How to Increase the Effectiveness of Infrastructure Projects in Developed Countries

Following up from our previous post ‘How Infrastructure Projects Cost Has Increased Dramatically in Developed Countries‘, what can be done to make those projets more effective, quicker and less costly? I believe that new approaches to authorization process, construction and project execution could be a response.

Societal requirements and expectations will continue to make it harder to settle land claims and manage stakeholder input into very large projects, which will always have their share of opponents. However, while still maintaining the rights of stakeholders, it should still be possible to accelerate the regulatory authorization process, in particular by accelerating and remove some layers of legal recourse. It has been done in France for example for offshore wind farms after the previous regulatory framework was found to create excessive delays before the project could start.

At the same time, construction approaches should be reviewed. It makes increasingly more sense in development countries to modularise projects instead of looking for stick-and-build approaches or any approach with high manual work. For example for piping, replacing large quantities of on-site welding with pre-fabrication including of modules that could then be poured in the reinforced concrete structures.

In any case, the delays and hurdles to build infrastructure projects hurt the economy and create substantial delays before the infrastructure we need is actually contributing to our well-being. Innovative and creative solutions must be developed and implemented – we can’t continue on the current trend.