InfraGuide - Canadian national guide to wbr sustainable municipal by terrypete


									                   InfraGuide – Canadian national guide to sustainable
                   municipal infrastructure

                     Boudreau, S.; Potkins, J.; Sheflin, M.


A version of this document is published in / Une version de ce document se trouve dans :
     Proceedings of the International Federation of Municipal Engineers Conference
                   (IFME), Cape Town, South Africa, Nov. 6, 2003, pp. 1-4


                                 Sheflin, M.1, Potkins, J.2 and Boudreau, S.2
                                    National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure
                                             National Research Council of Canada

The National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure: Innovations and Best Practices (InfraGuide) is a most
exciting municipal infrastructure project being developed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the
National Research Council (NRC) under the largesse of the Government of Canada. The project’s goal is to develop
and disseminate best practices for Decision Making and Investment Planning, Roads and Sidewalks, Storm and
Wastewater, Potable Water and Environmental Protocols. InfraGuide is also the focal point for a pan-Canadian network
of practitioners, researchers and municipal governments focused on infrastructure operations and maintenance.

InfraGuide represents the needs of municipalities across Canada. The concept has been developed through extensive
consultations with a vast network of public and private stakeholders who continue to be involved in InfraGuide's
development. The project is a direct result of requests made by Canadian municipalities for a renewed federal role in
the development of inspiring methods for the optimization of municipal infrastructure management. A broadly based
board of public and private representatives sets up the organization and the various development committees.

The National Guide to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure: Innovations and Best Practices, known as InfraGuide, is a
project funded by the Federal Government and implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in
partnership with the National Research Council (NRC). It has been created to serve as a road map to the best available
solutions for addressing infrastructure issues. It has also become a focal point for a Canada-wide network of
practitioners, researchers and municipal governments focused on the betterment of infrastructure operations and

InfraGuide represents the needs of municipalities across Canada. The concept has been developed through extensive
consultations with a vast network of public and private stakeholders who continue to be involved in InfraGuide’s
development. The project is supervised by a Project Steering Committee (PSC) composed of experts from across
Canada. The development of guidelines is directed by technical advisors and committees. The first committees have
been established to address the service areas of: Potable Water, Storm and Wastewater, Municipal Roads and
Sidewalks, Environmental Protocols and Decision-making and Investment Planning.

InfraGuide provides for the building of a Canadian network that is meant to share best practices and innovations in the
field of municipal infrastructure so that its renewal can take advantage of the best knowledge and technology. Many
decision-making processes used by municipalities, or their providers of engineering services, lack the comprehensive
integration of environmental impacts and technology solutions required to balance infrastructure development and
environmental well being. Therefore, the resulting projects often do not achieve the level of optimization expected by
the population.

InfraGuide’s mission statement, “For the protection and enhancement of quality of life, the National Guide to
Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure identifies and disseminates best practices and encourages innovation to support
sustainable municipal infrastructure decisions and actions” illustrates the determination to create viable, integrated
solutions for infrastructure problems across the country.

Sustainable infrastructure means that today's decisions on the provision of municipal infrastructure protect and enhance
the quality of life for the foreseeable future using measures of economic, environmental and social factors. Using this
definition as a framework, InfraGuide consists of two interrelated parts which include a decision-making and
investment-planning (DMIP) tool and second, a compendium of technical best practices.

The (DMIP) section of the InfraGuide is intended for use by municipalities to assess their needs and help technical staff
as well as elected officials manage their infrastructure assets more effectively by using best practices in the selection,
development and implementation of infrastructure projects. The DMIP section of InfraGuide also promotes ongoing
monitoring, evaluation and feedback.

The compendium of technical best practices for Water, Storm & Wastewater, Environmental Protocols and Roads &
Sidewalks is composed of various sets of technical modules. They provide municipal infrastructure practitioners with
best practices for the choice of best available technologies and methodologies. For the purposes of InfraGuide, Best
Practices have been defined as state-of-the-art methodologies and technologies for municipal infrastructure planning,
design, construction, management, assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation that consider local economic,
environmental and social factors. These best practices are developed in the context of life-cycle asset management.

Overall, InfraGuide assists in prioritizing funding allocations, decision-making and long term planning and the
selection of the best technologies related to the provision of municipal infrastructure. We also believe that it helps to
illustrate best strategies for the highest return on investment, the evaluation of life cycle costs and benchmarking.

InfraGuide has the support of a vast network of stakeholders across Canada, including national associations related to
infrastructure development such as: the Canadian Water and Waste Water Association; the Canadian Construction
Association; the Canadian Public Works Association; the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers; the Canadian
Construction Research Board; the Transportation Association of Canada; the Canadian Home Builders Association and
The Insurance Bureau of Canada. It also encompasses representatives for such sectors as transportation and housing, as
well as Canada's large and small municipalities, and remote communities. This broad network ensures that the
differences between large and small towns, urban and rural municipalities, and northern and remote communities are

InfraGuide builds on the vast array of existing knowledge regarding municipal infrastructure practices and
development. Its content reflects the experience of practitioners and it is validated through input from academic and
institutional researchers as well as from the user community. InfraGuide now has numerous best practices published in
the areas of potable water, storm and wastewater, municipal roads, decision-making and environmental protocols.

