Key to all these secrets is the infrastructure plan must be simple to adopt and easy to get started or else it will not be adopted. There are massive backlogs of infrastructure projects waiting to be developed and literally billions of dollars waiting to invest in the infrastructure sector. Lack of diagnostic tools and resources available to both public sector organizations and project funders have made infrastructure decisions difficult.  Many projects never “get off the ground” because public sector officials and funders simply do not have the diagnostic tools to make timely decisions. Simplifying and standardizing the process and providing diagnostic tools removes apprehension and improves decision-making processes.  Infrastructure Asset Champions need to bring all stakeholders together to make the process work for all and through collaboration ensure the asset management plan is both simple to adopt and easy to get started.

Simplifying the Plan

The Asset Champion in collaboration with the Project Team might consider some of the following to make the public sector organization infrastructure plan easier to adopt:

  • The long-term infrastructure plan must be very high level and include a list of infrastructure priorities for the public sector organization
  • The Project Team needs to be authorized by the public sector organization to make simple project decisions on behalf of the public sector organization
  • Daily administrative decisions affecting the infrastructure plan implementation, operation, and maintenance must flow through the Project Team.
  • Project Team decisions must be made in a timely manner as directed by the Asset Champion
  • The Plan must be broken down into simple to implement components
  • When the Project Team meets, the Asset Champion provides a very short-term, simple action plan, often with alternative courses of action. The Asset Champion normally provides explanation to the Project Team. Through a collaborative process, the Champion guides the Project Team to make the most suitable choice. Once “go-forward” steps are determined, the Asset Champion and the Project Team leave the meeting with action points for next steps on the plan. This process is repeated many times. Through this collaborative process, the Asset Champion educates and counsels the Project Team prior to decisions being made. This encourages an atmosphere of trust and capacity building.

The preceding is not exhaustive but illustrates what can be done to simplify an infrastructure action plan. It may appear intuitive, but it is a lot of work.

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Need more help?  All organizations regardless of size ever have enough staffing resources to get everything done when it needs to be done.  Projects seem to almost magically appear at the worst of times causing other things to be pushed back creating a culture of always playing catch up.

 

One of the many privileges of IGNITE membership is instant access to experienced project personnel without the standard challenges of a temp agency.  For example, imagine something significant in your building just broke and everyone is counting on getting it resolved immediately.  Policy dictates a lengthy tendering process and project management that will consume hours that your department does not have.  As an IGNITE member you can pass all this off to an IGNITE team to address. IGNITE has processes and project models available for every scenario.  IGNITE will adhere to the unique constraints, policies, regulations, and bylaws of your public sector organization and complete the project on time and on budget.  If this sounds like music to your ears why not contact us now to find out how you can get some of your time back.

 

“Those who disrupt their industries change consumer behavior, alter economics, and transform lives.”

― Heather Simmons


As part of the MAPLE project, ADRA committed to providing financial support to the Wiikwemkoong Outdoor Adventure Leadership Experience (OALE). OALE is an intensive youth leadership preparation program designed to promote culture and community, and help youth develop resilience and well-being as protective factors for their personal growth and development.


Life Is Like A Canoe Trip from ADRA Canada

Through a ten-day, 140 kilometer canoe trip, youth learn valuable life skills such as leadership, perseverance, and the ability to work together. In the summer of 2017, the program was in dire need of specialized outdoor expedition equipment to accommodate the rough terrain of Northern Ontario. Through its charitable network, ADRA arranged and then donated a significant amount of money toward the purchase of canoes, tents, and other outdoor equipment.

Team members from ADRA not only donated money, they also donated time. An ADRA team member went on one of the canoe trips with the youth and created an amazing 30 minute video of the experience. The IGNITE Team wishes to thank ADRA for its commitment to the MAPLE Project and particularly for its generosity of time and money toward the OALE Program.

ADRA Canoe Trip on Vimeo

Rarely does an opportunity present itself that can positively change the way the world operates.   IGNITE now has an opportunity to do just that. For over 100 years, every construction project has used 110 to 347 volts to power its lighting switches, which in turn powers lights.  Certain levels of voltage can be dangerous.  To an untrained individual, a seemingly simple task of changing a light bulb can result in an accident.

As with many things, there is often a better way, and this is one of them.  With the advent of LED lighting, higher voltages can be exchanged for much lower and safer voltage levels.  LED lighting systems can be designed for 24 volts.  This voltage level is safer because it mitigates the danger of electrical shock. Lower voltage also requires lighter wire. Going to lighter wire saves resources and lowers cost for lighting installation by as much as 50%.

The world has not yet adopted this lower voltage opportunity, but the IGNITE Team has an opportunity to design and implement such a project in a new apartment complex. As it has with other infrastructure initiatives, IGNITE is creating a New Way Forward for lighting in the 21st century.

“Those who disrupt their industries change consumer behavior, alter economics,

and transform lives.”

― Heather Simmons

Congratulations to Wiikwemkoong, an IGNITE member, on its development of a long term energy plan.   Many perceive an energy plan as adopting LED lighting and energy-saving heating equipment.  That is part of it, but a complete energy plan needs to include energy use for other types of infrastructure within a community.

 

Just replacing lights will save money, but what about the long-term effects on operating costs? IGNITE believes a complete energy plan must review every aspect of how a community or organization operates. This review process inevitably finds opportunities to reduce energy costs and increase efficiencies.  Sometimes operational efficiencies include ways to simplify energy use. Simplification may include finding ways to reduce the number of lighting fixture types.

 

Through a collaborative process with Wiikwemkoong, IGNITE was able find ways to reduce the community’s use of 100 different fixture types down to less than 50.  Simplification makes maintenance easier and more cost effective because there are fewer spare parts. It also reduces service costs by simply speeding up the service process.  This simple design exercise will benefit the community for many years to come.

