Project Engineering Challenge –Keep It Green, Keep It Safe
The Worlds nations have come together, finally in 2015, to combat Global warming. The first reaction, of many, is that the costs involved, to the account of each nation of the World, cannot be afforded by the small nations. However, if we think back to the Piper Alpha disaster, that resulted in the oil and gas industry having to “up its game”. The major’s in the Oil and Gas industry, at first , resisted the requirements of the new Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) regulations but later, it was proved to be good business to tighten up on H.S.E. It is believed that the clean up required, to reduce mankind’s impact on the environment and on planet earth itself, will also be resisted, initially, but will, as in the case of H.S.E, become good business and the norm. For young engineers, who have just entered into the work place and for students who are contemplating entering engineering there is much to do and many challenges. There is an urgent need to develop new concepts, new designs, new industries to combat Global Warming and the big clean up of existing pollution.
In a new concept for a design, a “rookie” engineer will go through all the standard processes that the field of engineering has developed over decades. His first action is to put pencil to paper ( or the equivalent in the electronic age)
At an early stage of the project it may be understood that the lines on a drawing represent, for example, a pipe or pipe line but the information is insufficient to buy the pipe. Accordingly, the drawing has to be developed with input from many discipline engineers (Piping, Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Instrument, Electrical, Safety, ) who are now joining the project at an ever increasing rate. The first drawing issued ( Revision 0) by the Process Engineers, to the other discipline engineers, are virtually skeleton drawings and each discipline uses the drawing to commence his design and his input to place the “meat” on the skeleton’s bones. This action is referred to as detailing the drawings. After a period, the original drawing ( Revision 0) has more information inserted by the Process Engineers, together with other relevant information being fed back by the Discipline Engineers. The process of increasing the information on the drawing continues unabated and is captured on updated revisions of the first drawings issued i.e. revision 1, revision 2, revision 3, revision 4 etc. Note that each issued revision has the reason for it’s issue shown on the drawing.
In parallel to the drawings being issued in house, each discipline is making the required arrangements to secure the purchase of individual items of equipment detailed on each drawing issued to them. This means that the drawings are placed in the hands of equipment vendors who are invited to supply equipment as detailed on the drawing.
Project Engineering Challenge –Keep It Green, Clean and Safe
There are many drawings and documents in circulation during a projects life. The main drawing which is the “backbone” of the project is termed the “Piping and Instrument Drawing” or P&ID. These drawing are eventually finalised and are made into packages which, together with other details and instructions, are delivered to the houses of three or four International construction companies. These companies place a Bid to the Owner. The bid is in two parts, the Technical Bid and the Commercial bid. Three companies may place a bid for the work and accordingly their bids may be slightly different in content. Accordingly, before the cost of each bid is opened the technical bids are passed through a process called “conditioning”. This process, by discussion, agreement and changes brings all the bids to basically the same technical content. Thereafter the commercial (cost in money) bids are opened to determine which cost is to be accepted.
Thereafter, the plant is constructed in accordance with the drawings provided to the construction company responsible for the overall construction.
In recent years, the paper P&ID has been superseded by electronic drawings and good practice, which has grown with the paper documentation, has not always been carried through to the electronic documentation. It is purely my view that the quality of the end product, the cost and safety have all been compromised by the rushed introduction of electronic design tools.
Project Engineering Challenge –Keep On Schedule, Keep In Budget, Keep It Safe and Keep it Green
So where does the Project Engineer fit in when carrying forward the design and construction whilst meeting the subject criteria??
The project engineer is basically responsible for a piece of paper named as the cost -time -resource (CTR) document. This document captures all the resource inputs, from all the disciplines, as to cost and schedule. It is the main job of the Project Engineer to keep the project moving along on time, within budget and to the specification. However, that simple statement means the Project Engineer is drawn into all aspects of project design and development across the project. Accordingly, the Project Engineer has to be able to discuss, understand and make judgements in agreement with the discipline engineers. The fact that the Discipline Engineers are generally strong willed and need strong leadership is a very determining factor in relation to the attributes needed by the average Project Engineer.
The Piping and Instrument Diagram (P&ID), example shown below, is the key document in the development of an energy project. There may be, in the order of, 350 similar drawings developed for a large petro-chemical plant. Loosely called “Pots and Pans”, all the equipment is laid out logically on the drawings to mimic the actual field layout being pursued. Note that it is good practice to place one major item of equipment on one P&ID together with an item or two of minor equipment. This to avoid the finally drawing being able to be read without the misreading of information due to being congested / illegible ( END )