The Warren Centre and TransGrid work on professional performance and innovation

Sydney, 7 May 2014 – TransGrid and The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering have joined forces to try and find innovative ways in which to lift performance outcomes in all areas of engineering in this country.

One of Australia’s major electricity transmission networks, TransGrid is a key player in The Warren Centre’s Professional Performance, Innovation and Risk (PPIR™) project.

The project is now in Phase 3 – and its ultimate aim is to achieve widespread adoption of the PPIR™ change plan across Australian engineering platforms.

“In the last two decades there has been a dramatic shift in the commercial and professional contexts in which professional engineers operate,” said Christine Kanellakis, Director PPIR™ and a co-author of the PPIR™ report.

This shift is due to a range of issues, including the complexity of commercial relationships between professional engineers and their clients.

“These associations have also become far too legalistic and less responsive to the engineering task and client expectations,” she said.

The Warren Centre also argues that the community has come to have unrealistic expectations about engineering risk and real-life risk management has become subordinate to risk segmentation and allocation.

“Insurance underwriters find it difficult to understand the risks as presented and to accurately assess the exposure of those involved in engineering projects,” she added.

TransGrid has piloted the PPIR™ Protocol for Performance with the System Planning and Analysis team under the guidance of Nalin Pahalawaththa.

Jim Liang is part of TransGrid’s PPIR™ delivery team – and his role includes facilitating and overseeing the pilot.
“Engineers these days spend quite a lot of time dealing with the consequences of risk issues, consequently there is less opportunity for applying new engineering knowledge and considering engineering innovation – we need to find a happy medium,” Mr Liang said.

“We are very excited to be a part of this program led by The Warren Centre and hope it can ultimately lead to positive outcomes for engineering practices in this country,” he added.

The Warren Centre agrees that while there are generally accepted and well-defined sets of ethical and competency standards in engineering, there is a missing link in that there is no standard of professional performance in engineering. The PPIR™ Program and the PPIR™ Protocols aim to fill this need.

As part of the communications in the PPIR™ project, there is a PPIR™ LinkedIn page where PPIR™ members are urged to post information on the progress of pilots and other relevant work they are undertaking.

The Warren Centre is an engineering think tank at the University of Sydney which fosters excellence and innovation in advanced engineering throughout Australia. It is an independent body. It uses robust, collaborative processes together with its extensive networks in academia, industry and government to find solutions and answer questions in an increasing complex economic, technical and social environment.

TransGrid has been an integral part of delivering electricity to the people of New South Wales (NSW) for more than 60 years. It owns and operates one of the largest high-voltage transmission networks in Australia, up to 12,800 kilometres of transmission line and more than 90 substations, connecting generators distributors and major end-users in NSW and the ACT and also has links to Queensland and Victoria, facilitating interstate energy trading. Its operations are closely regulated to ensure power system security and TransGrid’s aim is to provide a safe, reliable, efficient and world-class electricity supply from power generators to distributors, which then deliver the electricity to homes across the state.

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