Mott MacDonald partners with UK infrastructure programme

18 March 2019 Consultancy.uk

Global engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald has joined the partnership network of the UK’s Global Infrastructure Programme. In collaboration with the Foreign & Commonwealth Officer, the firm will aim to enable economic growth and sustainable development across the world.

The Cross-government Prosperity Fund (PF) is a key component of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) strategy. The initiative aims to remove barriers to economic growth and promote sustainable development needed to reduce poverty in partner countries. The Fund’s focus is on middle-income countries where 59% of the world’s poor live and where 60% of global growth will come from by 2030.

Part of this has seen the creation of a Global Infrastructure Programme (GIP), which aims to support sustainable infrastructure development in the partner countries to encourage inclusive economic growth, due to the connection between infrastructure and economic performance. The GIP helps partner countries adopt and adapt the UK’s leading infrastructure methodologies for business case development (5 Case), project planning (Project Initiation Routemap) and digital construction (Building Information Modelling – BIM).

Mott MacDonald partners UK infrastructure programme

In order to help pursue this agenda, international engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald has been appointed as Delivery Partner for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Building Information Modelling (BIM) Pathfinder Programme. The appointment will see Mott MacDonald work to assist the Global Infrastructure Programme. Over the next three years the global Mott MacDonald team, led by its Smart Infrastructure business will provide BIM technical and sector expertise across three countries – Indonesia, Vietnam and Colombia – and in capacity-build countries (including Brazil, Mexico, Peru and South Africa).

Commenting on the news, Adam Matthews, Head of International for CDBB said, “CDBB is delighted to be working with Mott MacDonald as our consultant to support the ambitious goal of the Prosperity Global Infrastructure Programme. It aims to deliver prosperity benefits to our partner countries, improving infrastructure delivery by introducing digital technology (Building Information Modelling) and at the same time opening new commercial opportunities for UK and international businesses.”

Andrew Moulds, Lead Programme Manager for Mott MacDonald, remarked, “We are proud to have been appointed the delivery partner to this prestigious programme, and we look forward to working with the FCO and CDBB.”

Peter Turner, Head of Prosperity Fund Global Infrastructure Programme Team at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office added, “I’m delighted that we will be working with Mott MacDonald on the programme, using their BIM capabilities to enhance delivery of our objectives.”

Related: Mott MacDonald supplies plans for North Lincolnshire flood defences.

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Ensuring data quality imperative for smart asset management

25 March 2019 Consultancy.uk

By implementing innovative Asset Performance Management systems, utilities firms can maximise their utilisation of assets and minimise maintenance costs across their portfolio. However, according to Louis Morgan of Smart Grid Forums, without securing quality management systems for the data which smart grids rely upon, companies risk missing out on the benefits of asset performance grids.

Smart asset management presents a major opportunity to professionals across the business spectrum. In this context, a new event hosted in London is looking to help smart-grid asset management professionals meet the needs of a changing energy industry with digital asset management. The first annual Grid Asset Management event is due to take place between the 14-16th of May 2019 at the Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge, London.

The conference will bring together leaders and experts from across Europe, in order to benchmark their digitalisation roadmaps. In a piece posted on the Smart Grid Forums website ahead of the event, Louis Morgan, a Conference Producer at Smart Grid Forums, has outlined the importance of investing in innovative asset performance technology for utilities firms, which can help ensure long-term stability for assets management in the utility sector in the face of increased complexity  .

Ensuring data quality imperative for smart asset management

Traditionally, the decision to invest in a given asset was made on the basis of an expert’s judgement of the risks posed by its failure, having typically been assessed via a risk matrix or a similar qualitative method. After that, a decision would be taken as to whether it should be replaced. However, according to Morgan, as the pace of change and complexity increases, these methods can no longer provide the required level of certainty. Uncertainty about changes to consumption patterns and load profiles brought on by the energy transition produces a vast number of possible scenarios that investment planners must consider.

As a result, Morgan explained, “utilities are seeking to support their investment decisions with quantitative risk management methods, centralising expertise from across their operations into a consistent, numerical framework that accurately captures the risk posed by all kinds of asset failure to all stakeholders.”

Companies are doing this by turning to ‘smart grid’ utility management, or systems which work to invest in the maintenance and replacement of millions of assets spread across thousands of kilometres of network. However, this is by no means a silver bullet, and in the age of the smart grid, planning ahead is more complex than ever. To ensure the long-term stability of their grids, then, utilities must deploy standardised investment decision-making practises supported by advanced modelling capabilities.

Morgan elaborated that the best way of facing this problem is through the combination of condition, utilisation, reliability and demand data. In that case, risks can be quantified in financial terms and investment budgets can target the assets posing the highest total risk, thus deferring investment in lower risk assets and optimizing the long-term budget. However, decisions informed by these risk models “will only be as good as the data and the assumptions that support them”, meaning utilities must therefore find ways to improve the volume, variety, veracity and velocity of the data they employ in their investment planning models.

“This means digitalizing asset operations, rolling out sensors and implementing systems that integrate data from a range of internal and external sources in real-time,” Morgan expanded. “Utilities must also scour their business for expertise about different assets to ensure that their risk management frameworks accurately capture the true risks posed by asset failures.”

This is in keeping with a trend which goes well beyond utilities. Business leaders of all shapes and sizes are currently having to address how they manage data quality – as poor information being input into any automated system can essentially negate the efficiencies such systems bring to the table. To this end, robust data governance is critical.

Concluding his article, Morgan said, “It is clear that there is a great deal of opportunity for utilities to obtain significant business benefits from improving their investment planning capabilities. More accurate risk management, supported by a reliable data-driven method, will deliver better financial outcomes from investment activity... But to achieve these capabilities, a lot of work must be put in to establish the systems, processes and frameworks which underlie them. Utilities must also make difficult choices about how they quantify risk and the appropriate range of data to feed into their investment planning models.”

This topic will be tackled in-depth at this year’s Grid Asset Management 2019, a conference, exhibition and networking forum aimed solely at smart grid asset management professionals.