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Council models new way of working

7 August 2007

Council has entered into its first Alliance contract to deliver the City Mall renovations and City Mall Project Director Sean Whitaker praises the initiative.

"The usual practice is to have a client and a contract. Everyone tends to look after their own position rather than focusing jointly on the outcome," Mr Whitaker says.

"An Alliance is creating an entity that’s like a virtual company and everyone is part of delivering the same vision."

That vision is drawn from Council’s Central City Revitalisation Project.

Council’s top priorities for the Central City Revitalisation are:

  • to increase the residential population
  • to grow our business and commercial sector
  • to enhance public spaces and streets
  • to improve safety and lighting levels
  • to redevelop under-utilised sites
  • to improve the transport network

The Alliance was initiated by Council Capital Programme General Manager Kevin Mara and City Environment General Manager Jane Parfitt.

"There’s a real potential for this style of working in other projects and operational activities and we’re using the Project: City Mall as a model. So far, it’s working very well," Mr Mara says.

The Alliance consists of representatives from Council, urban designers Isthmus Group, and contractor Downer EDI Works. The Alliance has a dedicated leadership team which meets regularly and functions as the governance body.

"Everyone is incentivised to be innovative, show initiative, make cost and time-savings while still delivering a top quality outcome," Mr Whitaker says.

"Our values are fun, ambition, support, trust, energy and respect."

"There are some challenges around aligning everybody’s behaviour but we’re working hard at that as it’s a new way of working for all of us," Mrs Parfitt says.

Downer EDI Works Chief Operating Officer, Peter Reidy, said his company was pleased to be invited to join the Alliance as it was further recognition of the investment made by Works in alliance contracting.

"We wanted to be a market leader in alliance contracting as it is one of the emerging trends of the future for infrastructure development.

"Customers like the Christchurch City Council want better project risk management, better communications with stakeholders like retailers and transport operators and greater collaboration between design and implementation to encourage innovation.

"Alliances with the right financial incentives are one of the best ways to deliver greater certainty and better communications and we are going to work hard for the Alliance team and for Christchurch to ensure this new way of working is a success," Mr Reidy said.

Isthmus Director Garth Falconer says "We are always looking at better ways to develop. And are working in several Alliance contracts around the country. Alliances can provide better ways to embed and evolve design during detail and implementation. We are excited at working with Council and Downers to build this innovative project".

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