Cost Matters – Vital to Engineering: 2015 Seminar Program (Victoria)

Cost does matter, to all professionals and especially to engineers who have the fundamental responsibility to deliver effective and efficient solutions.

Following the successful 2014 program on Leadership “How to lead and what it takes’, this year we are looking at areas of interest to cost engineers in a variety of aspects, such as costing design (June and July); lean production methods applied to design and construction (Mar); measuring and controlling productivity in manufacture and how we rate, represented by global manufacturers present in Victoria (April and November). And we begin with how the PPP’s used for major contracts such as the proposed Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel, are costed, in an intensely interesting ‘follow the money trail’ review by an expert consultant to the industry.

See the Engineers Australia event listing for final details and make sure you register. Events are generally on the third Tuesday of the month at Engineers Australia, Victoria. Sessions start 6:00pm with light food and conversation for a 6:30 start through to 8:00pm finish.


Tuesday, 17 February

Public Private Partnerships, Winners and Losers: costs from the owner and contractor perspectives


Aquenta director for Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s), James Mitchell, will provide a summary of the elements which make up the bid costs for social and economic PPP’s in Australia and look at those through the eyes of the various participants including owners, sponsors, financiers, contractors and facilities managers. His views will challenge those generally read in the media and provide a reminder of key characteristics which have made the PPP model of great interest to procuring agencies in Government.

This is a classic case of follow the money to see how things are really driven, and will be of particular interest to mid-career engineers who expect to work on or for major infrastructure projects.


James has worked across many facets of the Australian PPP market since 1996 including consortium formation, management of design / construction / property / facilities management solutions, sponsor representation and as part of financial advisory teams.  James is responsible for managing the provision of Advisory Services to both private and public sector clients for PPP style infrastructure procurement, including the matching of resources to the specific needs of the client and the type of infrastructure and services to be provided over the concession period.



Tuesday, 17 March

The Biggest Loser – winning with Lean Construction

Lean Construction is an effective production management-based approach to improving project delivery. It has a significant following in the UK and is finding applications in Australia as companies and clients pursue construction efficiencies.

Martin Marosszeky explains how “control” is redefined from “monitoring results” to “making things happen.”  Construction is a production system and for it to operate efficiently it requires measurement and analysis to identify actions required to improve the planning and control system performance.
Lean Design and Construction is particularly useful on complex, uncertain and quick projects. It challenges the belief that there must always be trade-offs between time, cost, and quality. It is a collective enterprise which relies on true collaboration to achieve total project performance to achieve the customer’s intent.


Marton Marosszeky is the Chair of the Lean Construction Institute of Australia; he is former Professor of Construction Innovation at UNSW and former Executive Consultant at Evans & Peck. He is also co-author of Total Quality in the Construction Supply Chain. He was the chair of the Australian Construction Achievement Awards judging panel in 2013 and he works as a lean consultant in his own business Marosszeky Associates.



Tuesday, 21 April

Benchmarking Australian Costs with the world: productivity in manufacture

Stuart Inglis, the Victorian Director of Planning and Production for Bombardier is in a prime position to demonstrate how Australian manufacture and productivity compares with overseas. Bombardier Rail & Light Rail manufacture in Dandenong and have the Victorian Government contract for passenger train sets for Metrail.

This presentation follows on from an excellent event in 2014 where Stuart showed how Bombardier’s production in Dandenong is measured, controlled and communicated to employees.


Bombardier is a Canadian based designer and manufacturer of planes and trains, specialising in high speed and smart public transit. In 2013 Bombardier had $18 billion USD revenues, 76,000 employees and manufactures literally all over the world, with 79 production sites in 27 countries, including the Americas, India, China, South East Asia and Australia.



Tuesday, 19 May

Risk control beyond the Australian standard: a joint panel with the Risk Engineering society


Simple reporting is not enough. This panel of expert practitioners will investigate how to gain traction in risk management on capital works and reap the benefits in project outcomes.

Issues will include how to achieve:

·        Risk mitigation rather than simple lists based on risk analysis to ensure active strategies that minimise risk and add robustness to planning and execution

·        Contingency budgeting for risk mitigation to ensure programs are resourced

·        Identify the unlikely project ‘show stoppers’ and have strategies in place to deal with them if they occur

·        Work with ambiguity and uncertainty and foster open collaboration to achieve agile responses where future risks cannot be adequately forecast



Tuesday, 16 June

Engineering Design: the pursuit of excellence or the pursuit of value


‘Pursuit of Excellence’ and ‘Pursuit of Value’ do not need to be mutually exclusive objectives.

