Executive Summary Essay Example

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Executive Summary

The Eastern Distributor project was a 4 miles (6-km) long motorway, NSW, Australia. This was one of the largest civil construction projects in Australia. The Eastern Distributor Projects was designed in Sydney to provide a link the city’s northern and southern suburbs. The key structural components of the project included 1.7 km long double deck tunnel passing under Darlinghurst, 8,000 m2 land bridge and associated tollgates. The project was installed with super T bridges and planks bridging up to twenty-six meters between the walls.


Holcim (Australia) Pty is the leading supplier of concrete pipes, concrete (ready mix) aggregate and products in Australia. The construction company has been operating in the country since 1901. It was created through a merger of Lafarge and Holcim. The two companies share a rich history, culture and pride. The company operates in ninety countries across the globe. The merger between the two companies in Australia created LafargeHolcim making it the leading construction company dealing with building materials (Holcim.com.au, 2015)

With its large network across the world, LafargeHolcim employs more than 115,000 workforces. LafargeHolcim has a unique business portfolio which serves its clients based on their needs. Its customers are range from individual homebuilders to largest and most complex projects. The company also offers a comprehensive building solutions, innovative services as well as value- adding products (Holcim.com.au, 2015)

Company Mission

The company strives to be the most respected and successful in Australia’s construction industry by creating value for all its stakeholders. Being one of the world’s largest companies, Holcim (Australia) Pty vision always improves the progress as build the foundations of the society’s future. To meet its mission, Holcim (Australia) Pty involves itself in some of the following: enduring financial performance, an open and collaborative corporate culture, and innovative solutions for the clientele, a progressive company, have human resource with passion and performance and culture that promotes sustainable development (Holcim.com.au, 2015)

Company at glance

Currently, the company across the entire Australian continent supplying concrete using 900 mixer trucks from over 200 concrete plants from both on-site and mobile facilities. The secret behind the company success is its 88 quarry operations. The operations provide consistent and quality products that meet a wide range of applications and customers need (Holcim.com.au, 2015)


Some of the company’s products include premixed concrete formed from additives, aggregate, cement and water. Such products are delivered to projects sites in specially designed transit mixers. Various types of premix products are designed to meet specific properties depending on the application, construction and transport requirements. Furthermore, the company offer a wide range of testing and technical services supported by laboratory facilities in major centres. The company can be anywhere within its operations jurisdiction thanks to contacting operations that encompass quarrying equipment, mobile crushing and screening (Holcim.com.au, 2015)

Eastern Distributor Project

The Eastern Distributor project was a 4 miles (6-km) long motorway, NSW, Australia. This was one of the largest civil construction projects in Australia. The Eastern Distributor Projects was designed in Sydney to provide a link the city’s northern and southern suburbs. The project was worth $700 million completed ahead of schedule. The reason for the completion ahead of schedule was the extensive use precast concrete through the entire projects in both structural and civil applications (Roads and Maritime Services, 2015)

The need for this project came to light in 1951 when it was first talked about. It was not until 1995 elections that the project execution began. In the project was initiated by the state Labour government that was elected into office. Through Premier Bob Carr, the Eastern Distributor Project was Initiated

The objectives of the Eastern Distributor Project satisfy the need for a fast, efficient motorway that would reduce traffic in the inner city. The project was also meant to reduce travel times between the city Port Botany and Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport. As a result, the project would lead to faster and reliable travel to the airport. The project would result in full access to the CBD from Woolloomooloo as the Cathedral Street would be reopened

Benefits of the Eastern Distributor Project

The Eastern Distributor Project would benefit the residents a lot in the following ways (Roads and Maritime Services, 2015)

  1. The project would lessen air pollution and traffic noise

  2. The project would improve access to CBD, through the conversion of one-way street into two-way street e.g. the Bourke and Crown streets

  3. The Project would ease the traffic on Eastern Sydney Streets

  4. The Eastern Distributor Project would lead to an improved amenity on local streets as a result of traffic calming strategies and landscaping

Project time and cost Estimation

These are two key components which must be considered for a project to be successful. Apart from quality, on-budget and on-time delivery are critical components which need to be satisfied in any project implementation. The project manager can meet the project objectives when the project cost, time and quality are all met. The estimates of the project need to accurate to avoid lagging behind of project or the compromise of the project.

