Small Contractor Concerns With Waka Kotahi Proposal
Councils and small contractors have responded to the current Waka Kotahi Road-To-Zero policy with concerns that it is overcomplicating things for small contractors. As with all debates, there are two sides to the story and we discuss them in relation to traffic management plans here.
The Road To Zero
Waka Kotahi’s zero road deaths by 2050 goal is a worthy goal and by keeping their stakeholder dialogue open they have a greater chance of achieving a win-win. Their current changes to temporary traffic management legislation are, on the whole, a necessary update.
The Southland District Council raised a concern that the proposed legislative revisions will amplify administration and costs unnecessarily in low-risk situations. The challenge for the national agency is that, with all actions that involve humans, “low-risk” can be a subjective assessment of a situation driven by commercial factors or inexperience. All risk, therefore, needs to be addressed.
Traffic Management Legislation Concerns
The Council gave an example of contractors carrying out garden maintenance on a home’s boundary or superficial repairs to road reserves. It is argued that small contractors, under the legislation in its current proposed form, will:
- Battle to compete against larger contractors
- Need researched traffic plan quotes before they can quote
- Be unable to operate their projects and take on such a huge admin uptick
- Need extra headcount
- Become too expensive
- Reject projects that require traffic plans
- Battle to survive
In addition, as Councils are active supporters of small businesses and, indeed, have a great need for them, they are concerned about losing a vital part of their supplier network.
Councils also stated that local contractors either serve or are a part of their local communities and the loss of their service and income will affect communities.
The Cause For The Concern
The main challenge in the new legislation that is causing this debate is the removal of existing generic traffic management plan templates. These have historically been applied to small jobs in road reserves or curbside domestic work.
This would mean small contractors would need custom traffic management plans for every curbside garden cleanup project. Understandably, the admin time and costs would drive contractors to drop council work and focus on private property projects.
Waka Kotahi is right to drop the current templates as a number are outdated and, in some cases, wrong and counter-productive. It would, arguably, be prudent to update them and reinstate them for minor works even if the definition of ‘minor’ is tightened up slightly.
They could also run these new templates over a trial period of two to five years and if road death figures occur SPECIFICALLY in relation to the use of these templates, then they could review or retract them. If road death figures do not decline sufficiently but it has nothing to do with small contractor work, then it is arguably pointless to complicate areas that will not deliver the road-to-zero goal.
ISAV Design’s Traffic Management Plans
Whichever final version of the proposal goes through, ISAV’s team will always strive to give our clients the most cost-effective and efficient solutions for their business. If templates are wiped out then we could discuss generic templates for your business to that each project does not require quotes, costs and delays.
ISAV supports Waka Kotahi’s desire to stop the death of and the life-threatening injuries to people on work sites.