"I absolutely would recommend it. It removes the unnecessary tasks involved in writing AEE reports, so that you can focus on the assessment and not get bogged down in formatting, layouts, and general document admin...
...I would find it so hard to stop using Rico!!"
We worked with the planning team at Chester Consultants on a customised configuration for their Assessment of Environmental Effects reports. A couple of months on, we caught up with Alexandra Low, Senior Planner at Chester Consultants to hear how she found the set-up process and results achieved using Rico...
Getting set-up on Rico
What initially interested you in using Rico?
Easy access to AEE reports online for working remotely. Being able to see other previous AEE in one place.
Did you have any initial concerns about Rico?
The time required to learn the new system and sequencing of information.
Were they addressed during the implementation of Rico?
The time required to learn how to use Rico was a lot less intensive than expected. Also, the time saved with its other features balances that out. the ability to customise the report layout and ease of feedback to the Rico team helped with sequencing the information.
How did you find the overall process of getting set up on Rico? Did it retain your team's desired approach to planning?
The challenge remains to convince some team members to use Rico as people are often reluctant to try something new. As a Rico user, getting set up was easy, configuring it was straightforward and we definitely retained the look and feel of our documents, the flow of information and the consistency that we aim for.
After getting set up
How would you describe Rico in your own words?
Rico is an online tool for report writing and planning assessments for Auckland projects. It lets you leverage previous AEE reports by importing sections from previous work done in Rico. The initial checklists are a great prompt to cover all bases, but you only have to complete sections that you know are most important for any given project. Rico creates consistent report templates for every project, so your deliverables look great but also contain all the relevant information.
Where have you found Rico most useful across the assessment process, and why?
The initial project setup, even as simple as entering the address and seeing all of the relevant planning maps in one place, is highly helpful for initial planning checks. The import function between similar reports is seamless and the more you use Rico, the better it gets in terms of time-saving efficiencies and ensuring consistency.
In what ways do you think Rico has affected/improved the quality of your assessments?
Less time is spent on menial tasks such as importing individual maps, formatting documents, finding the correct AEE templates, and detailed rules assessments (no manually copying relevant rules or assessment criteria across from the AUP). All the relevant fields are already there and you decide how much assessment to include.
How much time do you estimate Rico has saved you, and in what areas?
Probably 30% of the time involved in the actual writing/ production of each AEE.
Were there any benefits to using Rico that you were not expecting?
Ease of editing, updating or referring back to AEE and Statutory Assessment/ Checklist for post-consenting information requests.
Overall, would you recommend Rico to other planners?
Yes, I absolutely would recommend it. It removes the unnecessary tasks involved in writing AEE reports so that you can focus on the assessment and not get bogged down in formatting, layouts, and general document admin. The reports also look great consistently across the board and are so easy to navigate and switch between sections while writing. You just have to get that initial setup right and create a template that works for you. I would find it so hard to stop using Rico!!
Get in touch today to streamline your planning assessments
If you're not sure whether Rico can help, a demo is a no-obligation opportunity to have a conversation, see Rico in action and work out whether it could be a fit for you. In any case, we'd love to hear from you and learn more about your work.