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Mitigates PPP Risks

11 May 2011

Melbourne’s new Convention & Exhibition Centre is the world’s greenest and most sustainable venue. At the heart of its operations is Serviceworks’ QFM software supporting real-time workflow data and performance reporting

AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST COMBINED CONVENTION and exhibition facility, The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), forms the centrepiece of Melbourne's new South Wharf development. The Convention Centre offers a 5,500 seat plenary hall, a ground floor function area with the capacity for hosting 8,400 guests plus 32 meeting rooms; the Exhibition Centre provides 30,000 sq m of purpose-built clear-span exhibition space, a 450-seat auditorium and additional meeting rooms and organiser suites.
Opened in 2009, the centre set an international benchmark as the first six-star Green Star environmentally rated convention centre in the world. The centre was named the overall winner of the BPN Environ Sustainability Awards and category winner of the prestigious ‘Public Building and Urban Design’ award.
The MCEC was developed as a 25 year public private partnership (PPP) between Plenary Group and the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD), the State Government of Victoria’s agency for economic and regional development. The project involved the financing, design and construction of the new Melbourne Convention Centre (MCC) and includes the delivery of contracted services to the combined facilities of the MCEC for a period of 25 years, throughout the operations phase of the project.
Prior to the commencement of the PPP project, FM at the existing exhibition centre had been controlled using a simple asset management software tool. With the start of the new PPP project, Plenary decided to implement a new, more comprehensive solution.
As Jim Hartnett, General Manager of Plenary Conventions explains, “PPP projects are by their very nature highly scrutinised and require a transparent approach as the project company is ultimately accountable for achieving the agreed, contracted, standards.
They require a level of reporting and auditing capabilities that a straightforward FM software system cannot deliver. It was essential that the technology in place at the exhibition and convention centre was capable of handling the complex penalty regimes inherent in PPP projects, in order to guarantee the ongoing success of this landmark development.”
QFM software from Service Works Global was already being used by Plenary to successfully manage several other PPP projects across Australia, including South Australian Police and Courts and Single LEAP, the Australian Defence Force’s living accommodation project. In each project, QFM had been configured to exactly fit the unique service delivery performance terms defined within each PPP contract, as Hartnett explains.
“We had worked with Service Works Global for several years and were confident of QFM’s ability to be fully tailored to meet the requirements of PPP payment mechanisms.
There simply were no other comparable systems available in the market. QFM was the only software solution capable of fully managing the risks inherent in PPP projects."
Following a smooth configuration and installation phase, Brookfield Multiplex began using QFM to control FM activities at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in late 2008, and the project went officially live, on schedule, in January 2009, ready to support the official opening of the centre to the public in June 2009. QFM is used by Brookfield Multiplex staff to control all FM at the MCEC, from reactive maintenance, which is controlled via the facilities helpdesk, to the scheduling of planned preventative maintenance. The system contains
a full asset register, in which details of over 8,000 assets are stored. Plenary has web-based access to the QFM system, which, whilst not permitting them to make changes to data within QFM, provides Plenary with an accurate, real-time overview of performance, critical for managing their PPP contractual obligations
Under the terms of the MCEC PPP contract, there are approximately 200 FM service deliveryrelated performance parameters that Plenary must adhere to. These are split between 170 Quality Failures and 30 Failure Incidents. Each Failure Incident logged with the Help Desk has a designated response and rectification time, which is driven by the severity of the incident and the location within the exhibition and convention centre. For example, a spillage within a busy, public foyer would have a much shorter rectification time than a broken light bulb in a rarely-used storage area. Failure to meet the designated timeframes reflects upon Plenary’s contractual obligations and could lead to potential business-critical and costly abatements.
Pivotal role
QFM plays a pivotal role in managing these deadlines and mitigating this risk. Reactive maintenance requests are logged by Brookfield Multiplex’s Help Desk staff directly into QFM.
Details about the reactive maintenance request including the location, service group and priority, known as ‘service failure level’, are selected from a range of pre-defined drop down options in QFM. This information drives predefined response and rectification times, which are directly linked to the PPP performance parameters defined in Plenary’s contract with the State Government of Victoria.
Jim Hartnett comments, “QFM’s inherent flexibility means that the software can be moulded to fit the complex terms of any PPP contract. No other system was capable of recording service requests and then fully integrating them with specific performance parameters. QFM plays a pivotal role in incorporating the management of the abatement risk in daily Help Desk activities at the MCEC."
Brookfield Multiplex is kept aware of impending deadlines via QFM’s Event Director tool, a job escalation management tool which centralises real-time job information via one graphical screen. Within the MCEC Project, this tool is known as the Request Director, utilising the ability within QFM to tailor standard fieldnames to ensure relevance to the environment in which the system operates. A large screen within the Help Desk office displays the QFM Request Director at all times. Intelligent ‘traffic light’ colour coding within Request Director displays a live count down for jobs; those that are approaching their deadline are highlighted in amber and those that are overdue are highlighted in red. When a job reaches the amber stage, if required, Brookfield Multiplex can apply for an extension of time or apply a temporary fix.
Hartnett explained that, “The Request Director allows Brookfield Multiplex to constantly monitor KPI performance and intercept, escalate and action potential issues before they arise. In the event of a time extension being required, an automated output template is e-mailed to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust (MCET) Contract Administration team for review and electronic sign off. The entire process takes no more than 15 minutes from start to finish. The Extension of Time request form was developed specifically for the MCEC; this has allowed us to reduce typical approval time from 45 minutes to 15 minutes, representing an administrative time saving of over 60 percent.”
Real time
According to Steve Moses, Contract Manager at Brookfield Multiplex who explains, “QFM supports our delivery of world-class service by providing valuable real-time workflow data and performance reporting. QFM’s reporting functionalities are highly customisable, and can be easily tailored to suit our often changing priorities.”
Jim Hartnett concurs saying, “The MCEC welcomes tens of thousands of visitors per annum. For some people the venue may be one of the few sites they visit when they come to Melbourne and it is therefore essential that it meets with their highest expectations. Every aspect of the visitor experience, from maintaining comfortable temperatures in conference rooms through to the cleanliness standards within the building is underpinned by QFM. From Plenary’s perspective, QFM enables us to maintain a productive and mutually supportive relationship with Brookfield Multiplex. Because QFM is specifically aligned to the parameters within the PPP contract, it allows us to effectively manage the abatement risk.
This has contributed to the fact that not one penalty fee has been incurred since the centre opened.”
He concludes, “QFM allows us to take the facilities management reporting of the MCEC PPP project to the next level. It demonstrates the efficiency of Plenary’s operational management capabilities and provides complete transparency to all stakeholders. We have complete confidence in QFM’s ability to meet and manage our contractual PPP reporting obligations and as a result, Plenary now uses QFM for the management of all of our operating Australian PPP contracts.”

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