August 8 2018
Future infrastructure schemes should look to Scotland’s Forth Replacement Crossing for lessons on how to manage a successful project and achieve value for money, according to a new report by Audit Scotland.
The £1.3Bn Queensferry Crossing opened over the Firth of Forth a year ago and despite delays to the programme cost at least £110M less than expected. This was due to effective management, reports Scotland’s auditor general Caroline Gardner.
She praised Transport Scotland’s budgeting, governance, quality assurance and risk management as well as the competitive procurement process that helped to deliver the project under budget.
“There is much the public sector can learn from the way Transport Scotland managed the project and it’s important that the good practice is shared more widely,” including outside Scotland, she said. The report highlights several key aspects of good practice that other projects can learn from.
For example co-locating project team members representing the client, consultants and contractors helped to mitigate risks by ensuring good communication and working relationships and allowing any issues to be addressed quickly.
Good planning from the start of the project meant that effective governance arrangements were in place and team members were well prepared, efficient and experienced, helping to minimise disruption, the report adds. And early and sustained engagement with stakeholders also worked well, with the project receiving limited numbers of complaints.
But despite its praise for the scheme Audit Scotland said a clearer plan is now needed to measure its wider benefits, including its contribution to economic growth and improved public transport links. Transport Scotland is due to carry out a full post-project evaluation in late 2018.
Welcoming the findings of the auditor general, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure & Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “We have consistently praised the hard work and expertise of all of those involved in delivering this project.
“As recommended in the report, the successful delivery of the FRC project has provided a number of valuable lessons learned that we utilise in our future work and we will seek opportunities to share these lessons more broadly within the Scottish Government and the broader public sector.”
The Queensferry Crossing also garnered praise from CIHT this summer when it received the CIHT / Causeway Major Project Award at the Institution’s annual awards ceremony.
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