Compliance from a guy on the pumps

By Brent Petrie, Project Manager, Prime Pump.

As suppliers we’re witness to the time and energy that goes into developing work programmes to meet compliance. The past two years have been particularly dynamic, and the future still sits on shifting sands with the recent devolution of the RMA to (close to) its earlier self, and the continued focus of ‘Broader Outcomes’ in government procurement decision-making.

If there are headaches around compliance at the top of the project delivery chain, understanding our obligations down here with the diggers and wellpoints is no picnic either.

We are all players in the site ecosystem, and we all have an obligation to understand the conditions of delivery. Suppliers can, and should, be an ally on site – so it is key that we all understand the lay of the land in more detail than currently gets shared from the top.

Now, we are a fluid solutions business. We either move/ remove/ recondition anything that’s vaguely wet or provide you with the equipment and training to do it yourselves. Site soil, substrate, waterbodies and their quality and quantity, council consents and conditions and environmental limits all affect the development of our proposed solution. Contractors have 90 percent of this information to hand. It’s not often that all that detail gets shared.

This is a missed opportunity to limit costly delays and reduce any risks of non-compliance.

What follows are a few thoughts on how parties in project delivery might work together better to achieve what we all want at the end of the day – good outcomes delivered on time and on budget.

The devil is in the detail

Anyone charged with moving a resource, be it permanently or temporarily benefits from knowing a site well. A shared document outlining the following, will save time on detective work that someone at the planning stage has already done:

– Physical attributes: where are the waterways and are there any water quality standards for them; what is the soil make up; what level and type of contamination exists; what’s happening below ground (aquifers, perched water etc) that may affect what we do?

– Protections and Limits: what are the attributes we need to preserve above or underground (a confined aquifer for example)?

– Consents: What are the conditions of the Resource Consent or any permitted activity rules for the site? Are there any limitations (daily discharge limits or emission thresholds for example) that we need to consider?

– Controls: Are there any other controls or operating processes required when setting up and operating our equipment?


Here’s a comment made by a civil contractor to our survey question about challenges of the job: “Working with suppliers – understanding what their limitations of knowledge are and what I need to be asking to make sure we are on the same page.”

Access to knowledge works both ways and I suggest the following.

Be specific – about what you need to happen on site in terms of meeting any compliance limits. Make it easy for your suppliers to access that information.

Contact for questions – make it easy for your suppliers to clarify compliance and contractual obligations before they present a solution. That means having a human to talk to. If those practical questions don’t get asked – are you talking to the right supplier?

Product knowledge – does your ground crew have the knowledge to operate the equipment as specified? Inefficiencies and ‘break downs’ increase risk and cost time and money. When skilled labour is a limited resource, tap into your supplier’s expertise. It is a win-win arrangement. Upskilled staff means improved job performance.

Navigating compliance in project delivery requires a concerted effort from all sides. While challenges persist, there are tangible steps that we can take to enhance efficiency and mitigate risks. Understanding site-specific conditions, fostering clear communication, and leveraging supplier expertise will contribute to favourable outcomes within the constraints of time and budget.

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