This might be the ultimate crystal ball question. Based on our experience, we would certainly advise not to do large-scale repairs without a very thorough understanding of the costs and issues involved.
Our relationship with Central Government was critical to our success, but it took time for them to become confident that we could manage the magnitude of the task ahead. A stronger pre-existing support network might have allowed us to move forward more quickly.
Business cases were prepared for each of the UC Futures projects, using the Better Business Case model adopted by the NZ Government. They were a prerequisite for Government funding, and this had the potential to drive a focus on up-front costs. But business cases can’t be just about getting the build budget approved. They need to be a reliable foundation for project delivery, and that requires an accurate reflection of scope.
Natural disaster is a risk that every organisation needs to manage. We learnt that effective recovery begins before a disaster happens, and that the CEO should focus on five key areas. While there is a degree of chronological progression from one area to the next, clear breaks are unlikely and they are likely to overlap and run concurrently.
After a major disaster, everyone is in a state of shock. The physical and financial risks of operation are increased, and staff and students will be stressed by events in their home lives as well as what is going on at work. One of the first big questions you are likely to face is whether to keep operating, or to go into hiatus until you can come back repaired and ready to operate business as usual.