Part II: Relatics helps manage project interface hazards on Sydney Metro

Systems Connect, the Line-wide Works contractor, involved in extending Sydney Metro, runs Relatics to manage and share the key project information with stakeholders, including interface hazards and their mitigations.

Sydney Metro is Australia’s biggest public transport project. Services started in May 2019 in the city’s North West with a train every four minutes in the peak. Metro rail will be extended into the CBD and beyond to Bankstown in 2024. In 2024, Sydney will have 31 metro railway stations and a 66 km standalone metro railway system. There will be ultimate capacity for a metro train every two minutes in each direction under the Sydney city centre.

Systems Connect (an unincorporated joint venture between CPB Contractors and UGL Limited) is delivering Line-wide work, including: installing metro rail track, power systems, communications, signalling systems and infrastructure to turn the excavated tunnels into a working railway between Chatswood and Sydenham. Line-wide work also includes the permanent systems, services and buildings required for Sydney Metro operations between Chatswood and Bankstown.

Good communication and effective exchange of reliable project information is vital to delivering the project safely, on time, and to specification. Systems Connect collaborates with many stakeholders and demonstrates effective exchange of reliable project information, including interface specifications and the associated interface hazard elements. This ensures such key project information is readily available and can be systematically developed by the key stakeholders in a timely manner.


The challenge of interfaces and the associated risks for the Line-wide work scope

All information regarding the risks of interfaces should be available for the entire work scope. How do you achieve this? Outlining hazards and their mitigations was originally captured in spreadsheets, but managing spreadsheet content has its constraints. Adding to the challenge is a subset of hazards called interface hazards, which are closely related to the interfaces that evolve over time. The development and management of these hazards depends on contributions from other contractors also engaged in delivering the project.

At Systems Connect, Michelle Ho’s responsibilities include ensuring the information captured is reliable, collated, auditable, and that relevant stakeholders (such as interface contractors and the client) have access to data subsets applicable to their specific needs. Initially working with Excel, Michelle saw that managing the interface hazards with different contractors using spreadsheets wasn’t optimal. A new approach was needed.

“We sensed the disconnect between interface management and hazard management, particularly for hazards related to the interfaces. We also discovered that many drawings, specifications and related information were being shared in a bespoke interface platform between Systems Connect and interface contractors. For our team not to be closer to this interface platform and all its content was not sustainable in the long run.” – Michelle Ho, Systems Connect


Inside the tunnels near Waterloo Station. Source:

Switching to Relatics

Michelle contacted the Systems Connect interface team, who were facing similar information management challenges. Some months earlier, the interface team had started using the Relatics platform for project interface data instead of Excel. (As described in the case study: ‘Part I: Relatics supports Sydney Metro information management‘). Systems Connect went live with Relatics for interface hazard management in September 2019, adding the hazard modules to its existing license.

“Systems Connect’s interface teams and most of the stakeholders we work with were already familiar with the Relatics platform and liked working with it. It was clear we should offer the same Relatics environment for hazard information, keeping all essential interface project information in a single secure location, while at the same time having better data presentation and management options.” – Michelle Ho, Systems Connect

Managing project data in one platform helps to ensure stakeholders share a common, holistic view. Relatics users have their own workspace, which presents the data subset from a common source that’s relevant to them. Central and local data updates are synchronized automatically, meaning data is always up-to-date.

“I am pleased to see that Relatics users, both internal and external to Systems Connect, can view, add, change, make notes and comments, create actions, analyse data and produce reports by themselves using the hazard data,” said Michelle. “Changes made are tracked, and I can easily select a time period and see what changes were made. Because data can be better analyzed and presented in Relatics than in Excel for example. We are seeing improved stakeholder engagement, communication and collaboration.”

Within a few clicks, Relatics users can switch between different information sets and easily see any relationship between those. There’s no need to open another platform or application in an attempt to reconcile conflicting information from disparate sources. In Relatics, it is possible to make it a one-stop shop for information management. Relatics can also be configured to verify the veracity and integrity of the data, check who has done what and when.

Relatics is a full service, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider. The company’s professional services team supported Systems Connect to build a customized information model, configured to support the unique processes to manage project information.

Michelle concluded: “Relatics provides the unique and easily customizable features which are superior to most standard products. It is suitable for complex projects having to interface with multiple parties, maintain auditable data, to enable an effective and efficient management and reporting of project hazards information. The platform allows for all key stakeholders to simultaneously access and work on the same information. It makes sense to use it as an integration tool.”

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