John Holland – Melbourne Metro Tunnel – Asset Management Safety in Design

  1. Summary of Project

John Holland (JH) is the asset manager for the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project station and tunnel facilities. The project will deliver and operate nine-kilometre twin tunnels under the CBD together with five new underground stations which will be maintained over a 24-year term.

JH’s asset management team in the Cross Yarra Partnership (CYP) consortium have significant focus on safety in design, ensuring the project is constructed to enable the safe operation and maintenance of the assets. The design phase of the project is substantively complete and incorporates safer maintenance approaches with our application of whole-life asset management principles.

  • Description of Project  

The scope of works undertaken by CYP includes tunnelling works, five underground stations, station fit-out, mechanical and electrical systems, and asset management services over the 24-year term for the infrastructure delivered. JH is the Asset Management Services (AMS) provider for the CYP consortium.

JH AMS’ role during design and construction is to provide input to the design process and optimise maintenance and renewal activities to produce the best through life value for the Project. This includes consideration of safe-working implications of design decisions, applying asset management principles and understanding maintenance methodologies for supplied works. These methodologies must account for the high availability requirements of the railway network and limited time windows in which maintenance can be performed.

Use of Best Practice Asset Management Principles

A team of operation and asset management specialists were co-located with the design team to review design documentation from the concept stage which had benefits in developing solutions which supported maintenance and allowed the service to be delivered in line with the targets of the services specification. The Service Specification targets are supported by key requirements in the Project Specifications and Technical Requirements (PS&TR) which defines requirements for access, availability and replacement.

Safety and Performance Output Focus

The key output focus was the safe performance of all maintenance and lifecycle activities managing constraints around the critical asset requirements to operate the railway or otherwise working within the weekday four hour After Last Before First (ALBF) train period required by the Services Specification. Certain systems, such as Tunnel Ventilation System (TVS), also have constraints for rail safety during the maintenance windows as trains are used within the tunnels for maintenance and require operational safety systems.

Asset Management Safety Assurance

The level of assurance achieved by the review process can be demonstrated by three key examples of safety and maintenance benefits implemented during the design process:

1.     Station Platform End Plantroom Access

Initial designs incorporated access to the platform end plantrooms from the tunnel maintenance walkway at all stations. This requires access to the operating rail corridor and associated safety risks. A simple circuit breaker trip investigation would have required suspension of service and access in accordance with Rail Safety Guidelines or deferring the work to night ALBF periods.

The JHG Team were able to work with the Design and Construction (D&C) Team to change the layout to allow free access from back of house areas without requiring rail corridor access, eliminating the safety risks associated, the limitation on maintenance activity time, and the potential impact on services. The early stage at which this was identified also reduced the impact of the modification on the program and avoided the cost of physical changes.   

2.     Tunnel Ventilation System Fan Access

Initial designs included multiple fans installed in the plenum space, preventing maintenance activity during operations but also requiring additional controls outside of daily operations as consideration needs to be made for rail corridor and TVS maintenance. These limitations led to a likely requirement to perform maintenance on a unit over multiple shifts, increasing the likelihood of maintenance issues.

The JH asset team requested the risk be eliminated by housing the main fans in separate compartments. With suitable blanking plates installed to eliminate the risk this would allow maintenance and replacement to take place safely around the clock, utilising system redundancy. This initiative required assessment and redesign of 30 fan installations worked through in the Maintenance Working Group representing all stakeholders, eliminating a significant risk to staff and increased availability by reducing maintenance times.

3.     Under-platform Access (Confined Spaces)

As design progressed the massing of the services at height detracted from the desired architectural feel and the under-platform space began to be utilised. The under-platform area isn’t traditionally an accessible space, with additional works required to make remove confined spaces.

An analysis was carried out to establish the maintenance tasks that would be required, the time that temporary access would be required and the time/cost implications of the approach. This highlighted the inefficiency of the Engineering Control approach to the Maintenance Working Group and the risk was eliminated by redesigning the under-platform area as a habitable space.

