Various large and small developments happen in our cities every day to build a better liveable and smarter space for us. The current process of using a contract or deed and a contractor to deliver the development could be further improved. It is vastly expensive or impossible to rectify, after the development completion, when the development failed to deliver the benefits. There needs to have certainty in the achievement of the desired outcomes in urban design or smart city projects.
A process of consistently verifying the requirements and validating the products (results) during the project would enhance the probability of achieving the results that the project is proposed to achieve. This verification approach has been applied in major infrastructure projects and could also apply to smaller scale local developments or any precinct-wide urban projects.
Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) means that a completely independent entity reviews/evaluates the work products generated by the team that is designing and/or executing a given project. The IV&V provider will often monitor and evaluate every aspect of the project itself from inception to completion. It is far easier and more cost effective to correct problems that are identified earlier rather than later in the project.
Looking at a project in progress from the perspective of an outsider, and not allowing oneself to be engulfed in details or assumptions, enables the independent reviewer to recognise warning signs and impending problems while they can still be mitigated or corrected.
The primary value of IV&V is in identifying high-risk areas early in the project which allows the organization to either mitigate risks or prepare contingencies. Project implementation should be a partnership between the organization and the IV&V team, where the IV&V team provides tangible measurement and alternatives and helps identify issues which may not be immediately visible. Independent verification and validation is a time-tested methodology that should be carefully considered as a relatively low-cost insurance policy at the outset of projects, in particular public ones.
This article was kindly provided by Richard Lau, Arcadis Australia Pacific Pty Ltd.
Richard presented an abstract entitled ‘Are Promises Kept ? Verification and Validation’ for the 2016 International Urban Design Conference.