 

 

“You have to change your thinking if you desire to have a future different from your present.”

― Germany Kent

Prior to working with IGNITE, a member could not find a solution for its HVAC equipment at one of its facilities, which was in desperate need of replacement. They reached out to several vendors, including the manufacturer of its existing equipment, and no one would provide pricing or show any interest in the project.

Once this public sector organization became a member, it asked IGNITE to work closely with them to solve this problem. IGNITE, in collaboration with the member, managed all aspects of procurement for new equipment, and it also secured contractors to install the equipment.  It had all the equipment delivered and installed. Throughout, IGNITE was in constant communication with the member to ensure complete transparency and to ensure the member was included in all pertinent decision-making.

Besides procurement, IGNITE helped the member secure funding for the project, created and managed the project budget, and kept up-to-date project accounting. This is an example of the type of service public sector organizations are eligible to receive as members of the IGNITE Infrastructure Association.

 

“The primary focus of IGNITE is to serve its membership by delivering

attractive privileges which facilitate infrastructure renewal.”

One of the most pressing issues among public sector organizations is the development of new infrastructure funding models to modernize the way these organizations fund themselves. Funding is probably the most challenging aspect of infrastructure planning. In past years, much public infrastructure was funded through the issuance of debt instruments. With stubbornly low interest rates prevailing for much of the last 20 years, long-term debt markets are not an attractive investment. With the constrained budgets of provincial and federal governments, many public sector organizations depending on government funding need to consider other funding models, even if it means doing something new.

Considerations

When considering funding alternatives for an infrastructure asset, the Project Team must consider some or all the following variables in its analysis:

  • the size of the asset
  • the useful life of the asset
  • the length of time the asset will be kept
  • renewal or expansion of an asset
  • credit worthiness of the public sector organization
  • whether it needs to own the asset
  • how much risk the public sector organization is willing to assume

Once the Project Team has determined the funding requirements for its infrastructure plan, it can use this as a strategy to source funding. Thankfully, new sources of funding, which are eager to invest in the right type of infrastructure assets, have developed during the last several years.

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Imagine custom lights at no extra cost! Every infrastructure project has its unique challenges, which creates an opportunity for either a great story or a horror story.  One of our members was planning a lighting retrofit in their main administration building when it realized they had a problem. The member wanted completely new fixtures for the entire building, but if it replaced all the light fixtures with new ones and the new fixtures happened to be smaller than the former fixtures, then it would require painting the ceiling in nearly a hundred rooms.

Naturally the IGNITE team jumped in to find a solution.  As IGNITE views its contractors, vendors, and manufacturers as important participants in completing an infrastructure project, it collaborated with its lighting sources to find a fixture that would eliminate the need to paint. No fixture could be found that would cover the same area from anywhere across the globe, so IGNITE reached out to one of its manufacturer Resource Members to ask a favour.  The favour was to build a custom fixture and get it UL certified and DLC listed, which was no small cost or expense.  The Resource Member agreed to help and even delivered the fixture at virtually the same cost as the previously quoted units.  A special thanks from IGNITE to BJ Take Inc. for going the extra mile.

“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”

― Elon Musk

One of our member projects included reducing the electricity consumption in the local community arena.  As we collaborated with the project team, they told us it was also important to fix any electrical issues as we encountered them.

 

It’s always exciting when one of our members gets a great win, and the Arena project was a great win for the community. The Arena got amazing new lights for the entire building. This lighting retrofit reduced the annual power cost attributed to lighting by nearly 70%. By working closely with the electrical contractor and the project team, we vastly improved the lighting quality throughout, but particularly over the bleachers and ice pad.  After the lighting change, there were areas of the ice pad with at least twice as much light quality, which virtually eliminated previously dimly lit areas on the ice surface. We also worked closely with the electrical contractor to fix a few nagging electrical issues. All this was done with a neutral impact to the member’s operating budget. Feedback from the community has been very positive.

 

Taking control of aging infrastructure is a challenge for any organization. What IGNITE offers its members is a means of simplifying the process to address the present issues affecting public sector infrastructure.  IGNITE provides access to all the resources required to not only get the job done presently but to future-proof the asset by ensuring the long-term operating costs are considered for every aspect of the project.

 

“As soon as you open your mind to doing things differently, the doors of opportunity practically fly off their hinges.”

― Jay Abraham, The Sticking Point Solution


Planning for the long-term is a relatively new concept for many public sector organizations. During the last several decades, various groups have promoted its importance to organizations of all sizes. Although it is encouraging public sector organizations are becoming aware of the need for long-term planning for infrastructure, to ensure the truly, long-term success of an infrastructure plan, the Asset Champion must direct the Project Team to focus on sustainability and risk mitigation at each phase of the asset’s useful life.

Sustainability

For an infrastructure asset to be truly sustainable, it must provide significant energy, economic environmental, and educational benefits to all stakeholders associated with the asset. Sustainability goals need to be defined by the Project Team under the guidance of the Asset Champion early in the infrastructure planning process. The Asset Champion assists the Project Team to adopt and ultimately satisfy the agreed upon sustainability goals through the implementation of the organization’s infrastructure plan. Part of a sustainable asset plan must also include budgets which are predictable, affordable, and planned years in advance.

Risk Mitigation

Managing infrastructure assets involves significant risk. To ensure the success of an infrastructure plan, the Project Team must focus on managing or mitigating as much of this risk as possible. The Project Team under the direction of the Asset Champion must develop a risk mitigation strategy for all stages of the useful life of an asset. To ensure the effectiveness of a risk mitigation strategy, asset risk must continually be monitored and assessed.

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