Project Management Report
Analysis of the Project structure and management
LYCA was the major stakeholder (financer) in the West Gate Bridge project and had the power to transform the scope of the project. Though, the consultant in design, FF&P; was an internationally recognized firm, it had a major failure in the Milford Haven Bridge in Wales, United Kingdom. The design of this bridge was similar to West Gate Bridge. It was of high importance to have good communication & coordination with FF&P and be well updated with the details and progress of the project due to its failure in a similar project (Royal Commission report XXXXXXXXXXThe major reason for the projects’ failure was the gap in communication. Since FF&P was not bound by contract, at the onset of the project, the request by WSC’s full set of design calculations to FF&P were not met. On the contrary, WSC failed to provide erection calculations to FF&P. In 1969, when the contract of steel erection was given to JHC due to project delay; it was a potential risk as JHC was not involved since the beginning. Also, JHC lacked experience in this specialized area of construction (Worksafe Australia XXXXXXXXXXAs the project was in its final stages, the harmony between FF&P and JHC was lost. JHC often swayed from the complied course of the project due to which FF&P site staff lost interest. Furthermore, FF&P site staff got little support from FF&P (London) (Worksafe Australia1990). As cited in Worksafe Australia 1990
Morale was bad and the direction and organization were largely ineffective. There were reports of the large groups of men wandering aimlessly around in the morning with nothing to do; of other men attempting to perform impossible operations when trying to bring parts in line for bolting up
clearly indicates the poor site management of human resources. Since WSC was unfamiliar with Australian industrial relation issues it led to disharmony at the site resulting in disputes, strikes, walk-offs and recurrent absenteeism (Worksafe Australia XXXXXXXXXXAt this stage, the contractors and the consultants blamed each other for poor management of resources.
As cited in the Royal Commission Report, 1971; there were significant modifications made to the design of the steel. Due to lack of knowledge and experience, there was a miscalculation of stress changes owing to outside temperature changes. Adding to that, usage of different grades of uncertified steel enhanced the risk to the design. In the culmination stages of the project, there was a major buckling in the mid-span due to removal of numerous bolts. Worksafe Australia 1990 asserts that “the span hung in a precarious situation for nearly an hour before it collapsed”. That was a dramatic change which should not have been ignored. The lives of 35 workers on site could have been saved if the work was terminated and a detailed inspection of the change was conducted.
Dr Donald E Charrett 2008 states that, “Time pressures resulted in insufficient time to properly consider various issues, leading to the errors of judgement that contributed to the collapse that occurred.” This statement proves that improper time constraints were set for the project which lead in execution of design without being adequately checked.
LYCA being the client in the West Gate Bridge project had the ability to affect and influence the project scope either internally or externally. However, its inefficiency in managing and controlling the project, lead to the disaster. LYCAs strict action against non-compliance with any of the contract requirements would have been favourable to the project. LYCAs’ incompetence in supervision and governing the project resulted in haphazard site management, unorganised communication modes and faults in design and construction.
A Proposal for the Structure and Management of the Project
Construction Law International 2009 suggests that, “The contract terms should clearly define the responsibilities of the Engineer and the Contractor in a way that is contractually achievable.” The project should have had clearly defined the duties of all stakeholders involved. Additionally, an appropriate time frame should have been set in which the project can be completed with proper inspection checks carried out.
In 1969, when WSC was behind schedule, which resulted in significant losses, serious penalties or litigation should have been considered. LYCA (client) could have audited the contract clauses or even cancelled the contract. In the same year, JHC was included in the project. This was a major risk as JHC was not a part of the project initially. Right from the onset; highly capable, sufficient contractors and consultants should have been involved who had good experience in the structure like West Gate Bridge. Dr Donald E Charrett 2008 points out that the Client should have conducted appropriate background checks on all the heads associated with the project. Besides, for a high time constraint project like this, LYCA should have set up an inspection department to monitor the advancement of the project abiding by the agreement and the instructions.
Worksafe Australia 1990, strongly affirms that “the site supervisor should have been an experienced, senior personnel who briefed the staff on the progress and the problems.” The report also concludes that the potential risk to any project would be the area of industrial relations. If this area was managed effectively, there would have been harmony among the workers, the site staff, contractors and consultants, thereby eliminating any major disruption.
For a massive structure like the West Gate Bridge, the set of design, structure and material calculations is of prime importance. Any change in the calculation or any error in judgement would lead to the failure of the structure. It would have been a constructive idea to approach a senior and experienced engineer who is not bound by the contract. This would have helped to maintain an unbiased check on the quality of the work done and lead to better project management. This simple way would have benefited the project.
For such a chief project, introduction of another stakeholder could have been worthwhile. This would reduce the pressure on LYCA. Moreover, introducing another stakeholder would have had greater chances of the project to be ensured to its success as the work supervision would not have been neglected.
Dr Donald E Charrett, D 2008, , Lessons from failures- West Gate Bridge, Melbourne, 4th August 2012, http://www.mtecc.com.au/uploads//papers/Dr_Donald_Charrett_(2008)_Lessons_from_failures_-_Westgate.pdf
Construction Law International 2009, Contractual lessons from construction failures: part two, report number 2 volume 4, Construction Law International, Melbourne, 4th August 2012, http://www.mtecc.com.au/uploads//papers/Dr_Donald_Charrett_(2009)_V4_No_2_CLI_19_(Contractual_lessons_II).pdf
Royal Commission 1971, Failure of West Gate Bridge, Report number 2, C.H. Rixon, Melbourne, 5th August 2012, https://d2l.deakin.edu.au/d2l/lms/content/viewer/main_frame.d2l?tId=1594841&ou=87521
Worksafe Australia 1990, Collapse of the West Gate Bridge, Worksafe Australia, Melbourne, 5th August 2012, https://d2l.deakin.edu.au/d2l/lms/content/viewer/main_frame.d2l?tId=1594841&ou=87521