Degree of originality

As an operator and maintainer of rail networks, including shareholdings in Metro Trains Melbourne, Metro Trains Sydney, Canberra Metro, and Torrens Connect (Adelaide Trams), JH AMS was uniquely positioned to understand and input on asset management and facility aspects of the project in conjunction with considerations for rail and WHS safety matters.

Our approach included the initial appointment of a Services Director with extensive knowledge of rail operations and Technical Integration Leads with extensive PPP design and delivery experience early into the project, with a larger complement that envisaged at tender phase.

The initial team has grown as the project has progressed and now includes dedicated staff with OH&S, Commercial, Maintenance Scheduling, Procurement and Documentation Development. Prior to these dedicated employees joining, JH supported the project team using corporate resources with strong knowledge of project assets and environment.

Project Management

JH has reviewed approximately 50,000 documents and 750 Design Packages resulting in almost 9,000 comments raised covering attributes of the long-term operability and maintainability of the stations and tunnels covering extensive safety items that were raised and solved. JH has monitored, reviewed, and updated these comments through the design iterations and package revisions.

A Maintenance Working Group Chaired by the Project Company was convened to determine the best project outcomes based on through life benefit for both the 24-year maintenance term and the full life of the assets which will serve Melbourne for over 100 years.

Benefit/Value of the project

Overall, the design changes have eliminated and mitigated risks to staff, including additional work in the rail corridor and confined space entry. They have also reduced risks to the asset by providing more time for maintenance in normal hours and eliminating work across shifts, which will translate into more asset uptime and increased availability of the Rail Service to the community.

  • Opinion as to specific contribution made by the nominated team/organisation

The JH team applying asset management and safety principles were instrumental in the early identification of issues during the design phase permitting improved whole-of-life outcomes for the built infrastructure. The investment of key experienced asset managers and maintenance professionals above the allocations in our tender for the project have resulted in improved whole-of-life outcomes including safer, more efficient maintenance operations.

JH Asset Management Services (AMS) had the opportunity to be heavily involved in the Design Review Process with the D&C contractor. JH AMS has been involved and focussed from concept through to Certified Design across all aspects of the project. JH implemented a strong and focussed team to drive whole-of-life outcomes, with safety a key focus.

It would not be possible to make through-life improvements due to the inclusion of asset managers, once the construction was complete. This is an advantage of the asset manager involvement through the full process which does not occur regularly in D&C contracts.

The full scope of the asset lifecycle including the tension between capital cost and operational costs were evaluated through regular and robust interactions with D&C and stakeholders in the Maintenance Working Group. This evaluation is a key aspect of the asset management lifecycle that often does not have the required emphasis.

The JH team’s asset management contribution in design phase can be summarised as:

  • Inclusion of the operational phase asset manager in the design process
  • Inclusion of bid team members in the design phase
  • Early review of concept design to identify issues at the earliest point reducing the impact of design changes
  • Analysis of issues from a whole of life perspective to support decision making inclusive of D&C and the ultimate owner
  • Tracking of comments through all design phases
  • Formation of a Maintenance Working Group to analyse overall outcomes and reach consensus.
  • Ongoing representation at commissioning activities to identify emergent safety issues
  • Preparation for operational phase approaches and development of safety processes 
  • General comments

JH is strongly committed to safety with our Global Mandatory Safety Requirements (GMRs) applying to all our projects. The GMRs apply across the entire project lifecycle and must be considered during the pre-contracts, delivery and completion phases of all projects.  They have been developed to provide a clear and concise point of reference for key risks, and are mandatory for all John Holland personnel, contractors, subcontractors, JV partners, and visitors at workplaces where the John Holland Management System is used.

JH’s GMRs and employee commitments are included in the accompanying attachments.

The tunnel ventilation fans are large mechanical/electrical equipment integral to the safe railway operation. An example of an end of line fan installed in included in the image below.

Figure 1: End of line tunnel ventilation fan installation

Figure 2: John Holland CYP Asset Management Team

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