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Further to the principles of the business case information available, the following sets out the indicative business case with a relevance to Highways practitioners.

Indicative business case

The indicative business case (IBC) further develops specific activities. It provides a long list to short list of options and it recommends a preferred way forward as part of the short-listed alternatives. An indicative business case receives official Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency support, including assessment of strategic fit and effectiveness, with anticipated efficiency assessment.

For each activity, an initial appraisal of options is conducted with specific consideration given to these questions:

  • Is the option going to alleviate the perceived transport problems and/or maximise potential opportunities identified in the programme business case?
  • Is the option consistent with established policy directives?
  • Is the option likely to meet the transport planning outcomes identified in the programme business case?
  • What are the likely scale and significance of any impacts of the activity?
  • Is the option likely to be acceptable to the public, affordable and feasible to construct and operate?
  • Is there a clear rationale for the rejection of options on completion of the indicative business case?

Indicative business case overview [PDF, 61 KB]

Key steps

  • Confirm that the activity is in the NLTP and SHAMP approved programme.
  • Re-check that the strategic case is still fit for purpose. 
  • Undertake a strategic assessment.
  • Engage with members of the HNO team, including Project Manager(s).
  • Undertake ILM workshop(s) for the activity. (Note: this is normally funded out of overhead and there is no retrospective funding available.)
    ILM workshops
  • Distribute ILM workshop outputs and revisions if required. (This is usually part of the tasks of the ILM facilitator.)
  • Prepare funding application for the development of the indicative business case, according to delegations.
    Indicative business case funding application and development form [DOCX, 110 KB]
  • Reconfirm strategic fit and investment assessments.
  • Confirm the project/activity team.
  • Procure professional services.
  • Data collection and analyses.
  • Understand context, problems, opportunities and constraints.
  • Engage with stakeholders and the public.
  • Develop options. The following tools are available:
  • Assess options.
  • Recommend shortlisted options.
  • Produce indicative business case.
  • Obtain endorsements as required and approvals according to delegations.
  • Scope the detailed business case.
  • [Refer delegation sheet.]

Benefit realisation

Ensure investment objectives and a monitoring plan that includes developing SMART investment objectives, including KPIs, measures, baseline data and expected outcomes are developed. This may have been undertaken in a previous phase but detail should be added as relevant.

Confirm the investment objectives and assess the preferred option(s) against the investment objectives. This is typically done to a greater level of detail and at the more focused activity level than during a programme business case.

Complete project benefit mapping to the activity level, which should create a clear line of sight between project problems, benefits, investment objectives, measures and KPIs.

Update the project monitoring plan to reflect any developments or improved evidence, using it as a base for completing the benefits realisation framework. Secure key stakeholder, project team and measure owner acceptance, then upload the completed benefits realisation framework to TIO.

If this is part of a wider programme business case, revisit the problems and benefits of the programme and determine the contribution made to the programme level investment objectives by the indicative business case. Document this in the monitoring plan. Update the programme business case if necessary to reflect benefit realisation.

Benefit realisation information

Quality assurance and approvals

Records of quality assurance and approvals should be undertaken in accordance with the System Design and Delivery project assurance and approvals process.

Project assurance and approvals process

Technical requirements

For each phase of the business case process there are technical requirements that may be relevant to your project that will need to be considered and included in addition to general guidance and templates. Aligned to the business case philosophy, suppliers are required to meet more technical requirements as an activity progresses through the business case phases.

Outlined below are the technical requirements for completing the indicative business case, by subject matter.

Suppliers are required to comply with these requirements except where varied within the scope of a contract.

For further information or advice, contact the relevant team.

Subject matter Technical requirements Information Contact
Community and stakeholder engagement Review/refresh community engagement plan (level of engagement will reflect size and scale of project) Community and stakeholder engagement Environment team
Economics As per tables 8.1 to 8.3 of the IBC template, show indicative benefits and BCR of options Economic evaluation manual Economic Evaluation team
Environment and social responsibility Complete environment and social responsibility screen ESR screen Environment team
Incorporate screen results in the IBC assessment of options summary table template Assessment summary
Determine need for preliminary technical assessments and/or baseline monitoring and scope any preliminary environmental or social technical assessments/baseline monitoring required ESR standard
Pavements High level pavement analysis required, factors to consider

NZ supplement to the 2004 Austroads pavement design guide

Sections to consider: 4, 5, 7, 8

Austroads Guide to Pavement technology: Part 2, Pavement Structural Design(external link)

Sections to consider: 2, 5, 7

Pavements team
Property SWOT analysis of individual land parcels. Options identified to reduce risk and cost to the project. Forecast potential cash flow SWOT analysis and risk assessment Property team
Risk As the project lifecycle transitions through the business case phases the increasing maturity of programme data and clarity of understanding should be reflected in an increasing depth of maturity in the level of risk management data and application of risk management practices Project risk management Risk team
Road safety Undertake a safety review Internal HNO process reviewed by SME's Safety team

Design exceptions review

  • Operating speeds
  • Cross section
Internal HNO process reviewed by SME's ONRC
Statutory approvals Use ESR screen results to determine need for preliminary technical assessments Obtain copy of completed screen Environment team
Scope any preliminary environmental or social technical assessments/baseline monitoring required in accordance with Z19 State highway environmental and social responsibility ESR standard
Planners assist in gathering information and attend options workshops  
Transport modelling Indicative assessment of activities and benefits Transport model development guidelines Design Practice and Solutions team


Forms and templates

Title Type Document PDF
Indicative business case and funding application Template Word [DOCX, 110 KB] PDF [PDF, 2.3 MB]
Indicative business case option summary table Template Word [DOCX, 65 KB] PDF [PDF, 163 KB]


Title Download
Benefit realisation framework PDF [PDF, 112 KB]

For further information contact