Infrastructure Engineering - Research Publications

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    Evaluating uncertainties to deliver enhanced service performance in education PPPs: a hierarchical reliability framework
    Geng, L ; Herath, N ; Hui, FKP ; Liu, X ; Duffield, C ; Zhang, L (EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD, 2022-06-20)
    Purpose This study aims to develop a hierarchical reliability framework to evaluate the service delivery performance of education public–private partnerships (PPPs) effectively and efficiently during long-term operations. Design/methodology/approach The research design included development and test phases. In the development phase, three performance layers, i.e. indicator, component and system, in the education service delivery system were identified. Then, service component reliability was computed through first order reliability method (FORM). Finally, the reliability of the service system was obtained using dynamic component weightings. A PPP school example in Australia was set up in the test phase, where performance indicators were collected from relevant contract documents and performance data were simulated under three assumptive scenarios. Findings The example in the test phase yielded good results for the developed framework in evaluating uncertainties of service delivery performance for education PPPs. Potentially underperforming services from the component to the system level at dynamic timepoints were identified, and effective preventative maintenance strategies were developed. Research limitations/implications This research enriches reliability theory and performance evaluation research on education PPPs. First, a series of performance evaluation indicators are constructed for assessing the performance of the service delivery of the education PPP operations. Then, a reliability-based framework for service components and system is developed to predict service performance of the PPP school operations with consideration of a range of uncertainties during project delivery. Practical implications The developed framework was illustrated with a real-world case study. It demonstrates that the developed reliability-based framework could potentially provide the practitioners of the public sector with a basis for developing effective preventative maintenance strategies with the aim of prolonging the service life of the PPP schools. Originality/value Evaluating education PPPs is challenging as it involves long-term measurement of various service components under uncertainty. The developed reliability-based framework is a valuable tool to ensure that reliability is maintained throughout the service life of education PPPs in the presence of uncertainty.
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    Applying SDGs as a systematic approach for incorporating sustainability in higher education
    Rajabifard, A ; Kahalimoghadam, M ; Lumantarna, E ; Herath, N ; Hui, FKP ; Assarkhaniki, Z (EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD, 2021-06-10)
    Purpose The achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) for all communities and jurisdictions require a comprehensive roadmap that encompasses all dimensions of data infrastructure, social, economic, environmental and governance ecosystems. With this in mind, this paper aims to establish the link between the curriculum and intended learning outcomes of undergraduate and postgraduate subjects offered by the University and sustainability. This study is a part of a wider university strategy to embed sustainability knowledge and values in the university curricula. The 17 SDGs developed as a part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainability Development was used as tool to measure and map how the subjects are linked with sustainability. Design/methodology/approach To incorporate sustainability into the curriculum, this paper developed an interdisciplinary approach for analysing the interconnection between the SDGs, the expected subject learning points and the relevant aspects of sustainability (geospatial information, the legal, policies and institutional components). As part of the approach, in the first phase of the study, qualitative data were collected through a review of published information on the SDGs and the content of the subjects available in the subject handbook. Subject codes were assigned to the keywords and key phrases extracted from the SDGs and the subject content, and then compared and matched to establish the link between the subjects and the SDGs. Six university schools offering over 2,157 subjects were investigated. In the second phase, a survey was conducted involving subject coordinators with the purpose of validating the findings of the first phase and determining the strength of the linkages between the subjects and the SDGs. In the third phase, a plugin was designed to be used in the digital twin platform developed in the UoM, allowing visualisation of the research outcomes. Findings Based on the interim findings, it was found that some subjects within the schools are linked to more than one SDG. However, not all of the subjects within the schools can be linked to the SDGs. There is a scope of improvement for embedding sustainability in more subjects within the schools. Some of the schools were also found to have weak linkages with sustainability, which demonstrate the challenge in technical subjects in linking their subject contents with sustainability. Originality/value This study provides a methodology which enables the integration of sustainability into current state of the curricula at the university to be established. Further, with the advancement of geospatial technology and new visualisation opportunities through the use of the digital twin platform provides capabilities to communicate the outcomes of sustainability and involvement of each faculties and departments more effectively to the university community and wider stakeholders.
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    Reliability-Based Decision Support Framework for Major Changes to Social Infrastructure PPP Contracts
    Geng, L ; Herath, N ; Zhang, L ; Kin Peng Hui, F ; Duffield, C (MDPI AG, 2020)
    In the operational phase of public-private partnership (PPP) contracts, undue delay in addressing real needs may lead to poor service outcomes; conversely, commencing variations to a PPP agreement on the whim of end-user runs the risk of reducing the value created by detailed structuring and considerations undertaken in establishing agreement. This difficulty is exasperated as there is generally a lack of understanding by the end-user as to the specifics of service delivery performance requirements contracted. In order to address this question, this study, for the first time, develops a reliability-based decision support framework (RDSF) that incorporates end-user’s perceived service quality (i.e., how satisfied it is with the space, operation and maintenance activities) with those specified in the PPP agreement, and further identifies when the gap between end-user’s expectations and contractual obligations warrants reconsideration. This developed framework is then implemented to test the data gathered from three PPP schools in Australia based on both a current snapshot of performance data, i.e., abatements as gathered through contract documents and end-user’s perception through in-depth interviews, and a projected scenario of the future as well. Reliability analysis used here compares time-dependent risk profiles of current and expected performance and thereby identifies major changes in a PPP contract that would sensibly require reconsideration. The specific results indicate there is no current difficulty between end-user’s perception and the contract. However, the projected long-term scenario demonstrates how the decision framework can identify areas for review and changes if end-users are more dissatisfied with the service being achieved. The RDSF is capable of quantifying current service performance, considering the engagement of the end-user. Thus it enriches theories in the field of performance management system (PMS), and also contributes to knowledge regarding an evidence-based test for justifying possible agreement modifications or additional works in social PPPs operations. In addition, guidance for performance improvement strategies in aspects of the dissatisfied area is also provided. Application of this approach would assist in maintaining the long-term value for money of social infrastructure PPP agreements.