Before starting construction on a capital project, consider utility demand and integration to prevent late capital cost increase and schedule extensions.
Major brownfield capital projects typically involve partnering with an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) company. A vast amount of knowledge transfer is required for the contractor to develop plans that help the owner company meet their future production goals, continue to operate their existing plant, and avoid overtaxing existing systems. In the excitement and stress of planning for the project, utilities can take a backseat role. However, late discovery of utility problems can create budget overruns and cause schedule delays. In addition, utilities and production systems are closely interconnected. In many cases, a utility failure can cause a production failure. Timely identification of necessary utility modifications can enhance system operability and reduce operating costs.
This article presents several examples from installed and commissioned brownfield projects that demonstrate how problems related to utility systems can cause issues and increase capital costs during construction and startup. The examples are split into three general categories: documentation, integration, and unanticipated demand.
Engineers and project managers must treat overall utility design with care and consideration. Project leaders can mitigate installed cost escalation and future operability issues by addressing issues such as the ones raised in this article at the earliest design stages...
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