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Nigel Powers talks Best Practice Guides

by Australian Road Research Board on May 6, 2020

Nigel Powers is the National Infrastructure Strategist for ARRB and is the Project Director for the Best Practice Guides.

Here, Nigel answers some questions that you need to know about the Best Practice Guides for Local Government.

Nigel BPG webinar

Why should I download the Best Practice Guides?

The Best Practice Guides have been specifically developed to assist Local Government in the management of their road and bridge assets. They are a fantastic tool to help those early on in their career to learn about these topics. For more experienced practitioners, they are great resources that draw together many sources of information and will help them be more efficient and effective in their roles.

The Guides have proved to be very popular since their release with over 6,000 downloads in the last month. Many of those that have downloaded them have been from Local Government but there has been a significant proportion from other parts of the industry as well. This shows that they are not only valued by Local Government but other engineers and practitioners as well.

Why is Asset Management such a prominent feature in the Best Practice Guides?

All of the Best Practice Guides have a section on Asset Management and this is for very good reason. Firstly, the Federal Government wanted to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of maintenance practices across Local Government. Also, when we held the workshops across Australia, we heard from Local Government staff that they wanted more information and guidance to help them with asset management. Finally, asset management is an area where there may be a lot of information and references available but these often aren’t practical that Local Government staff can use and apply in their roles. We have been able to achieve this with these Guides and hopefully we can provide more information on asset management in the future.

The Best Practice Guides mention schemes such as APAS and TIPES for evaluation and assessment of products and materials. Is there a register of already evaluated products and materials available?

The evaluation and/or approval of products and materials used in the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and other related infrastructure is conducted by many different entities. Some of these are by industry representative bodies and others are by the relevant road authorities. Unfortunately, due to this, currently there is no centralised register for approved products and materials and you will need to refer to the different entities. We have highlighted some of these in the Guides to assist you to find the right one.

For roads, bridges and other road assets there are Australian Standards, Austroads documents, requirements of the relevant State and Territory Road Authorities and other industry guides and references, so where do the Best Practice Guides stand with these documents?

The Best Practice Guides have been written to provide guidance to Local Government staff on the management of roads and bridges. The Guides have been written in a way to bring all of these together in one place for practitioners to use. At times the user of the Guide will need to refer to other documents for further information and detail but in the end the Guides complement these documents and do not supersede them.

A great example of this is in the Best Practice Guide for Bridge Management. There are already Australian Standard and Austroads documents that comprehensively covers bridge design so we draw attention to these and then focus on other areas like asset management.

Who is the target audience for the Best Practice Guides?

The target audience for the Best Practice Guides is Local Government in Australia. They have been written in a way so that they can be used and referenced by all levels of Local Government from works crews and engineers through to senior leaders and Councillors. While they have been specifically written for Australia, the principles behind them will certainly be applicable to other countries around the world and we have already had a significant number of downloads from outside of Australia.

Will the Best Practice Guides be regularly updated?

We intend to treat the Best Practice Guides as live documents and will regularly update them to ensure they stay current and that the users will have the latest information.

You can learn more about the Best Practice Guides and the role that ARRB played in an upcoming podcast. 

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Nigel Powers is the National Infrastructure Strategist for ARRB and is the Project Director for the Best Practice Guides. Nigel has worked in transport infrastructure for almost 20 years, much of this time working with government. He has experience designing, constructing, managing and maintaining roads, bridges and other transport related assets.

Topics: ARRB, Australian Road Research Board, Road and Transport Research, Best Practice Guides