Managing Central Auckland's urgent stormwater works in a collaborative and efficient way

Authored by Dean Watts, Marcel de Leur, Xeno Captain, Phil Johansen and Dukessa Blackburn-Huettner. Prepared for Water NZ 2015 Asia Pacific Stormwater Conference, Auckland.


Downer Group was awarded the Auckland Council Stormwater Maintenance Contract for the Central region for a four-year term in 2013. This contract covers both planned and reactive maintenance for all types of stormwater assets from manholes, pipes, soakholes, ponds and watercourses, to more complex assets such as treatment devices.

From time to time urgent works requiring a quick engineering resolution are identified in response to a customer service request, or as a result of a local network failure. Getting the right balance of engineering support to fast track implementation can be a challenge. It is critical that the appropriate option and risk analysis, design and quality control is undertaken to ensure a successful outcome. Stormwater Operations (Central) established an Urgent Works Team (UWT) consisting of representatives from the Contractor, Consultants and Council. Team members were selected based on network knowledge, stormwater reticulation and urgent or emergency works experience, balanced with financial authority to expedite the decision making process.

Once the team was selected a workshop was held to identify methods and processes that could be made applicable to the UWT to gain time efficiencies and quality control. A simple risk matrix was developed using Likelihood x Severity. Once the scoring is completed, dependent on the Risk Score, the project moves to the design phase. As part of the design phase, a spreadsheet with Engineering Design parameters typical of Stormwater Operations projects is used to provide the initial scope and design cost estimate.

A scoping document providing background and options is provided to the Contractor (Downer) along with the Risk Matrix and Design Cost estimate. Downer then submits an overall works package, effectively a ‘one stop shop’ for design and build. Council Operations review the work package submitted as a matter of urgency and approve, escalate or request more information.

This paper summarises how this collaborative approach has provided a streamlined method to over 20 small urgent work projects since its inception in March 2014 and has become a pivotal operational tool for responding to failures, improved customer service, project planning and budget phasing.

Jennifer Howe

Digital Content Manager