Ask Your Mates Open Forum

Expand all | Collapse all

Capital Works Prioritisation Process

  • 1.  Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 02-02-2014 18:02

    Council is trying to formalise its processes in regard to a prioritisation method for future capital works projects in its roads, drainage, bridge and footpath/bikeway programs

    Seeking advice and feedback on systems that may be in use to allow a multi-criteria analysis of these varying programs with flexibility for the Council to apply local weightings

    Any advice would be appreciated 

    Graeme Hawes
    Manager Technical Services
    Mackay Regional Council



  • 2.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 03-02-2014 14:47

    Footpaths, we use criteria for scoring the priority for each footpath request ( min 1 block or complete the missing section )
    Demand, 1, 5 or 10, covers desire line, number of requests
    Pedestrian generation / destination
    Shops and Rail 0, 1, 3, 5,   0 if over 300m and 5 if less than 100m  ( distances measured radial on map from nearest part of section )
    Hospitals and Nursing Homes 0, 1, 2, 3,  0 if over 300m and 3 if less than 100m 
    Parks 0, 2, 3,  0 if over 200m and 3 if less than 100m 
    Traffic volume 1, 2, 4, 5,  1 less than 2,000 vpd and 5 if over 10,000 vpd  ( data from Council's traffic count data ), also if over 5,000 vpd, will consider path on other side of road, if less, path on one side for now, only 1/3 of streets have any path.
    Site constraints
    Construction difficulty 0, 1, 3, 5,  0 extreme difficulty and 5 if none, this covers a range of site condition, embankments needing rock excavation, retaining walls, tree removal, service adjustments, access to site such as road occupancy problems for construction plant and vehicles
    Road Hazards 0, 1, 3, 5,   0 none  and 5 if extreme, this covers sight lines if walking on the road, from both driver and pedestrian.
    Accessibility from road 0, 1, 3, 5, 0 easy and 5 if impossible, this covers the pedestrians escape routes once they see an approaching vehicle. Is the verge level with the road or is there a rock face to climb.

    We are getting a bit of bunching up sites on one score, may add to some of the ranges with intermediate scores, also considering adding other criteria such as feeding to a bus route, going along a bus route.  School bus routes would be lower weighting than normal bus routes both because of the number of services and the ease in altering the route.

    Long term features, such as schools and hospitals are considered much more than small or easily moved features such as child care or kindergarten run from what is essentially a house on a residential block.

    For background, this area is developed urban residential with good rail and bus service with state roads along and across the middle of the area. Generally hilly terrain.

    Jim Turner
    "Team Leader, Design & Projects"
    Ku-ring-gai Council



  • 3.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 03-02-2014 14:47

    Blacktown has an in-house system that fits the multi program, multi criteria framework. The system prioritises candidate projects within a particular program using selection criteria and weighting factors. The amount allocated towards any program is a matter for individual Council's based should generally be consistent with the 10 year plans for asset renewal and upgrade and supported by community expectation, available funds and local priorities.

    I have attached Blacktown's adopted 2013/14 Capital Works Program as an example of what the system you are looking for may output.

    If it is of any assistance, the selection criteria used are documented on the cover sheet for each program. These are supported by detailed assessment guides for each program.

    Adam Cowell
    Manager Asset Planning and Support
    Blacktown City Council



    rptDetailRuled.pdf   1.38 MB 1 version
    rptIndex.pdf   8 KB 1 version

  • 4.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 05-02-2014 13:07
    In the finish we should have a project prioritisation process that : 
    • Is capable of being used across all capital investments, and not just one asset type or service delivery.
    • Should always be based on Life Cycle Costs that include at least the first 10 years of O & M costs
    • Should have a standard approach related to the Improved level of service achieved for users & other stakeholders.
    • This assessment should be done on a point score  that reflects the number of users / stakeholders impacted, the improvement that will be realised  and where possible, this should be converted to economic $ cost values. 
    • It should also be capable include improved maitnenance projects on their own

    Roger Byrne
    R B & A PTY LTD



  • 5.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 06-02-2014 13:33

    Hi Graeme,

    Of all things you need to consider, remember to keep it simple and allow the system to nominate projects as a "top x number" of projects. Also one size cannot fit all is good to remember, you cannot always assess projects in the same way no matter how attractive such an approach may look.

