Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Forward Works Viewer: Coordinating the Canterbury Rebuild

A well-planned city relies on coordination. The Canterbury rebuild is an exciting example of large-scale coordination in action. When planning a vibrant and accessible city in a rebuild environment, location information needs to be easy to share. This kind of information helps planners and designers to create informed and innovative designs.

In 2013, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) established the Canterbury Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Programme to make it easier to share location-based information between the public, private, and research sectors in the rebuild.

LINZ worked with CERA, SCIRT, CCC, and CTOC (Christchurch Transport Operations Centre) to develop one of the central projects in the Canterbury SDI Programme, the Forward Works Viewer – an interactive spatial viewer that shows a 2D+time view of rebuild activity in Christchurch. Access to the Viewer helps project planners to share information about current and planned vertical and horizontal construction, and repair and maintenance activities. The data within the Viewer is private, and can only be accessed by professional users with a login.

The Viewer helps users to identify network impacts and opportunities, and avoid expensive clashes and delays before they happen. A network impact is a closure or capacity reduction of the infrastructure network. Knowledge of network impacts allows network managers (such as those managing the transport network) to mitigate the effect that these impacts can have. A clash occurs when two or more projects intersect in time and space, and would disrupt each other if they couldn’t find a way to reschedule, or find ways opportunities to collaborate (such as sharing road space or a crane).

When CTOC was tasked with planning routes for the Royal tour in April of this year, they used the Forward Works Viewer to find routes that would meet security requirements, and showcase Christchurch without impacting on rebuild activity.

With as many as 40 construction crews working on Christchurch CBD roads every day, the Viewer allowed CTOC to note future projects that had not yet started, but which would be underway by the time the Duke and Duchess arrived – allowing the routes to be planned six weeks in advance.

This enabled the Royal visitors to tour Christchurch and gain an insight into the scale and complexity of the rebuild without causing significant delays or impacts on the work going on.

People in Canterbury often ask if the rebuild is being coordinated or planned, and this answer to this question is ‘yes’. Coordination is possible because of the Forward Works Viewer and the willingness of utlities companies, government agencies, and private sector companies to share their data. Everyone has an incentive to see what the other parties are doing and this will work to reduce the costs of the recovery and speed up the process of the rebuild.

A reduction in rebuild costs and delays has already been achieved through this project. To date, $4 million of benefits have been attributed to the Forward Works Viewer, with $20 million of benefits forecast for the next two years. Benefits can be seen in many ways.  It could be as a result of reduction of impact to the transport network, or reduced clashes between construction projects. Benefits also involve identification of unnecessary reinstatement of below-the-ground infrastructure as SCIRT can now see the buildings that will be built around the pipes they are repairing.

To watch a short video about the different ways the Forward Works Viewer is being used to coordinate the rebuild visit: http://youtu.be/nDX9JlM716Q

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