Why it pays to do your due diligence when selecting an RMS Project Verifier

When it comes to construction projects in Australia, there are many variables that if not well executed, can cause delays. One such variable is authority approvals.  

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is the leading authority when it comes to design, construction and maintenance of roadways in NSW. To ensure developers meet their requirements for quality and safety, they have implemented a series of sophisticated protocols, specifications and systems. These systems can be inherently difficult to navigate. 

“To obtain an RMS approval, the RMS project manager will need to consult five or six different specialist departments,” says Matthew Macelli, Civil Engineer at Northrop.

“This can involve coordinating with road designers, maintenance engineers, geotechnical engineers, road safety specialists and bridge experts. Every aspect of the design will be dissected before final approval is granted. Establishing key relationships, and knowing what aspects of the design they’re likely to value, is vital to being truly effective,” continues Matthew.

The role of an RMS Project Verifier

A developer must engage with the RMS when they are constructing a new RMS road, upgrading an existing one, or if there is a risk that private developments impact on RMS assets.

This is done via a Works Authorisation Deed (WAD). This deed brings together the project requirements, provides a description of the works relevant to the RMS, and sets out the contractual obligations for the project.

As part of the WAD, an independent Project Verifier (PV) is usually appointed. The PV is engaged by the developer but acts on behalf of the RMS.

“The PV acts as a liaison between the developer and RMS,” says Matthew. “Their role is to confirm that the design and physical works are in accordance with RMS requirements. Generally, projects are broken up into a design verification stage and a construction verification stage.”

Some key tasks undertaken by the PV are:

 Design verification

 Construction verification

 PV reviews each of the design   documents (relevant to RMS) at   concept design (15%), detailed design   (85%) and approved for construction   documentation (100%).

 The PV reviews and certifies the   contractors project management   plans.


 Once satisfied, they issue a design   document certificate verifying works   against the RMS standard drawings,   specifications and WAD requirements.

 Attends safety in design workshops,   identifying key risks to the project.



 Reviews and certifies the contractors   Inspection and Test Plans (ITPs) and   construction material specifications.


 Completes regular construction   supervision certifying the works in   accordance with the project   documents.

What to look for in a PV

“The right PV understands RMS requirements inside and out. They can steer discussions to the relevant aspects, speeding up the process,” says Matthew.

“The most important aspect is that the RMS has confidence in the project team, and a PV who understands how the process works can add significant value.”

So, when assessing your ideal PV, consider the following:

  1. A track record you can count on - Northrop has successfully carried out project verification on a number of RMS projects including the extensions on 161 Sussex Street in Sydney (over the Western Distributor), The Ribbon project in Sydney (between the RMS viaducts in Darling Harbour), and on a number of major roads projects across Sydney and Newcastle. Our team is fully conversant with RMS requirements.‚Äč

  2. Design credentials - As well as experience working with the RMS in a PV capacity, Northrop has also designed and delivered multiple RMS roads. This gives Northrop an ability to view a project holistically and gives the project manager, developer as well as the RMS confidence in our ability to deliver.

  3. Is part of the Technical Services Registration Scheme - The new RMS suppliers register came into effect on 1 October and lists technical services suppliers, including Northrop. By selecting a PV from a company on the register, you can be confident it’s an organisation of which the RMS approves.

  4. Brings ideas and expertise - Projects of this nature are complex, and you need a PV with a versatile approach to enable innovative solutions to be considered. At Northrop, we have a proactive and collaborative approach, and pride ourselves on our ability to bring ideas – and solutions – to the table.

  5. Ability to decode the WAD - The Works Authorisation Deed can be a complex document. A good PV provides clarity on deliverables and deadlines, ensuring that both the developer and RMS are on the same page. This helps speed up and streamline the approvals process.  

  6. Has team support - Ideally, the PV has a dedicated team of construction engineers behind them who can respond quickly, inspecting works as developers/contractors require. This streamlines construction activities and provides a firm site presence.

Here at Northrop, our team are highly experienced in working with the RMS and is ready to help you deliver your project on time and within budget. For more information, contact Matthew Macelli at mmacelli@northrop.com.au or 02 9241 4188.

Civil Engineer
Matthew Macelli

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