Historical information is the best starting point when coming with project estimates. Downtimes, technology and people are some of the factors that have an influence on the quality of project estimates. It is not possible to come up with the exact estimate. For one to get realistic estimates of time and costs there is a need for organization culture that allows errors in such estimates without incriminations. To beat time and costs estimates, project manager needs to employ teams that are highly motivated

For this to be achieved, the project needs to be broken down into simplest tasks and aspects. Such simplification of tasks enables the project cost and duration to be estimated. Each task cost and duration is estimated

Work Breakdown Structure

By breaking the project activities into smaller tasks enable the project manager to get an idea of the project costs and activities. Work breakdown structure is one of the ways of simplifying the project tasks. It provides guideline through which structured project starting with the project at the top level. The project is then divided into different parts at the second level. Some of these parts overlap represent different tasks. Here, the project sections involve planning, shipping, production, purchasing equipment and commissioning. From here, the project tasks are further divided into the third level. In this level, the project manager can come with a list of equipment needed by the project. The project further divides the projects until he or she can come with an accurate project cost and duration (Kesavan, Elanchezhian and Ramnath, 2009, p. 269)

Task costs

After the project has broken into the simplest task, one can assign costs. The project manager at this level to contact suppliers to get estimate costs of the equipment needed for the project. Here, task duration can be estimated. The hourly rate can then be estimated to determine the task cost. Another way of estimating project cost is using historical information to come up with the task and project cost. In an event where the company completed a similar project, the equipment could be readily available. With all this information, the project manager is in apposition to estimate the project cost after estimating overhead. The overhead can be calculated by applying a percentage on how much overhead of similar projects generate (Klein, 2012, p. 338)

By use of estimating guidelines, help a great deal in eliminating a lot of common errors and mistakes by people responsible for the task of estimating the project costs and duration for project control. It is of much important to develop a cost and time database which is line with the organization philosophy. Project managers need to stick with the saying «no more than is necessary and sufficient» when estimating the project cost and duration. Other important things to be put into consideration by project managers the difference between scheduled costs, actual costs and committed outlays. Upfront efforts involve defining project specification, and scope and objectives greatly improve cost and time accuracy (Klein, 2012, p. 338).

To ensure the project was completed in time, two separate subcontractors started excavating the northbound tunnel. The tunnel is between Woolloomooloo and Surry Hills. This took place in January 1996. The tunnel boring employed the used of seven road headers and shotcrete. By 4th of December 1998, the two subcontractors were shaking hands beneath the Taylor Square, i.e. they had met. While the two were excavating, construction was taking place. This is meant to save time. To meet the project deadline, independent tasks should be running concurrently. The construction began in August 1997 and ended twenty months later in March 1999. A total of 400,000 cubic metres of were removed (about 40,000 of truck loads).

The construction of the Eastern Distributor Project involved 5,000 employees. It was opened on 19th December 1999 except for William Street. The William Street was open just before the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games on 23th July 2000

The tasks were divided in such a way that independent could run concurrently. Humes was tasked to supply the bulk of precast concrete under separate contracts. On the other hand, Holcim was responsible for the supply of 40,000 cubic metres of premixed concrete to the site. Controls and checks were put in place to check on the quality of the work.

Executing such a massive project, a single entity cannot fully perform it. Teamwork and subcontracting is essential. Subcontracting is necessary to ensure the desired quality is achieved. A specialised contractor is needed to cover for the inadequacies. For this reason, Holcim contracted Humes to provide concrete products like road barriers, culverts drainage and storm water. Besides, Humes was tasked to supply architectural concrete in a variety of colors, girders, beams, column and bridge decking

The key structural elements of the Eastern Distributor Project

The key structural components of the project included 1.7 km long double deck tunnel passing under Darlinghurst, 8,000 m2 land bridge and associated tollgates. The project was installed with super T bridges and planks bridging up to twenty-six meters between the walls. The decks were acting as a permanent formwork for the in situ strengthened concrete topping. Since the land bridge was made in such a way that it would follow the contours of prevailing parklands, minimal standardisation of elements were made in this section leading to the most of the 320 bridge planks and girders being cast as one-offs.

Cost reduction

The 1.7km long double-deck consisted of three south-bound lanes and three north-bound lanes constructed on top of each other in a piggyback arrangement. Such as design was very crucial in not only reducing the project cost but reduced the amount of space required for the tunnel. The tunnel is 24 m below road level at Taylor Square. This is the deepest section of the tunnel

The management of project risk

Recent studies into the increase in the financial meltdown failed projects, and deadly environmental hazards across the world have been attributed to lack of inclusion of risk management not only in planning but also during the entire process of the projects. Overlooking of minor risks, poor or total neglect of the projects risk management practices is attributed to majority of the projects failure (Gladden, 2012, p. 101)

Specialists have concluded that sound project risk management process can reduce project challenges by 75 -90%. By having a good project management risks process with open communications, concrete project management plans, and managing change strategies helps in eliminating and minimising unexpected risks and surprises. Sound project management risk process is also known to tackling problems and challenges when they occur

In project implementation, the risk is defined as the possibility of loss or injury. It is an unprecedented condition or an event that if it arises, affects, at least, one of the project objectives (Heagney, 2012, p. 67).

