Integration of service delivery promises cost savings for Newcastle
Posted on 09/08/2018
KTN’s Complex Systems team has worked with a wide range companies to help them combine systems and signpost them to Innovate UK funding. Some of the most notable examples have been highlighted in a series of case studies published over the next ten days.
Complex Systems covers the key application areas of space, robotics and autonomous systems, data analytics and defence and security, with a focus on engineering best practice for systems, intelligent applications and large-scale infrastructure. KTN’s interests are in the scalability, adaptability, resilience and security of these systems.
Newcastle City integration and alignment in delivery of the ReNewcastle Transport Programme and the Newcastle City Strategic Surface Water Management Plan
Project Lead: Northumbrian Water Limited Contact: Chris Austin, Project Manager
Integration of service delivery promises cost savings for Newcastle
City study demonstrates the operational and financial value of rethinking service delivery processes using two major infrastructure programmes.
Newcastle City Council and Northumbrian Water have joined forces to research the potential benefits of an integrated service delivery model for ReNewcastle Transport Programme, the council’s programme of renewal and reinvention delivering the biggest transformation of the city’s infrastructure in a generation, and the Newcastle City Strategic Surface Water Management Plan, which has been put in place to deliver a robust and high level integrated surface water management plan for the city.
The project team received £48,000 from Innovate UK for a technical feasibility study under the ‘Cities Integrated by Design’ competition. This provides funding for projects that explore the operational and financial feasibility of integrating planned, new or retrofit infrastructure projects into urban systems in a beneficial way.
ReNewcastle Transport Programme – the biggest transformation of the city’s infrastructure in a generation
Funding enabled the team to carry out a feasibility study to explore the economic, social and environmental benefits of integrating the delivery of planned sustainable transport and flood risk management projects, such as enhancing the resilience of the transport infrastructure in Newcastle, reducing the risk of flooding and improving the health and wellbeing of the people who use the city.
Flooding can have devastating impacts on social, economic and environmental systems. The Environment Agency estimated that 2.4 million properties in England are at risk of fluvial or coastal flooding and 3 million are susceptible to surface water flooding. The urban environment is particularly vulnerable due to high levels of impermeable surfaces and frequent overloading of drainage networks which is likely to increase with urban expansion.
Newcastle has suffered from severe flooding, most notable on 28th June 2012, which had a devastating impact on the city, flooding over 500 homes, impacting on the economic performance by £78 million, and causing £8 million worth of infrastructure damage, and resulting in major disruption to the road and rail networks. This type of event is set to become more frequent due to climate change and the city needs to become more resistant to these changing circumstances and find innovative ways to combat the effects.
A Blue-Green City
Newcastle City Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority with responsibilities relating to managing flood risk across the city, in addition to acting as a statutory consultee for surface water management issues in planning applications. Newcastle City Council is also the local highway authority for the city.
Northumbrian Water Group is one of ten regulated water and sewerage companies in England and Wales, operating in the north east of England, trading as Northumbrian Water. In the north east, the business comprises the supply of both potable and raw water and the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage and sewage sludge, serving 2.7 million people in the major population centres of Tyneside, Wearside and Teesside as well as the large rural areas of Northumberland and County Durham.
Both Newcastle City Council and Northumbrian Water are signatories to a declaration on Blue and Green infrastructure, committing signatories to the prioritisation of Blue-Green infrastructure in managing flood risk in the city of Newcastle Upon Tyne which is a Blue-Green Infrastructure demonstration city. Blue-Green cities aim to reintroduce the natural water cycle into urban environments by encouraging interdisciplinary cooperation between city services and can achieve environmental, ecological, socio-cultural and economic benefits. This study used Blue-Green principles to explore integrated delivery of planned sustainable transport and flood risk management projects.
Supplier support was provided to the study team by AMEC Foster Wheeler from scoping through to evaluation and Arup, who provided support with a review of best practice.
The study was successful in highlighting a number of opportunities which may lead to greater efficiencies or benefits when delivering transport and surface water schemes when following an integrated approach. Barriers to integrated delivery have also been identified, along with suggestions as to how these barriers can be overcome.
Chris Austin works for Northumbrian Water and is the project manager responsible for delivering the study. He says:
“There are several areas that have been identified where we can benefit from more integrated delivery of planned sustainable transport and flood risk management projects. As a result of our research I can be positive that we will be able to deliver better outcomes for our customers. We have also identified opportunities to be more efficient in project delivery by adopting an integrated approach, with joint development of value for money solutions. There are also obvious benefits including improved stakeholder engagement and minimising disruption to customers.”
The study identified the potential for integrated delivery to provide direct financial benefits including cost savings arising from reduced design costs, reduced legal order costs, savings arising from contractor efficiencies from coordinated works and the potential to avoid unnecessary work, such as where a combined or aligned scheme in one area negates the need for planned work elsewhere. Integrated delivery could potentially result in between 10% and 23% savings on capital investment.
The findings from the feasibility study now need to be disseminated, and additional work still needs to be put into the practitioner’s tool kits to get the best value for money. This will require further development and a period of peer review and testing. There is also further development of the GIS database of opportunities within Newcastle, so that practitioners can use it to identify and prioritise areas where integration could be beneficial. Chris continues:
“We have two key outputs from the project as well as all our findings. The first is a practitioner’s toolkit, for those who may be developing plans and scheme which could benefit from an integrated approach. The second is an exploitation plan, which has been produced to help with disseminating all of the information from this study. As a final next step, the integration process needs to be implemented on a pilot project so the assessment of efficiencies and outcomes can be properly evidenced.”