Infrastructure channel - RICS

RICS’ isurv Infrastructure channel is the only market resource to offer leading edge information on the major life cycle stages of an infrastructure project

Tapping into the knowledge of senior industry experts including major clients, consultants and contractors, isurv Infrastructure brings together what you need to understand the issues and constraints any project can face.

Infrastructure projects tend by their nature to be high cost and high risk. Public and private financing arrangements can be very complex, as are the various aspects of commercial management, programme management and planning. The fallout from expensive failures, together with the obvious economic challenges of recent years, have ensured continued constraints on financial resources and that infrastructure provision remains politicised. Add this to the issues of media scrutiny and public safety, and the high level of exposure associated with ‘not getting it right’ quickly becomes clear.

The Infrastructure channel follows a clear structure and begins with a high-level overview of core areas – such as defining infrastructure and outlining the various forms of physical infrastructure at different spatial scales. It also details technical requirements across certain modes of transport and water and drainage. It moves on to cover other essential areas such as contracts and commercial management, design, procurement and asset management. In recent years there has been increasing recognition of the essential role of so-called ‘soft’ skills in ensuring successful project delivery. In the channel taxonomy, this is reflected in brand new sections on Stakeholder engagement and Project and programme controls. Learning the lessons of unsuccessful projects is also addressed in this context.

A broad overview of the main areas covered by the channel is shown in the video below.

Overall, the channel is aimed at professionals working in the infrastructure sector, although it should be noted that content is angled towards a business management perspective. Civil engineers, for example, may require more detailed sources of design information.

Business benefits

This information can support you with professional and legal compliance; preparing bid and tender documents and providing leading edge advice to clients.

• Improving your reputation;

• Client retention;

• New business acquisition strategies.

Introduction to isurv Infrastructure

This section aims to help the uninitiated better understand some of the technical aspects of different areas. It is hoped that it goes some way towards demystifying what might appear to be opaque terminology.

Technical requirements

The technical requirements for infrastructure projects exist to define acceptable standards within the finished product. Such requirements are presented in different ways and will reflect the specific nature of the project. This section addresses the technical nuances of different types of infrastructure. However, there are also broad objectives that cover technical requirements in general, and this introduction will present an overview of them.

This is a very broad subject area as almost every aspect of a single piece of infrastructure will be covered by a technical requirement in some respect – from the aviation envelopes for aircraft flight around a tall structure, down to the type of grass seed to be used for landscaping an embankment. Broadly the drivers for technical requirements ensure that infrastructure is: safe to build, use and operate; fit for purpose and built to defined standards of quality and durability; and built and managed to standards that allow its owners and operators to be legally compliant.

The technical requirements will be presented in the drawings and other design output as well as the specification for a project. They can also exist indirectly through the need to adhere to ‘current best practice’. (That is more tenuous though, and explicit definition is generally the aim when producing documents). There are a myriad of legislation, codes and standards, advice notes, etc. that can become elements of the overarching requirements referred to in a specification. Then there are the project specific requirements that will be the focus of the documentation. The following sections consider broad areas of the technical requirements to give a feel for where they come from, what they are for and how they manifest themselves.


BIM (Building Information Modelling or Building Information Model) brings into play the collaborative use of digital technologies in the design and construction of projects. Many infrastructure projects have used BIM and reaped benefits from it, and it is now a requirement of projects centrally funded by government. As far as technical requirements are concerned, the specification for BIM and adherence to it is now a key part of major projects.

The case for BIM, as given by the government’s BIM Task Group is:

‘The rich 3D experience; digital simulations; rehearsals of all stages of the design, build and operate process; and the information within the models facilitate well-informed decision making resulting in better business outcomes, clarity, improved communication, de-risking and ultimately better efficiency’.

Thus we are all encouraged to embrace BIM. See also the related RICS guidance the International BIM implementation guide.

You can continue reading the technical aspects of infrastructure projects in Ian Draycott’s section, Technical Requirements for Infrastructure Projects on the isurv Infrastructure channel.

Further information:
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