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Philip Alexander

Philip Alexander

Dicky Beach, Queensland, Austr



Recent activity

Comments (102)

  • Comment on: Exclusive | Crossrail to pay contractors lump sums to finish job

    Philip Alexander's comment 12 January, 2019 5:20 am

    Every day, another disgraceful revelation of yet more of the Crossrail fiasco. This is now getting beyond a joke, I can't keep up with the incredible incompetence (and worse?) of project management, senior Crossrail executives, Board and who else? TfL, London Mayor, Central Government? Why should we trust any of them ever to deliver a major project ever again? And to think that HS2 has been approved to be delivered by the same group of "you scratch my back" individuals and companies is truly staggering.
    And we'd like some proper investigative journalism by NCE please, instead of the usual sycophantic praise of such a wonderfully managed major project. There is so much dirty linen to be discovered here that it ought to be a journalist's dream come true. The King's new clothes really have been revealed for the sham they are after the promises stretching over years, whilst all the time, everyone on the project knew (it's impossible anyone associated with the project at any sort of level didn't know) that the project would be years late and cost way more than the already obscene £15 Billion figure. But to only come clean a few months before the due completion date appears to show deception of the highest order, as if to wave two fingers at the taxpayer.
    We really need to ask TfL for the calculations of the Benefit/Cost ratio (BCR) used to justify this project, since it is almost certain that if the true cost, true opening date and true revenue had been used, it would (or should) never have got off the ground. And how about finding out exactly what the conditions of contract for each of the many contracts are so that we can judge whether the contractors should be entitled to anything over their contractual entitlements. This latest suggestion by the new senior management (oh please) to bung them a few extra billion £ £ £ of taxpayers' money is disgusting. Sounds suspiciously like extortion, blackmail, or ransom money to me. And weren't we all being told at the start of the Crossrail fiasco that due to the use of "state of the art" collaborative contracts that everyone's individual ambitions were all perfectly aligned so that the contractors would deliver on time and on budget and it would all be sweetness and light. Sorry, I've just fallen on the floor laughing.
    Surely to goodness there should be an urgent rigorous Public Inquiry with the full force of judicial disclosure to get to the bottom of this Crossrail mess and HS2 should be suspended until the results of the PI were clear so that the scale of dishonesty over budget and time can be considered before finally cancelling HS2 because its whole premise is built on similar lies.
    I have worked in this industry for nearly 50 years and have never seen or met a contractor who isn't going to try to screw as much extra money out of a contract as possible, even when clearly not justified. It's about time that clients, sponsors, promoters, funders of all projects got wise and crafted a contract which dealt with such a fundamentally opposing ambition from that of the client. That's right, it was called the ICE 5th edition, a much maligned document but nowhere near as damaging to the clients' pocket as these "collaborative" contracts of recent years.
    Does all this sound disturbingly familiar? Well, the same clowns in government, Dept of Transport and the industry are also in charge of the white elephant to end all white elephants, HS2. And they expect us to believe that this even more complicated project, breaking even more new technical grounds (400kph, really???) will be delivered for what they claim, now, of "around" £56 BILLION and on time. Well, excuse me whilst I roll around on the floor laughing - again.
    It has now been conclusively proven that the collective senior construction industry management and contracting expertise in this country are incapable of delivering a major rail project of such complexity to budget and time and should not be believed when it comes to their promises regarding HS2.
    There is no way that HS2 can be delivered for less than £100 BILLION in less than 15 years based on Crossrail and HS1 costings. It is therefore completely and utterly uneconomic and MUST be cancelled immediately.

  • Comment on: TfL chief: Major project bosses must be held to account for delays

    Philip Alexander's comment 9 January, 2019 11:23 pm

    It's funny how Crossrail was held up by "the industry" as a model for how to deliver a major project less than a year ago, when it must already have been absolutely obvious to all of the senior project management team that it would be more than a year late. You don't get to within 6 months of the planned completion date on a 7 year long major project costing at least £15 Billion (they don't even know what the final cost will be)
    , only then to discover you have at least another year's work left. That's a complete joke and if that's the case, the senior management team should be dismissed for incompetence. Even more so if they really didn't formally notify the project sponsor, TfL until a couple of months ago. That is inconceivable.

  • Comment on: Hydrogen trains lined up for 2021 start in UK

    Philip Alexander's comment 9 January, 2019 7:44 am

    The use of hydrogen in a fuel cell to drive a propulsion unit is laudable. However, everyone concentrates on the headline that the only waste product is water. this is a massive deceit. The production of Hydrogen gas and the vessels in which to store it in liquid form plus the energy to convert it from gas to liquid are every bit as much energy intensive as a straightforward internal combustion engine. When is our profession going to start being critical around so-called green solutions instead of just accepting lay journalists' claims that this fuel is emission free. No it isn't.

  • Comment on: WSP investigates cracks in evacuated Sydney tower

    Philip Alexander's comment 3 January, 2019 10:09 am

    I'm sure that WSP will come up with the stunning conclusion that the Quality Assurance and self certification paperwork is perfect! Unfortunately, these days that does NOT ensure that the design and construction is adequate. There is so much opportunity for suppliers, builders, tradies and just about everyone involved in the construction process to cut corners because there is no overall engineering supervision anymore.
    I feel sorry for the owners of the apartments whose asset is now worthless, no matter what assurances are given that it's a localised problem which can be fixed. There is a history in Australia of developers and builders blaming each other (or even going bust) to avoid paying for repairs and compensation to the owners.

  • Comment on: Khan to be grilled by assembly on Crossrail delay

    Philip Alexander's comment 21 December, 2018 11:15 am

    Being " grilled by ministers" (headline) is hardly the same as being invited to answer questions by your own committee! Come on NCE. Which is it?

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