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Early Engagement in the Engineering Sector

With this specific mindset, you are able to bring into focus the aims and end result of your project right from the beginning. Do you need to fabricate construction deliverables in a swift, completions-ready manner? If so, dissecting the process into commissionable systems will allow you to outline a safe, efficient plan of action. But in what way?

Here, we explore the benefits of early engagement in the engineering sector, while also detailing the side effects of overlooking the importance of timely planning.

The differences between early and late engagement

As an engineer, an early engagement approach can actively help you envision the completed project from the outset. To get off to a flying start, it is important to cooperate with vendors and construction partners. In fact, this is a crucial first step to ensure everything falls into place with no unwanted mishaps. What’s more, by doing so, you will be holding them to account while verifying that all elements work well together.

Embracing a successful completions philosophy is fundamental. Firstly, it encourages you to follow the development of a project from its earliest stages. Secondly, it offers you the chance to stay on top of several different aspects, including design and engineering, handover, and discipline-level construction. This means that you are able to keep an eye on the project’s lifecycle at all times, from pre-commissioning, commissioning, and start-up to operations and mechanical completion.

However, late engagement of completions on a project can bring a wide range of detrimental consequences. One of the most obvious side effects is that it can cause significant delays. It goes without saying that this slows down your plans considerably. Moreover, you could go over budget. Construction will run ahead with limited – or no – visibility of how and when the systems being built can be presented for pre-commissioning. Any defect in construction may not obstruct the mechanical completion side of the plan at first, but it may be an obstacle to both commissioning and a swift start-up.

To prevent unwanted issues, you should embed a completions management system at the start of the project. This will offer you the chance to have visibility over its overall progress, as well as differentiate construction and pre-commissioning activities by discipline. Additionally, with a completions management system you can store handover certifications and other check-sheets in one, secure place. You can also save technical queries, auditable tracking, and resolution of punch listing.

Lacking a completions approach or a baseline standard can cause serious problems, especially at the FEED (Front End Engineering Design) or pre-FID (Final Investment Decision) stages of the supply chain. What this means is that the standard is not tied into the contract clauses of the project’s supply chain. What happens in this case? QA and QC (quality assessment and quality control) variations in the supply chain would have priority over your own plans. This raises a series of challenges in acquiring a common standard for TI (technical integrity) assurance or completions during the project delivery.

Handy tips to follow

How can you carry out efficient planning and preparation? Here are a few tips on how to facilitate the successful outcome of your operations:

  1. Evaluate and compare your installer or vendor’s QA with your client’s TI standard, which can be performed at the Inspection Test and Plan level. This will give you the opportunity to spot any possible gaps from the outset and remedy them accordingly.
  2. Link an installer and vendor digital system to the client system, so that they can use their own. However, it is important to make sure that the same system has either a modern API or an Excel export function. Otherwise, it could be that the system is not advanced enough for the task.
  3. Source a data segregation method which permits the supply chain to adopt and check the client’s system. Make sure this is performed under appropriate and configurable user rights.
  4. Find a way to connect the system to both the engineering digital twin data and documented assets. By doing so, you can smoothly gather content inside the completions management system.
  5. Take advantage of paperless test procedures and check sheets. You will be able to benefit from clear, up-to-date statuses for all sections of the process.

If all stakeholders adhere to the above baseline, the process is likely to run with very few mishaps. In fact, all these steps will give you the chance to verify and ascertain the correct progress of all stages of a project.

If you are missing a solid baseline, however, you will find it more difficult to evaluate and quantify both the status and quality of the project. During the process, some problems may even be left untracked and, in the long term, represent a huge blow to your operations, leaving you little time to fix any unexpected hiccup.

Ultimately, it is fair to say that early engagement has a considerable array of benefits. Instead, delaying the elaboration of your plan of action can cause some problems along the way. By following a few simple tips, a completions management system can truly help you sail towards a linear and positive outcome.