Innovation In The Australian Road Construction Industry – Making Better Use Of Resources

Manley, Karen & Blayse, Aletha M. (2004) Innovation In The Australian Road Construction Industry – Making Better Use Of Resources. In New Zealand Institute of Highway Technology, Towards Sustainable Land Transport Conference, 21-24 November, 2004, Wellington, New Zealand.

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The Australian road construction industry, as with its New Zealand counterpart, is often judged by analysts to be relatively inefficient compared to productivity improvements seen in the manufacturing industry. This inefficiency wastes scarce resources and is seen as the result of poor innovation rates. A key obstacle to improved innovation rates in the industry, and hence improved productivity and client satisfaction, is the perception by small and medium-sized firms that innovation is unlikely to be successful.

This paper reports on the results of a case study program that sought to demonstrate the benefits of innovation in the industry and the nature of successful implementation processes. The program follows from the success of the Egan Demonstration Projects documented by Rethinking Construction (now Construction Excellence) in the UK, and the associated significant improvement in industry performance in that country.

The case study program profiled three innovative projects in the road construction industry. The projects were nominated by partners to the program, who were key public sector clients in the industry. To be selected as a demonstration project, measured benefits from innovation had to be available.

This paper reports on the results of the three demonstration case studies: Alliancing on the Port of Brisbane Motorway project; the use of ground penetrating radar to detect defects in bridge beams; and Australia’s first fibre-reinforced polymer bridge deck on the road network.

The key findings from the studies are that: the benefits of innovation are significant; clients can play a key role in driving innovation; innovation involving adoption of existing advanced technologies and practices is just as beneficial as original innovation; the type of contract employed on a project can have a profound impact on the opportunities for innovation and the benefits derived; and small local businesses can be technology leaders.

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ID Code: 7302
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: construction, innovation, drivers, obstacles, implementation processes, industry policy
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > BUILDING (120200) > Building Construction Management and Project Planning (120201)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Civil Engineering not elsewhere classified (090599)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > CRC Construction Innovation
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Deposited On: 02 May 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:08

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