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Every time it rains the new Cotter Dam loses $250,000!

By johnboy - 22 December 2011 29

The ABC’s Eleni Psaltis has an alarming story on just how bad the delays on the Cotter Dam Expansion have been and how much it’s costing as rain interrupts what was planned to be a continuous concrete pour.

The wall was scheduled to be at 70 metres high this month, but it is still sitting below 30 metres as workers pack up for Christmas.

“We’ve got about 30 per cent of the productive time of November and December that’s been able to be used to place concrete,” said ACTEW managing director Mark Sullivan.

“The problem we have is that rain not only stops us whilst it’s there, but once it rains for about half a day, we lose a day and half once it stops raining.

“And then the guys have been quite dispirited because you get to the end of that day and half and you see the clouds roll in.”

Project manager Ray Hezkial says about 200 workers are toiling around the clock, but rain keeps getting in the way.

“In the aftermath of the rain even you’ve got to actually clean up, so you’re cleaning up the surface and then there’s a very strict regime of preparing the surface before you can resume placement again,” he said.

If rain stops work for one day, it costs ACTEW almost $250,000.

The $120 million project, now a $363 million project will be reporting in February on what extra contingent funding is required.

March is now off the table for completion but they have hopes for the middle of 2012.

What’s Your opinion?


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29 Responses to
Every time it rains the new Cotter Dam loses $250,000!
dungfungus 12:56 pm 22 Dec 11

winter said :

So we have a project plan based on it not raining for a long period of time. Am I the only one that thinks this is a major budgeting fail?

They must have consulted the weather with Tim Flannery. He was the one insisting that it would never rain again.

Spectra 12:53 pm 22 Dec 11

BimboGeek said :

Engineers aren’t supposed to use average or hopeful figures, they are supposed to use error factors and safety margins. This it’s not hard to apply to project planning given that an engineer would have provided timelines and contingencies.

Which they almost certainly did. As chewy14 pointed out, it’s pretty unreasonable to go making assumptions of incompetence based on very limited media reports. Have you seen the project plan? Would you like to be specific about what they did wrong? Thought not. Plus, you build in error margins etc, but you really can’t reasonably account for every single possibility. Should they budget for it raining non-stop (or at least every 3 days) for a month? 3 months? A year?

I do wonder, though, at what point it becomes economically viable to build a big shelter over the thing 🙂 Though, of course, if they did that it’d stop raining on the spot and not start again until they were finished. Then everyone would complain about what a waste of money the shelter was.

Classified 12:49 pm 22 Dec 11

It’s a shame they couldn’t have it finished in time to take advantage of the current rainy period.

Hopefully it will be complete in time for Nov/Dec next year.

BimboGeek 12:08 pm 22 Dec 11

Engineers aren’t supposed to use average or hopeful figures, they are supposed to use error factors and safety margins. This it’s not hard to apply to project planning given that an engineer would have provided timelines and contingencies.

chewy14 11:55 am 22 Dec 11

winter said :

So we have a project plan based on it not raining for a long period of time. Am I the only one that thinks this is a major budgeting fail?

Yes, they expected the sun to shine on their construction work 24/7 and they didn’t allow any contingency for rain at all.

Can you tell me where you’ve seen this project plan, I’d like to take a look at it?

Funky1 11:52 am 22 Dec 11

winter said :

So we have a project plan based on it not raining for a long period of time. Am I the only one that thinks this is a major budgeting fail?

One would assume that they budgeted for a number of rainy days based on some historical weather records.

You must admit that we have since had a wetter Spring/Summer than usual. How can you effectively budget for that?

Deref 11:16 am 22 Dec 11

Bugger!

fgzk 11:06 am 22 Dec 11

winter said :

So we have a project plan based on it not raining for a long period of time. Am I the only one that thinks this is a major budgeting fail?

More how the high end construction industry works in Australia.

winter 10:48 am 22 Dec 11

So we have a project plan based on it not raining for a long period of time. Am I the only one that thinks this is a major budgeting fail?

dave__ 10:39 am 22 Dec 11

Massive tarp?

eh_steve 10:22 am 22 Dec 11

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-09-03/extended-interview-mark-sullivan-speaks-with-666/1415920

Oops, it was Mark Sullivan. All he said, at around the 5 minute mark, is that he has been asked to put his name to the price, and he has staked his reputation on that price.

poetix 10:12 am 22 Dec 11

Thumper said :

Delicious, or bitter, irony?

Refreshing irony, surely. To have such a (d)rain on our resources…

eh_steve 10:08 am 22 Dec 11

Does anyone else remember Michael Costello telling Ross Solly in 2009 that he would stake his professional reputation and his position on the Cotter Dam not costing a cent more than predicted?

I remember thinking at the time it was a stupid thing to say, bet he’s kicking himself now!

Thumper 9:58 am 22 Dec 11

Delicious, or bitter, irony?

Holden Caulfield 9:25 am 22 Dec 11

I suppose that kind of overspend puts our house renos into some sort of perspective!

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