Some Lessons for Indian Metro Projects from the Nagpur Metro:
The Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MahaMetro) recently reported that the Nagpur Metro project was completed in a record time of 27 months. That’s not the only feather in its cap. Nagpur Metro is being regarded as the greenest metro system in India.
There’s no doubt that the Nagpur Metro project stands as the perfect example for megaprojects in India and the rest of the world. So, what are the lessons we can learn?
Factors that contributed to the successful completion of the project:
1. Effectiveness of consultation with stakeholders: This is a public infrastructure project first and last. It’s critical to make room for the role of the public to ensure success. From the conceptualization stage, the communication between the project leaders and the public should be strong. The public should understand the plans, the benefits to them, and the likely hardships they may encounter along the construction phase. No project of this size is trouble-free. Having the public in the project’s corner when the inevitable problems surface can be a critical advantage. This facet was one of the most significant characteristics of the Nagpur Metro project.
2. Use of technology: The power of BIM was used by Nagpur metro to make the construction of the metro more secure, faster, and qualitatively better. This helped the team plan better, be more efficient with resource utilization, collaborate better, and prevent avoidable clashes and rework. This was key to being able to deliver a fast, efficient, and on-budget project.
BIM has not only been available and beneficial during construction but will play an equally important role in the operation & maintenance phase of the project. It has effectively addressed the massive document management challenge for the project. Nagpur Metro project is the first such effort in India to adopt the 5D BIM technology by incorporating ERP with BIM and various world-class software for project management. The single source of truth provided by the BIM platform enabled the entire team of Nagpur Metro rail project to get the right data at the right time for productive decision making.
3. Intensive tracking and monitoring: Projects of this size are never lacking for the involvement of experts with experience in railway and other metro projects. The challenge has often been, how to make the best use of their expertise? How to ensure that their expertise is called upon just when it is likely to have the maximum impact? This is where BIM helped by providing the project managers transparent visibility into the real-time status of the project at all times. Regular tracking of work undertaken by the consultants and workers was scheduled. This provided clear visibility of likely problems in time for action to be taken to mitigate their impact. Expert help could be proactively pulled in to offer fixes or workarounds before the problem got out of hand. This also made it possible to communicate the issues and the solutions to all the involved parties well in time. This also contributed to `bridging the communication gap and accelerating the tasks.
The Nagpur metro is a great example of quality, effectiveness, efficiency, and speed. It got that way by utilizing globally tested digital technologies, latest construction tools and techniques, green initiatives, and the passion and skills of its employees. Nagpur Metro Rail Project was planned, designed, and executed with many innovative and unique features.
1. A multi-layered metro project: Nagpur Metro is a multi-layered metro with India’s first four-layer transport system. The continuous and ongoing work of the flyovers, roads, highways and the metro are coming up in a similar vertical space. The three and four-layer transport framework will be a modern wonder when completed.
2. Greenest metro in India: The sustainable solutions used in developing the Nagpur metro makes it the greenest metro in India. 65% of the energy requirements of the Nagpur Metro project are met from the solar panels attached on the rooftop of the metro rail, depot boundary walls, stations, depot shed, etc. The energy generated from the system is also added back to the grid and the power required is drawn from local sources. The project also recycles every single drop of water it uses.
3. Fastest completed project: The Nagpur Metro project is the fastest completed project of its type. The project foundation was laid in 2015 and the trial runs were held within just 27 months. This is an unprecedented pace for such a massive project.
4. Ratings: All stations, administrative buildings, and depots have been planned and designed to achieve maximum rating from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). All Green Norms are being implemented and observed for energy & water efficiency, enhanced comfort, wastewater management, and 100% segregation of waste at source.
The project has admirable sustainable and economic features baked into it right from its inception phase. And that is perhaps the biggest lesson to learn from it. Laurels are not achieved by accident. They have to be planned for, the details pored over and then transformed into reality with lots of effort and teamwork. I’m fortunate to have been a part of this path-breaking project. And I don’t think I will ever tire of saying that!