Benefits of High Speed Rail project exaggerated, secret report reveals

ugly

LE
Moderator
I was interviewed for one of the hs2 tree removal jobs. The plan is to plant more than is removed, strangely when the A21 was recently widened more trees were permanently lost than will be under Hs2.
Strange game.
 
Given the (obvious) complexity of achieving a suitable design and delivering it, any cost estimates (necessarily completed on very sparse information and many rules of thumb) were always going to be very wide of the mark. There is a fallacy in massive infrastructure projects where the initial cost estimate is loaded with unmerited significance. The question of ‘why do big projects exceed their cost estimates ?’ Is a fascinating topic but is as much about estimating methods as project management / delivery. The best managed project ever will be over budget if the budget is flawed and the more complex the project, the more likely that is to be the case.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Given the (obvious) complexity of achieving a suitable design and delivering it, any cost estimates (necessarily completed on very sparse information and many rules of thumb) were always going to be very wide of the mark. There is a fallacy in massive infrastructure projects where the initial cost estimate is loaded with unmerited significance. The question of ‘why do big projects exceed their cost estimates ?’ Is a fascinating topic but is as much about estimating methods as project management / delivery. The best managed project ever will be over budget if the budget is flawed and the more complex the project, the more likely that is to be the case.
Indeed, 20 years ago I would spend 2 million on a small resignalling where most work was managed from the back of a van.
At the same time a civils project for the same amount would be loaded with additional costs for welfare and temp site accommodation. We have lost the ability to borrow a room and deliver a project within budget and timescale.
 
Given the (obvious) complexity of achieving a suitable design and delivering it, any cost estimates (necessarily completed on very sparse information and many rules of thumb) were always going to be very wide of the mark. There is a fallacy in massive infrastructure projects where the initial cost estimate is loaded with unmerited significance. The question of ‘why do big projects exceed their cost estimates ?’ Is a fascinating topic but is as much about estimating methods as project management / delivery. The best managed project ever will be over budget if the budget is flawed and the more complex the project, the more likely that is to be the case.
The estimating process should be iterative.

In the early stages, there will be massive risk priced in around every work package. As the project progresses, the risks should become known and managed: price should come down from budget.

But those who hold the purse strings don’t want uncertainty; they want fixed estimates far earlier than they can realistically be developed. Present a budget with a 100% risk allowance and it will get thrown out.

So budgets are never feasible; it’s not in the interests of the approving authority to present a realistic budget.

End of the day, how many projects get pulled after start?
 
I was interviewed for one of the hs2 tree removal jobs. The plan is to plant more than is removed, strangely when the A21 was recently widened more trees were permanently lost than will be under Hs2.
Strange game.
The clue lies in the word 'ancient' - I'm guessing no amount of new planting will make up for the loss of trees that date back to the time of (say) Robin Hood (many/most[?]) of which went for a ball of chalk starting when 'Enery the Eighth was fostering a navy made of entirely of oak)
 
Last edited:

ugly

LE
Moderator
The clue lies in the word 'ancient' - I'm guessing no amount of new planting will make up for the loss of trees that date back to the time of (say) Robin Hood (many/most[?] of which went for a ball of chalk starting when 'Enery the Eighth was fostering a navy made of entirely of oak)
The trees at most will be 200 years old, the woodland itself is ancient. Thrre are many rules that are followed to class woodland as ancient and many categories of ancient including managed. I used to look after an ancient managed wood where no tree was over 30 years old and those were coppice on rotation. In fact there are possibly more ancient Woodlands with trees no older than me in existence than ones with trees of over 300 years age.
The older a tree the less value to the land owner after it passes maturity.
Woodlands are there to be used, harvested and replanted. The fact that it takes hundreds if years to do so escapes most peoples attention. The woodland floor is unique and evolving however if it's not a managed wood it dies off under brambles in no time at all.
 
The trees at most will be 200 years old, the woodland itself is ancient. Thrre are many rules that are followed to class woodland as ancient and many categories of ancient including managed. I used to look after an ancient managed wood where no tree was over 30 years old and those were coppice on rotation. In fact there are possibly more ancient Woodlands with trees no older than me in existence than ones with trees of over 300 years age.
The older a tree the less value to the land owner after it passes maturity.
Woodlands are there to be used, harvested and replanted. The fact that it takes hundreds if years to do so escapes most peoples attention. The woodland floor is unique and evolving however if it's not a managed wood it dies off under brambles in no time at all.
But now you open the can of worms of returning extinct species to the woodland to ''manage'' the brambles et al. It must be a fascinating but fraught subject.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
One recent issue was wild boar and the damage they cause, to be honest we only really lose the very new stuff, new growth etc.
The reality is however that it all regenerates so it's only gone for a season or two.
The same applies to muntjac, eventually they will destroy the under understory in the woods and move on, they do however self regulate by being territorial so forcing new offspring to move away and colonise less suitable areas until they have destroyed that area or forced their own offspring to move on.
It's a cycle and one that we often dont recognise as happening completely in our own lifetimes.
 
they do however self regulate by being territorial so forcing new offspring to move away and colonise less suitable areas
Probably explains why twice last week I saw a young'un on the same stretch of grass verge of a residential street in downtown Buckingham, as I headed for work at sun-up :)
 
Last edited:

ugly

LE
Moderator
I can’t understand how we used to build railways quicker with pick and shovels.
The railway bit is built and ready it’s the cowboys who bodged the stations which have caused the problems
 

Latest Threads

Top