During the construction of the Eastern Distributor Motorway experienced fewer risks because proper measures were put in place during the planning and execution of the project. To minimize the possibility of loss of life and injury to the employees, safety equipment was provided. Helmets and reflector jackets were supposed to be put on at all the time in construction sites. The workers could be easily spotted and hence avoidance of harm and injury. The employees at the site were also given protective clothing to prevent injuring themselves. Heavy duty gloves and boots were provided to prevent injuries on hand and feet while handling various project activities at the site. Sharp objects could not prick through the skin.

The machines used were protected to avoid exposing harm to the employees. Machines and tools used in the projects were very powerful, and any mistake could be fatal. By preventing occurrences of such accidents and deaths, the project could minimise on the project cost. Cases of injuries and death are detrimental to the project success. This is because a lot of time is nursing injuries which could lead to project delay. The cost of running the project also increases in the case of fatalities and injuries as the employees need to be compensated for the loss of life, body parts and treatment.

By use of precast concrete, the Eastern Distributor Motorway Project would make the implementation stick to its timeframe. The time needs to cure concrete at the construction site was minimised. Significant milestones could be easily achieved in the process. By use of precast concrete, unreliable weather conditions like storm and heavy rains would not compromise on the quality of the project

Resource scheduling

Resources needed in project management consist of time, equipment, people, knowledge and equipment. The need for resource scheduling is important as they are limited in nature. The project manager needs to make trade-offs when implementing demanding activities in the organisation. The project manager needs to have a resource management plan to manage effectively resources at stake.

Resource management plan is important to help the project manager in determining when and where resources are needed so as not to slow down the project. The Hilcom Company has many resources and machinery required for the construction of the motor. They have been in the industry for more than a century. By contracting some of its partners, it ensures that the project implementation was smooth and completed ahead of schedule.

Project team issues

Project teams are challenges faced during the implementation of a project. Many projects affect the application of the projects. Such challenges include managing micro projects, lack of open communication challenges, and not matching skill with the right job, lack of a system for tracking progress and changes, aggressive or over-optimistic timelines (Lester and Lester, 2007, p. 117).

Many of these challenges did not face Holcim Company. With experience in implementing similar projects for over a century, such challenges were foreseen and put into an account at the planning stage of the project. The employees were trained before the project began. Regular meetings were conducted at the construction site where issues raised were handled.

Project performance management

This is an important consideration in the planning and implementation of a project. Project performance management enables the project manager to detect schedule and cost problems early enough for corrective measures to be applied. Project performance management is designed during work breakdown which allows the monitoring and evaluation of project implementation (Lester and Lester, 2007, p. 117). The Holcim Company had in place an excellent project performance management system in place. Any challenge that arose in during the construction was adequately dealt with. As the result, the project was completed ahead of schedule within the budgeted cost


The way estimates are collected, and their use has an influence on their utilisation for both planning and control. The team culture, organisation, and climate has a direct influence on to usefulness linked to cost and time estimates and how are used in managing the project

List of references used

Gladden, R. (2012). The Project Risk Maturity Model: Measuring and Improving Risk Management Capability. Proj Mgmt Jrnl, 43(5), pp.101-101.

Heagney, J. (2012). Fundamentals of project management. New York: American Management Association, p.67.

Holcim.com.au, (2015). Holcim Australia — At a glance. [online] Available at: http://www.holcim.com.au/about-us/at-a-glance.html [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].

Holcim.com.au, (2015). Holcim Australia — LafargeHolcim. [online] Available at: http://www.holcim.com.au/about-us/lafargeholcim.html [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].

Holcim.com.au, (2015). Holcim Australia — Mission. [online] Available at: http://www.holcim.com.au/about-us/mission.html [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].

Kesavan, R., Elanchezhian, C. and Ramnath, B. (2009). Process planning and cost estimation. New Delhi: New Age International Ltd., p.269.

Klein, R. (2012). Scheduling of resource-constrained projects. Boston: Kluwer Academic, p.338.

Lester, A. and Lester, A. (2007). Project management, planning and control. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann, p.117.

Roads and Maritime Services, (2015). Eastern Distributor — completed. [online] Available at: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/sydney-inner/eastern-distributor/index.html [Accessed 13 Feb. 2016].