Innovation in infrastructure: barriers and opportunities to unlock innovation for a better future

Innovation City infrastructure Infrastructure Transport infrastructure Business innovation Australia

Commissioners of infrastructure projects in Australia are seeking innovative solutions to increasingly complex challenges including low carbon goals, population growth, urban and regional development, transport planning, and renewable energy. With the expected growth in Australia’s population of 60% by 2050, and a national target of reducing carbon emissions to 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030 innovative solutions need to be found.

In conjunction with the CRC for Low Carbon Living, public sector clients, consultants, and contractors, Consult Australia explored the desired outcomes of infrastructure projects, the challenges, and the possible solutions. Without exception the optimal outcomes identified for infrastructure projects are that they are on budget, on time, the quality of design is as demanded, and the asset is ultimately fit for purpose.

Governments across Australia are facing increasing pressure to deliver fit for purpose infrastructure on time and on budget. Yet the lack of standard form contracts and the increase in claims suggest that current contracting models are adding additional pressure to the consulting and contracting industry at a time when we need it to be vibrant, agile and innovative in support of our country’s objectives.

This report demonstrates a consensus amongst clients, consultants and contractors that innovation in infrastructure is possible. Consultants and contractors are constrained by procurement processes, inappropriate allocation of risk and resource frustrations. Clients are constrained by legacy and inappropriate systems, political will and the fear that innovation is being driven by the desire of industry for immediate revolutionary change rather than a more achievable gradual shift in approach.

This report sets out the results of the research and a number of actions that can be undertaken to bring about change. These actions will require collaboration between industry and government and fall into three areas of opportunity:

  1. People and culture
  2. Education and knowledge sharing
  3. Contracts and procurement
Publication Details