InfraGuide has implemented a rigorous approvals process for the development of Best Practices (BP). Each best
practice must answer the following questions: Why is the work described in the BP needed? What is to be done? How
is the work described in the BP to be done and when is the work to be done (and not done)? Once the priorities for
each development round are identified, best practices scans are contracted out in order to provide the Committees with
relevant background material on the particular subject area. These technology scans are intended to gather existing
knowledge, whether from the published literature or current practices used by municipalities or their suppliers of goods
and services. The Committees use the results of the scans to extract information on what will become the National
(Draft) Best Practice.

Draft best practices go through a peer and stakeholder review process. At the peer-review level, a limited number of
experts in the field are contacted and asked to ensure no key elements or concepts are missing and that the documents
truly represent a best practice in their experience. The stakeholder review process consists of distributing,
electronically or otherwise, the draft best practice to the largest number possible of stakeholders. Practitioners are
asked to review and comment on the best practices over a limited period of time. Comments received are considered in
future updates to the best practice. Finalized best practices are approved by the Project Steering Committee before
being published.

The release of best practices, planned through various electronic means as well as more traditional processes, will
require follow-up through education and training. This is particularly important for small, rural, and remote
communities that might not have the capacity to apply the best practice methodologies or technologies without support.
InfraGuide staff, together with InfraGuide stakeholders, will be developing an education and training plan that will rely
heavily on partnerships with local, regional or national organisations to develop the specific courses and deliver the
best practices knowledge to these communities.

Since summer 2002 the InfraGuide has developed close to thirty guidelines to help communities across Canada,
including rural and remote areas. Here are some examples of the different subjects:

3.1      Decision Making and Investment Planning
Title: Coordinating Infrastructure Works

This document outlines best practices for the coordination of infrastructure works, to minimize disruption and
maximize value. All public works managers, at one time or another, have been exposed to significant public complaints
about the lack of effective coordination among the various infrastructure components. How well this issue gets handled
significantly affects the overall effectiveness of infrastructure providers. Therefore, it is important for the various
infrastructure renewal programs to be coordinated to the maximum extent possible.

3.2      Environmental Protocols
Title: Strategic Commitment to the Environment by Municipal Corporations

Municipalities adopt environmental protocols to protect the health of citizens, the environment, and the economy.
Municipal environmental strategies can help reverse environmental degradation, protect the economic resource base,
and enhance the health of employees and citizens. In addition, strong municipal leadership is needed to foster
innovation within communities and increase the competitive edge of the municipality in the long term. This best
practice provides guidance to municipalities wanting to protect quality of life by creating a strategic commitment to the
environment within the municipal corporation.

3.3      Roads and Sidewalks
Title: Timely Preventive Maintenance for Municipal Roads

This Best Practice applies to both flexible and rigid pavements. It describes basic premises for performing preventive
maintenance, expected benefits, types of treatments that are used in preventive maintenance, identification of most
deserving pavement sections, the need for ongoing support and assessment, and the importance of dedicated funding.

3.4      Water
Title: Selection of Technologies for the Rehabilitation or Replacement of Sections of a Water Distribution System

As the title clearly states, this best practice provides municipalities with a guideline for selecting the best appropriate
technologies to rehabilitate or replace sections of their water distribution system based on current practices and on local
issues and conditions. It exposes the reader to a selection of available technologies for the replacement or rehabilitation
of water mains and associated appurtenances. The operations, maintenance, and management of water distribution
systems can be complex, and rehabilitating or replacing existing water mains to meet a community’s needs is an
ongoing occurrence across Canada.

3.5      Storm and Wastewater
Title: Wastewater Source Control

Source control is recognized as an economical and sustainable means of managing wastewater treatment. More
stringent effluent discharge criteria and management of biosolids generated by the treatment process are two elements
that make source control an essential tool for sound infrastructure management. This best practice tackles the main
elements of wastewater source control program. Among these elements are:

• Management of the demand for service through user rates and cost allocation, thereby delaying infrastructure
expansions or upgrades,
• Protection of sewer workers and the public from discharges to the sewers of materials that are toxic, flammable, or
• Protection of sewer infrastructure from corrosive materials, such as acids, or from materials such as sand, rocks, and
grease that can clog the sewer system and lead to sewer backups,
• Protection of wastewater treatment processes from substances or conditions which may upset the treatment processes
and generate poor quality discharge and effluent permit violations,
• Protection of the environment from substances such as toxic organics or toxic trace metals that cannot be removed
technically or economically by the treatment processes, and,
• Improvement of the quality of biosolids to enhance their recycling into fertilizers, soil improvement materials, and
4.       THE FUTURE
The future promises many challenges for this exciting project. Among these are:

     The development of a sustainable financial model that accommodates complex operations and management while
     retaining the flexibility required to respond to stakeholder interests,
     Ensuring InfraGuide links with stakeholder networks and their various initiatives while being mindful of multi-
     jurisdictional realities,
     Ensuring InfraGuide delivers on its vision without attempting to be all things to all people, and,
     Ensuring the InfraGuide provides empirically sound 'best practices' without sacrificing innovation.

However, undoubtedly, the greatest challenge lies in ensuring that the National Guide to Sustainable Municipal
Infrastructure remains a tool that is useful to municipalities across Canada; while contributing to the shape and design
of a national response to infrastructure needs, at the local level, from coast to coast to coast.

InfraGuide welcomes you to visit its web site on a regular basis to keep in touch with its ongoing development. You are
also invited to contact us via our website at:

To top