    As you will probably know, Councillors like to have a say in what gets funded. As such if the system isn't simple to follow then Councillors will be lost and they will lose faith in the ability of staff to deliver a meaningful and justified CW program.

    I've spent time in the past developing spreadsheet based systems that meet the clients needs only to find that the output and methodology used was too complex for people who didn't have an understanding of spreadsheets and didn't output something meaningful for Councillors. Luckily I've learnt the lesson. Capital works assessment isn't necessarily about solid analysis and assessment, it can be emotional as well. So your system must be flexible.

    I can email you the latest iteration of my spreadsheet if you wish.
    Peter Gall


    Gally Consulting



  • 6.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 07-02-2014 12:27
    The comments posted here this week have been very useful indeed, and I very much appreciate the examples attached.   To the previous respondent (Peter), can you post your attachment on the forum please, or alternatively email it.

    [IPWEA CEO Note: Send to me if you have difficulty attaching the file at]

    Alan Ellingham
    Senior Financial Analyst
    City of Joondalup



  • 7.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 03-02-2014 17:10
    Hi Graeme,

    From past mistakes, I do not recommend a 'one size fits all' prioritisation methodology, but rather prioritise within asset type.

    tim cornford
    Asset Manager - Transport
    Wollongong City Council


  • 8.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 03-02-2014 17:13
    Hi Graham

    Over the past year I had been searching for such a tool for the small to mid size LG clients I have been assisting, as prioritising the utilisation of limited funds is such an important need.

    A great tool I found is CT Management Group's (CTMan) CAPEX Prioritisation tool. It's a standalone spreadsheet tool, that allows one to compare different types of proposed projects, and provides outputs for LTFPs.  From what I recall its is relatively inexpensive.

    NB I should point I am an associate of CTMan but I dont benefit from such plugs.  I'm mentioning their tool as an independent consultant, and will likewise be interested to see what other tools are suggested in other responses to your query.  If you are interested to know more about the tool I mentioned, Dennis Kirby, QLD State Director for CTMan, could provide you more information.

    Geoff Hales
    Infrastructure Asset Management Consultant
    Barnewall Resources Pty Ltd



  • 9.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 04-02-2014 19:27
      |   view attached

    Hi Graeme,

    Attached is a MCA on playgrounds. Note in the MCA Key worksheet we gave utilisation a 0 weighting. We decided to apply utilisation as a second tier once we got the score from the other criterias.


    Ring any time for clarification on 0417 283 012
    Rob Owers
    Asset Integrity Officer
    Wagga Wagga City Council



    Playground MCA.xls   225 KB 1 version

  • 10.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 04-02-2014 19:28
    Hi Graeme,

    At Dubbo we have recently implemented exactly this process with the development of guidelines and an internal web based system that considers the following:
    • Type of project (upgrade, renewal, expansion new)
    • Linkages to Dubbo 2036 (The Community Strategic Plan), the number of strategies supported in each of our 5 areas is scored
    • Consideration of Readiness, Capital Type and Financial impact (grant funding / rate funded etc) and this is also scored
    • Risks are then considered and rated (WHS, Financial, Environment, Social, Reputation, Legal)
    • The costs associated with the project are captured in terms of capital cost for implementation, then annual average income, operational, maintenance and renewal expenditure both pre and post the works
    • Workflow then pushes the proposal to Management and onto a budget working party
    This is our Preliminary Prioritisation framework. The next stage is to consider which projects should get a detailed business case and build that in as well.

