the opportunity to bring our extensive experience with P3 infrastructure projects to the Regina Bypass development,” said Frank Kopas, general manager of the Americas at Aconex. “This is a large, complex, high-profile project that requires precise planning and execution, as well as consistent reporting to public and private stakeholders. We look forward to helping Regina Bypass Partners and its team successfully deliver the project, which will offer many benefits to the region.”