Case Study

SA Water finds consistency and assurance with Benchmark Estimating

January 11, 2022

A reliance on spreadsheets led to less-than-optimal cost estimating outcomes for SA Water’s River Murray Operations team. Hear how they sought a solution which would allow them to improve their estimating capability

SA Water delivers essential water and sewerage services to more than 1.8 million South Australians. They employ more than 1,500 people across a broad range of disciplines and operate more than $14 billion of assets. SA Water manages water services across South Australia and works to provide water services - safe and clean drinking water and waste removal and treatment - to more than 1.7 million customers. They are a major employer in South Australia, with over 15,000 employees.

About the River Murray

The River Murray is vital to life and development in South Australia, and SA Water plays an important role through the management of Locks One to Nine, on behalf of the Murray- Darling Basin Authority. The Murray is also a vital source of water for communities across the state, with multiple water supply systems drawing from the river. Three major pipelines supply treated water from the River Murray to various communities as well as supplementing metropolitan Adelaide’s reservoirs via two raw water major pipelines.

The Challenge

Historically, SA Water River Murray Operations were conducting their cost estimates using a range of methods, mostly relying on spreadsheets. They did not have formal auditing in place nor a consistent estimating approach, leading to inconsistencies and varied outcomes to the estimate. It was agreed there was a need to change from using a range of estimating methods and processes to one consistent estimating approach, where a library of estimates could be used to facilitate this. An independent audit of processes regarding budgets was undertaken which acknowledged the estimating issues. This provided a key impetus there was a need to provide assurance of consistent outcomes.

The Decision

A review of commercial off the shelf packages was undertaken, with Benchmark Estimating meeting SA Water’s – Murray River Operations’ key requirements:

  • An easy-to-use interface;
  • Routines library for parametric estimating;
  • A solution which included items, resources and sections as key functionalities, allowing estimates to be completed quickly and consistently;
  • The ability to use old estimates, update and update them with revised resource costs.

The Outcome

Following the implementation and use of Benchmark’s estimating solution, SA Water has improved confidence in their estimating and has assurance of resource costs and outcomes being within budget.

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