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Professor Denise Bower

Areas of expertise
Strategic infrastructure advisory; project and programme management; capital programme planning reviews; procurement strategies; institutional capability development
408 School of Civil Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
School of Civil Engineering

Application of the Infrastructure Routemap and Intelligent Client Attributes: Denise worked as expert consultant with a variety of major infrastructure clients to apply the Infrastructure Procurement Routemap in conjunction with IUK. The Routemap encapsulates a common sense approach in a simple set of tools. It provides an objective assessment of the complexity of the organisation and delivery environment and also of the capability of the sponsor, client and supply chain. The identification of any misalignment between this output and the critical success factors, key risks and opportunities can be identified allowing sponsors and clients to make more informed procurement decisions. This is important because no single procurement model can be said to provide the optimum outcome for the wide range of types of infrastructure projects and programmes that exist. The effectiveness of procurement decision-making is based on selecting the correct approach to risk allocation and understanding and managing the multitude of factors that affect the complexity of the delivery environment, particularly in the infrastructure sector. Choosing a procurement strategy with little or no understanding of capability requirements will rarely result in an efficient outcome. Sponsors and clients must therefore recognise their own strengths and limitations, identify skills gaps and, more importantly, implement an improvement programme before embarking on a complex procurement and delivery planning activities.

The Routemap is not intended to be prescriptive; rather it is a reflective process. It does not lead to a single solution, but ensures that the "right‟ questions are asked at the critical junctures in the project or programme lifecycle and that the key risks attributed to the delivery approach are identified. IUK and the University of Leeds have unlocked an approach to informed decision-making that points to a step change in the delivery of major projects. The Routemap promises enormous benefits, not just in cost savings but also in ease of delivery, long term collaborations and knowledge transfer, up-skilling, reduced tendering costs and a landscape that promotes innovation. Retrospective application of the Routemap principles at Crossrail indicated the potential for savings in the order of 7-8% against original budget.

iBuild - Investigator on the £3.5M epsrc / esrc funded iBuild research project that will investigate future business models for infrastructure with an edifice remit to understand the application and relevance of a systemic approach to decisions making and through cross case thematic analysis to illustrate the benefits of the utilisation of a complex and socio technical systems approach to infrastructure initiation, planning and procurement decision making.

Other ongoing research interests in:

  • the delivery of resilient infrastructure and construction
  • the characteristics of successful public sector client organizations
  • project management education and competency
  • the management of complex and iconic projects and managing in a multi project environment
  • intelligent asset management

Construction Industry Strategy Advisory Council - Member of CISAC with a remit to cover issues related to growth and innovation; supply chain; SME engagement; skills; access to finance and overseas trade. Published Construction 2025.

Infrastructure Client Group - The group was formed to support the IUK Cost Review activity following the publication of the Infrastructure Cost Review and the National Infrastructure Plan in 2010. It has representation from a number of the major infrastructure providers in the UK including; Network Rail, HS2, Highways Agency, Environment Agency and Anglian Water, together with representatives from Academia, the ICE and HM Treasury.

ICE Member of Council and Chair of the Capacity Building and Professionalism Panels - Chair of the capacity building panel of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) that has responsibility for: describing the skills and attributes required of civil engineers at all stages of their career; ensuring that real and relevant lifelong learning is provided so that all civil engineers have access to the knowledge that their role requires; reviewing qualifications frameworks and identifying areas that will require development in the future.