Capital Projects Representatives of Operations & Maintenance for Process Plants, Part C (2020-08-24)

(... Continued from Part B)


The preceding sections Part A and B, also co-authored by Ric Massie and Gary Kennedy, lay the foundation for the types of preparations required to perform Capital Projects in an Operating Process Plant.

This kind of wisdom can assist owners with getting better value out of hiring a PM and the rest of the project team for a plant capital project. For example if a particular facility has not had a significant capital project for several years or more, experienced human resources are scarce in the fairly remote location, the operations and maintenance personnel have had high turnover, and project managers (and discipline/other engineers) are sometimes hired ad-hoc when projects arise, then the owner could have a recipe for major project problems with interfacing the operations-maintenance representatives with the project team.

Luckily, by learning from previous similar situations, there are ways to greatly improve on the cost, scope, safety, and schedule challenges of situations like above. Much of the preparation for the plant capital project can be done before the design stages are progressed very far.

This includes, but not limited to:


  • proactive executive support (e.g. short but stern VP speech) to enforce timely participation of the sponsor’s team, including ops-maint reps;

  • reasonable, practical, relevant, and interesting amounts of “Capital Project Training” for ops-maint reps and others on the sponsor’s team;

  • provision of a site-experienced general project manager (GPM) and/or project services representative (PSR) to help all participants deal with the project process stage steps. They can help simplify the project process steps that can be addressed in a streamlined way;

  • in addition to the brief training sessions, keep the processes ACTIVE and flowing smoothly with onsite coaching, mentoring, and interfacing between groups by the PM , GPM, PSR, and/or a Project Interface Manager.

Personnel who work at remote and/or resource-limited process plant locations may wonder if these are excessive preparations for incoming capital projects, but the principle of “a stitch in time saves nine” will likely prevent significant problems with schedule, cost, and technical deliverables. It would also help the temporarily imported project management team to ramp up their productivity soon after arrival on site and enhance their good relations with permanent staff.


An organized project also tends to be a safer project, not only during site visits but because attention gets successfully focused on sequential staged team reviews such as engineering design, constructability, operational readiness, and various hazard reviews.


(End of Part C)


Watch for related discussions in future articles.

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