    Mark Loaney
    ph 0417 004-999
    Mudgee, NSW


  • 11.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 04-02-2014 19:29
    Hi Graeme,

    I preseneted a paper at a IPWEA conference in Melbourne a couple of years ago on sustainable capital works programs.  I developed an MS Access database with customisable criteria and weightings for prioritising an entire 20 yr+ capex program.  It compares your Asset management plan renewal requirements with what you are planning to spend and shows GAPs in your program.  It also prioritises based on a simple 10 weighted criteria or on a Tripple Bottom Line approach.  It also has a Risk management analysis tool if you wish to use it.

    I have attached my presentation to this email for your perusal.

    My contact details are listed below:-
    George Stefanidis
    mob 0457 07 07 17

    George Stefanidis




  • 12.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 04-02-2014 23:54
    Townsville City Council uses Capex integration (for all Services), Prioritise (QBL risk assessment, & LG Act) and then finally Optimising (Affordability, LTFMP) for first three years.  

    Vivek Kangesu
    Manager Corporate Asset Management
    Townsville City Council



  • 13.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 08-02-2014 18:02
    Hi Graeme

    Looks like you have several good responses to your query.

    I will not go into the MCA that you should do as stated already everyone is different, suffice to say that in my previous experience as Director of Works & Services at a regional City council I found it invaluable by having the council sign off on the proposed criteria (via a half day workshop). This way they get to understand and own the process. The ranking that follows is then published ( with qualifications; subject to change, etc.) so that the community are made aware of the future works program. Once accepted then it is a matter of applying the annual budget funds to determine when the works will be carried out. 

    This process does take a few months to do however once completed should only need reviewing/amending before each budget review. Providing the Councillors agree to the criteria then the only way a project can jump the queue is by changing the criteria weighting. If council want to prioritise outside the MCA then they need to be made aware of that decision.
    The difficult part is the MCA. Making sure you have covered all the aspects of technical. physical, social, political, etc

    Les Hewer
    Hewer Consulting Services



  • 14.  RE:Capital Works Prioritisation Process

    Posted 10-02-2014 18:50
    Hi Graeme

    Great to see this thread and read the discussion.  And I'll be up-front - I run the Aus/NZ office of a small consulting firm specialising in developing and implementing such portfolio prioritisation processes as you are looking for, so of course I would love to help provide a solution!  Having said that, I also wanted to give you a few pointers from our experience (in no particular order):
    • Use a process which engages the key stakeholders - particularly both the 'political' side as well as the 'administrative' side of the organisation (we have worked with a number of local authorities and this point is key to ensuring commitment to the outcomes of your process)
    • Take time developing your prioritisation criteria (and, ideally as mentioned in another reply, use a group of the key stakeholders to develop and agree these so there is real ownership)
    • Use a 'value-for-money' basis for prioritisation - i.e. once you've understood the 'value' that each capital works project would deliver, divide this by the 'cost' to deliver it (and as suggested elsewhere, use a sensible, whole-of-life type cost, not just a capital cost)
    • Ensure your criteria are suitably strategic to the council, and do cover all dimensions of value that the projects will deliver (without overlap/double-counting)
    • When scoring your criteria (also as mentioned elsewhere), ensure your scores reflect the total value the project will deliver - including a sense of the scale of the value (many people benefitting vs few, for example) and the magnitude of the benefit.  Using something like 100 points to score will really help (this means a project delivering 10 times the value of another one should get 10x the score)
    • It's often helpful to prioritise in a 'hierarchical' way - perhaps prioritising each group of projects related to the different parts of the business separately (or maybe different asset classes) and then combining each order of priority into a single, cross-organisation order
    As you can probably tell, design of the process and who is involved in it, when, is as important as the actual 'mechanics' of any scoring and weighting that you do.

    Hope that gives you some considerations - feel free to email with any specific questions, and obviously happy to talk on the phone.

    Good luck!


    Paul Gordon
    Catalyze Ltd - "enabling effective decisions"