By all accounts the 2018 Road Infrastructure Management Forum (RIMs) was a great success with around 180 delegates attending the two-day event that was held at the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre. Richard Silcock was there.
SPLIT OVER TWO days (March 21 & 22), day one of this intense road engineering conference largely covered the importance of securing and collecting quality asset data and, once it had been obtained, how to best use it successfully to make informed and effective management decisions in relation to publicly owned road and pavement assets.
Thirteen speakers tackled the subject and covered a gambit of topics ranging from establishing a knowledge hub; why quality data is important; getting the data in the hands of the decision makers; benchmarking; unsealed roads management; innovative fleet management solutions; using dTIMS as an assessment tool; and, digital engineering in the modern world.
Dawn Inglis from Road Efficiency Group (REG) was one of the presenters on this subject with the group’s latest report (her presentation will feature in the June issue).
Phillipa O’Shea of Downer NZ in a presentation entitled, ‘You can pick your friends but not your family’, described the process that Downer has developed to identify pavement classification and how to relate and associate one to another on different networks, with the resulting classification ‘families’ providing a ‘deterioration’ forecast.
Some presentations took a look at the future and what some are saying could be a transport ‘evolution’. Tim Herbert from the Ministry of Transport provided his view on the future of transport and how, in his opinion, improved public transport will replace 90 percent of the cars in our future cities.
Twelve break-out groups, or ‘Rapid Downloads’ as they were termed, came together and honed in on subjects such as asset deterioration modelling; monitoring in ‘real-time’ road serviceability and maintenance requirements; taking the guess work out of tender weightings; and, the latest functionalities now available for users of RAMM.
Other topics included information on collecting structure data when carrying out field inspections using modern technology; analysing and reporting spatial condition data for roads and footpaths; advances in infrastructure asset management; and, using GPS and 3D scanning instead of point-to-point surveying in road construction.
That evening attendees were entertained at the Forum Dinner by MC Pio Terei who kept things lively with his usual jovial banter of jokes and witty observations, and after-dinner speaker and consultant Alicia McKay gave a thought-provoking address on the social, economic and demographic changes that are happening here and around the world, entitled ‘Shrinking, aging and leaving’.
The winner of the Innovation Award, sponsored by IDS, was announced with Phillipa O’Shea taking away a cheque for $1000 along with a plaque and certificate for her presentation.
Additional awards for Best Presentation were also made with winners Dawn Inglis (Road Efficiency Group), Tracy Bell (Timaru District Council), Greg Arnold (Road Science) and David Langford (New Plymouth District Council) each taking home a cheque for $250.
Day two saw delegates break into three main streams with each covering a number of in-depth presentations and conversations on corridor management, optimised decision making, and procurement and performance monitoring.
Tracy Bell from the Timaru District Council provided some insight into how the end user (the public) of our roads and footpaths judges the success or otherwise of maintenance and reinstatement work.
“It’s all about perception of the top layer,” she says.
“It’s whether the asphalt, chip seal or concrete is visually pleasing and provides a smooth surface. They are not concerned with the important work that has gone on beneath the surface.
“Most complaints from the public are around the visual aesthetics of a pavement, whether it is rough, uneven, coarse-chip or noisy, no matter if it is a section of a road or a footpath.”
She said contractors needed to be mindful of this with perhaps more consideration given to the finishing, and councils needed to improve communicating their reinstatement criteria with less ambiguity.
Some lively Q&As wound up the sessions and the day came to a close with a keynote presentation on ‘Infrastructure in 2027: Dad – I’ll probably never drive a car’, by Warner Cowin, who, like Tim Herbert the day before, looked at the future and the introduction of driverless autonomous vehicles and a shift to more automation over the coming decade.
Some of the delegates spoken to by Contractor said they took away some good information and ideas. Several complained of presenters using difficult to read and comprehend Powerpoint slides, which contained a lot of information but were not suitable for audience readability from a distance.
The trade hall, with the various sponsors’ stands was well attended especially at the tea and lunch breaks.
Judging by the networking and conversations around the tables and stands this was an opportunity to cement professional relationships and seek further information from some of the speakers.
Key sponsors for the Forum were IDS, RAMM, the NZ Utilities Advisory Group, Road Efficiency Group, WSP-Opus, Waugh, NZTA and Chorus.
PHOTOS: EMMA MCCARTHY PHOTOGRAPHY
This article was first published in Contractor‘s May issue.