Commissioning Modernisation Plan – Peer Review

Commissioning Consultancy service for the UK defence industry to execute a comparison of existing test and commission processes (including improvement plans) against OCCMS’s Modern Commissioning processes and systems.

Commissioning Modernisation Plan – Peer Review


A new build programme of hunter killer submarines was commissioned for the design, build and delivery of 7 operational Nuclear-powered fleet Submarines (SSN) to the governmental client.

The Main Contractor requested that OCCMS conducted a ‘Peer Review’ of the performance of the Commissioning techniques being deployed on these vessels during 2019.

The short-term objective was clear and focused on conducting a review of the recently introduced Commissioning Modernisation Programme. This was done by comparing techniques as illustrated in a bespoke variation of the OCCMS multi-industry completions and commissioning road map and handover processes.

The specific scope was to review the technical build to test strategy, the current business processes and to identify any potential improvements to the Commissioning Modernisation Programme.

Deliverables proposed for the formal output were to be:

  • A full review findings and recommendations document
  • Final presentation of proposed recommendations

Approved completion of these deliverables would signify closure of the Peer review.

The Challenge

At the time of the peer review, three of the boats were in service. The fourth in class was preparing for sea trials. Boat 5 was nearing completion and boats 6 and 7 were at earlier stages of design and build.

In addition to this class, there was also another class submarine build programme underway which comprised of 4 new larger submarines. Manufacturing had started but commissioning was still some way off for this class.

As with many programmes that are as complex as that of a new submarine build, there had been some significant delays versus the original contract schedule. This had been long recognised, with actions ongoing to optimise the schedule for the remaining boats. Additionally, the main contractor had recently initiated a Commissioning Modernisation Programme (CMP) with the intention of optimising the ‘Technical Build to Test Strategy’ for Submarines in the most logical sequence.

The specifics of the peer review required a rapid 3 week turn around which included a document and data gather phase, a review phase of the same and a significant succession of key stakeholder’s engagement sessions, a final peer review report and a face-to-face presentation with the key stakeholders.

The Solution

Completion of the peer review within the allotted 3-week time window and to budget also revealed the following key findings and recommendations:

  • The need for a “golden thread” completions process. This binds all phases of the engineering, procurement, build/production, testing and commissioning phases across teams and also with the eventual operating client
  • The need to split pre-commissioning and commissioning to drive productivity across these phases more effectively
  • The need for T&C to have an appropriate representation in the overall programme and individual boat delivery leadership
  • The need for the early testing facilities (sub-assemblies prior to boat install) to be part of the overall T&C function
  • A more robust and flexible approach to resourcing the teams required in line with the natural ‘ebb and flow’ of available and unconstrained work faces and associated man-hour liquidation
  • A completions led integrated boat and programme schedule and a single set of programme metrics across all stakeholders in boat delivery
  • A change in culture in order to assist the breakdown of silos across various specific stakeholders and how emerging issues are communicated, assessed and closed as a one delivery team. Potential to embed a collaboration programme as per NAO recommendations.

The Outcome

Through collating the input from extensive interviews held with team members within the main contractor, and the ultimate two clients, recommendations were given and presented for consideration to the Project at the Peer Review findings and feedback session.

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