Reyes Juárez
Chairman and CEO of FOA Consultores and Board Member
FIDIC
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View from the Top

Managing Risk at NAICM

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 09:45

Q: What role did FOA have in the building of AICM and what factors led to it being saturated?

A: According to the airport's original plan, AICM was intended to have two runways to facilitate simultaneous landings. But the lanes ended up being built too close to each other to run simultaneously. The airport’s saturation is no longer manageable because the volume of passengers is growing drastically. That is why NAICM became a priority. Lack of an appropriate airport inhibits the country’s ability to compete globally.

Q: How is FOA contributing to NAICM?

A: As part of the Project Management Office (PMO), our role, among others, is managing the project’s risk. Our ability to intervene consists of directly communicating with the executives at GACM who are responsible for providing final instructions to contractors. We also support the administration of the project through one of our engineering subsidiaries. It is a way to always have people onsite who can follow up on the details of the project. We represent local talent and help our Prime Contract, Parsons, an international firm, adapt to the context in Mexico.

Few countries have the opportunity to build an airport with such large passenger flow, both nationally and internationally. The airport will turn Mexico into an important logistics hub within the Americas.

Q: What are the main challenges you face with the new airport?

A: As part of the PMO, we face several obstacles. First, the location complicates the process and requires a thorough analysis. To achieve the construction’s approval, changes to the Law of Public Works were necessary because it was not designed to manage a project of this size and had to be adjusted to fit the needs of NAICM.

FOA is also considering expanding the purpose and capabilities of NAICM. Projects of this size need to go above and beyond simply serving as an airport. This project is ultimately impacting national participation, generating employment and strengthening the country’s engineering and construction companies.

Q: Why are the authorities prioritizing a balance between international and national companies for the project?

A: The project benefits from the inclusion of international firms, not because the country lacks experience but due to the international best practices they can bring to NAICM. In the end, the complexity of the project will showcase the national and global talent in the infrastructure industry. Mexican companies that are participating in NAICM can compete in the international arena more efficiently and join mega infrastructure projects around the world.

Q: What types of tools does FOA use to administrate the many and complex details of NAICM?

A: Tools used by the PMO and GACM are meant to help the project finish on time and on budget. Primavera is a powerful software that is being used in NAICM to administrate the many details of the project. ACCONEX is another software that is used to manage the number of documents the project uses.

The software helps us register changes and daily matters, from the weather to community discussions. It facilitates accountability when an issue arises. People onsite need to upload this data every single day. The registration of information is an essential part of mitigating risks and guaranteeing its punctual completion.

FOA also developed its own software, PGPI-Risk, to control and register risks that arise and to organize them according to urgency. It offers constant updates and registers relevant information. It can even identify the areas that are in charge of preventing these risks from growing into a problem. It is much cheaper to invest in well-designed plans and risk mitigation tools than cleaning up a problem after it occurs.