The SPEC approach follows a design/build model, with some modifications to overcome the deficiencies in a typical design/build project as practiced by others in the construction industry. The following is an overview of our approach to a typical manufacturing project for a process-based company.
OBTAINING A DESIGN/BUILD PROPOSAL
The first step in any design/build project for SPEC is the development of a design/build proposal for the entire project. This is done by developing the scope of work in conjunction with the owner and using that preliminary design with selected sub-contractors to develop a preliminary document set and budget.
During this initial phase, SPEC works to understand the client’s standards and if applicable, the existing facility. Complete knowledge of standards and existing conditions expedites the design of similar systems, and highlights shortcomings, if any, of the existing installation. Once the scope is fully developed, a schedule is compiled and all information is reviewed with the client.
The client’s standards and the project scope become the design basis for the project. This design basis is key to defining the detailed engineering scope including the list of drawings and specifications which will be completed during detailed design.
After a design/build contract has been negotiated, the detailed design effort begins. SPEC typically divides projects into two “tracks,” with one group focused on the development of P&ID’s and the process equipment and the second group completing engineering of the mechanical, electrical and architectural details. Design documents are only completed to a level of detail required to facilitate the bidding process.
During the bidding process, it is very possible that potential subcontractors will suggest improvements in the design that will reduce cost or enhance the quality of the project. The drawings are then brought to a further level of detail incorporating these suggestions from the subcontractors where appropriate. This results in a project that is well designed, efficient and constructable.
SPEC is standardized on AutoCAD. SPEC believes strongly in CAD, and we require all our engineers to work in the CAD environment. Additional design programs for piping, instrumentation, and electrical design are also available, based on the level of design documentation required.
BUYING OUT THE PROJECT
Most projects will require a variety of construction trades such as:
• Mechanical (process piping, HVAC, plumbing & fire protection)
• Electrical (power and instrumentation)
• Steel (decking and equipment supports)
• Concrete foundations and housekeeping pads etc.
• Architectural (exterior & interior trades)
• Controls & instrumentation
Using the design documents, a written scope of work and specifications for different aspects of the project, each of the above trades are bid and the results presented to the client for review. Each bid will be compared to the original budget for the project, and final selection of subcontractors made in consultation with the client. SPEC will hold all contracts for the client, but the client will always fully participate in the selection process.
SPEC will prepare specifications for all equipment involved in the project, and where appropriate, will obtain competitive bids for this equipment. Bid information would also be presented to the client to allow a coordinated selection of the best equipment suppliers. SPEC will prepare all purchase orders for equipment and manage the expediting process as part of the overall contract.
In addition to purchasing major process equipment, SPEC believes that the process automation component of the project is crucial to a successful startup. Therefore SPEC has developed their own automation group to provide the detailed design, programming, and startup services directly. Because the automation engineers are intimately involved with the client right from the scope definition phase of the project, instead of just starting at the end of the buy-out phase, the time for startup is significantly reduced.
The key to successful construction is the coordination of the subcontractors on the site. SPEC’s project manager also performs the construction management role during this portion of the project. Day to day site management is typically handled by a Site Superintendent who will work hand in hand with the project manager for the duration of the project. Larger projects may sometimes require multiple Site Superintendents to focus on different aspects of the construction.
This professional team will also be responsible for orchestrating the many meetings that help keep a construction project on track – from the daily meetings with the subcontractors to weekly meetings with the owner for updates on budget and schedule.
VALIDATION AND TESTING
Even though validation is after construction on this list, the validation effort actually begins when the project begins. During the design phase, SPEC will work with the owner and their third party validation consultant to identify all crucial areas of validation and determine with the client what systems and equipment need to be validated and what level of documentation will be developed. Please see the validation section that follows for further information on validation procedures.