26 February 2019

Case study: Benchmarking tunnelling costs and production rates in the UK

Written by Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) UK
26 February 2019

This paper describes a recent re-benchmarking exercise carried out in 2018. It sets out the methodology adopted, the results, and recommendations for their future use. The benchmarks were created after a new top-down benchmarking methodology, which will be used to encourage better and more consistent benchmarking across infrastructure projects among both government departments and client organisations. The exercise described in this document successfully explored and tested that methodology. Benchmarking is the process by which the costs, schedule, benefits and performance of a project are evaluated by comparison against a common standard derived from similar projects. The exercise has helped create a UK government-approved top-down benchmarking methodology for infrastructure which brings in a level of consistency in the assumptions. Following the exercise, participants have been able to enhance their own benchmarking and decision making capabilities by enriching the information and analysis provided with their own data.

As part of the Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) programme, the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) is developing a new top-down benchmarking methodology, which will be used to encourage better and more consistent benchmarking across infrastructure projects among both government departments and client organisations. The exercise described in this document successfully explored and tested that methodology.

In September 2018, in collaboration with the British Tunnelling Society (BTS), a tunnelling forum was held as a pilot to help formulate the methodology. Tunnels were chosen as they have been successfully benchmarked in the past and allow effective testing of the IPA’s methodology. Industry stakeholders from multiple sectors came together to share information on tunnelling costs, with additional data provided directly from a range of departments, sponsors and programmes which are involved in tunnelling activities.

Following the exercise, participants have been able to enhance their own benchmarking and decision making capabilities by enriching the information and analysis provided with their own data.

Publication Date: 09.2018