Catching defects before handover for TfNSW’s new train maintenance facility
The scale and multi-disciplinary nature of Transport for NSW’s new train maintenance facility required a more proactive, collaborative approach to defecting
With the New South Wales Government delivering a new fleet of intercity trains to travel between Sydney and the Central Coast and Newcastle, the Blue Mountains, and the South Coast came the construction of a purpose-built train maintenance facility at Kangy Angy on the NSW Central Coast.
The site is two kilometres long, with a large maintenance building to hold four, 10-car New Intercity Fleet (NIF) trains, a stabling yard and provision for a fifth row. Senior Project Engineer at Transport for NSW, Edward MacDonald, was based onsite for the maintenance facility build to oversee the major works contractor John Holland.
Why wait? Review construction issues often and early
When Edward joined the project, construction had just commenced, and his remit was to oversee the program of works, including ensuring quality and safety standards were upheld. He had used ACCEDE defect management software on a previous project, but he decided to upend the typical defecting process.
“A defect doesn’t exist until handover,” he said. “But during the build, you will inevitably pick up construction issues. An example might be an area without enough concrete cover. You’re not going to stop construction over a minor issue, but you do want to ensure that any non-conformance items are captured and communicated to the contractor.
“We captured these issues as ‘incomplete works’ in ACCEDE, and issued a weekly register that we’d review during quality assurance meetings. It’s about having a collaborative approach where you communicate often and early with the aim of getting issues closed out promptly via the correct procedures.”
Be proactive, not combative
Edward explained that this approach was more effective than waiting until handover to log defects. “If we’d done it that way, the number of defects would have been tenfold,” he said. “It’s also a rather combative approach to suddenly present a large number of defects to the contractor in one hit. Using a progressive approach eases everyone into it and reduces any shock or friction. It’s also a good way to demonstrate to stakeholders that the main issues are already identified.”
Edward pointed to the need to have a central repository for logging issues when the construction project is large and multidisciplinary. “We had about 20 staff accessing ACCEDE throughout the project – from site engineers, to subject matter experts, to independent QA auditors.”
Get the setup right and log everything
Another innovation was to use ACCEDE to log virtual items such as handover documentation. “Where a document was outstanding, we would raise it as a defect in ACCEDE which made it much easier to track,” Edward said.
In terms of ensuring defecting success, Edward credits the initial setup as having a large impact. “There needs to be logic behind the way you set up zones and locations so it makes sense throughout the project lifecycle – not just during construction. Don’t just use what the contractor designates – use physical markers and geographic assets that will remain through to handover. Another tip is carefully controlling user access: providing stakeholders with visibility, yet limiting certain capabilities such as opening and closing issues.
As for user training, Edward said: “ACCEDE is pretty self-explanatory”.
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