As professionals, we have a responsibility to deliver innovative designs and, at the same time, at a cost that is tailored to meet the client’s budget.  

It’s important to understand the difference between cost and value.  Often, the lowest cost does not represent the best value and a professional’s job is to communicate this difference.

This seminar will be a panel discussion with experienced design professionals and project engineers.



Tuesday, 21 July

The art of controlling Engineering Design costs.


Uncontrolled scope growth, poor productivity, or just not knowing when to stop can all contribute to engineering cost blowouts on projects. Adrian Werny will illustrate some of the techniques that can be used to help deliver the engineering and design on time and on budget.


Adrian Werny of Werny Project Services, has more than 25 years’ experience in project delivery for the global engineering and construction sector. Prior to establishing Werny Project Services he has held management positions in project controls in top tier engineering and construction companies delivering complex projects for blue chip clients. His expertise includes systems development and implementation together with team management and hands on operation of project controls systems. He has a passion for establishing top end project controls systems with high performing teams, and a focus on delivering accurate, timely information for real time decision making and true project control.



Tuesday, 18 August

Building capability to build projects


The numerous reports on productivity in the construction industry all point to a lack of skills and the impact of an unreliable pipeline of work. Prof Matt Stephens explains what’s required to solve this issue.


Matt Stevens is a Senior Lecturer in Construction at the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne; His research interests revolve around the business of specialty construction contracting including work acquisition management, project management, financial management, human resource management, and overall business management. He has been a management advisor to construction contractors since 1994. He has advised over 100 clients in private engagements and presented in excess of 600 seminars. Stevens clients include general (main) and specialty contractors. His construction experience is over 35 years. He is the author of two industry books, "The Construction MBA" (McGraw Hill, 2012, 512 pages) and "Managing a Construction Firm on Just 24 Hours a Day" (McGraw Hill, 2007, 416 pages). Both books are "crossovers" and are now used as textbooks in several universities worldwide. Stevens has created half dozen mobile computing applications specific for construction contractors 



Tuesday, 15 September

Defence Project Controls, what’s the current thinking on how to use earned value?


Defence projects have always been held to a high standard in project cost and schedule control. Could the engineering and construction sector learn something from their approach?
Mark Ruffell-Hazell of the DMO will illustrate the latest defence thinking in how to control projects, including:

1.      Governance, Projects and Controls;

2.       IBR (Integrated Baseline Review)s and SCRAM (Schedule Compliance Risk Assessment Method);

3.      Integrated planning of our obligations to project stakeholders (War fighter and suppliers) through Project Schedules;

4.      Project performance measurement including earned value;

5.      Developing a skilled Project Controls workforce – competency based accreditation;

6.      Growing Business Intelligence.


Mark Ruffell-Hazell  is the Deputy Director, Strategy and Governance, for Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO).


Tuesday, 20 October

Securing Financial Sponsorship: the ins and outs of project funding including Alliances and PPP’s.


Jeremy Brasington of Advisian (Worley Parsons) will deliver a broad Project Finance

presentation that explains how to secure the support of financiers for your next major or mega project.

This presentation is a must for any engineer contributing to project initiation.


Jeremy has 25 years of local and international experience in the infrastructure, resources and energy sectors   initially as a Civil/Structural Engineer, Project Manager and Design Manager and subsequently in corporate and project finance. Prior to joining Advisian he was Global Head of Infrastructure and PPP s for ANZ Investment Bank and Head of Civil Structures for Ove Arup and Partner out of Victoria. Jeremy has extensive experience on the government and private sector sides in process management, commercial and financial structuring, documentation and the financing of major projects; including due diligence through legal, planning, technical, insurance and tax, as well as risk assessment, credit worthiness and financial analysis. He has a deep understanding of financial products and has experience in regulatory and access regimes, related corporate and financial institution compliance, and governance requirements and processes.



Tuesday, 17 November

Learn cost control from the Auto industry: the ways and means from an industry specialist


The auto industry operates in a highly competitive global market with thin margins and is a leader in process and cost control. Cost Engineers provide a critical link between engineering, purchasing and finance at all major auto manufacturing companies carrying out vehicle development programs.


Wen Shan, a former cost engineering manager with extensive experience at a global auto company, GM Holden, will introduce the essential tools and processes used by those companies. Just like generally applicable methodologies such as TQM (Total Quality Management) & Just in Time, you can learn and apply these valued and productive techniques in your industry.