Article #502 Assessing the Readiness of Contractors for the Commissioning and Startup Stage on Capital Construction Projects

Successful capital projects delivery requires thorough preparation and accurate execution during the planning, design, procurement, construction, commissioning, and startup project life cycle stages. Although much has been written on the stages of design, procurement, and construction, nevertheless the commissioning and startup stage of any capital project is as important as all other stages. It is at this stage that the project is handed over to operations to start realizing the benefits for which the investment was approved and made for executing the project.

Regardless of the capital project type and whether it was a commercial, residential, retail, oil and gas, infrastructure among others, the commissioning and startup stage is usually carried out over a relatively short period providing that all building systems have been accurately performed and integrated. Once commission and start-up activities commence on site, there is little opportunity left within the project schedule for rework or recovery from flaws.

Successful commissioning and startup (CSU) require having a standardized approach to the preparation, organization, and execution of commissioning, completion, start-up, and project-to-asset transfer activities on their projects. This will help to achieve consistency in the definition, division of responsibilities, and execution across all projects.

Having a comprehensive assessment of the contractor’s readiness for the commissioning and startup stage is very critical to determine what actions need to be taken to treat the threats of having a failed commissioning and startup. The assessment will be carried out for the different attributes required for successful commissioning and startup which can be grouped into their relevant categories. For example, the Petroleum Development of Oman (PDO) uses the nine categories of commissioning submission, commissioning organization, commissioning plan, commissioning deliverables, company experience, safety in commissioning, the environment in commissioning, and startup and initial operation.

This assessment will help the project owner as well as the contractor to address the commissioning and startup attributes that had medium and low scoring and for which need to be rectified by the contractor. Those attributes will be scored on a scale of 10 where a score from 10 and 6 is considered as a high score, a score from 5 to 3 as a medium score, and below 3 is a low score. Of course, those attributes had different weight factors depending on their importance to the overall assessment.

502 1

To ensure that there is a comprehensive yet formal process for carrying out this commissioning and startup assessment, a template needs to be created to capture the assessment scoring by predefined guidelines on how those attributes are to be scored. Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb which is also used to use many business processes needed to manage capital construction projects, the Contractor Assessment for Commissioning and Startup template can be created. PMWeb visual custom form builder will be used to score each commissioning and startup attribute on a score of 10. The template will detail the ranges for high, moderate, and low scoring with an explanation of how to read those ranges for each attribute.

PMWeb visual custom form builder also allows the organization to set the permission rights to who can score each attribute item in the assessment template as well as for setting the weight values. This is a very important function as it promotes governed collaboration between those individuals that had been assigned to complete the assessment. PMWeb allows setting the access rights to individuals as views and edits to each defined field.

The contractor commissioning and startup assessment template can be attached with all documents that support the response made to the assessed attributes. Those could include a schedule, resources histogram, insurance certificates, and other documents to ensure that the assessment scoring was done comprehensively and completely.

To establish accountability in completing the contractor’s commissioning and startup assessment, PMWeb allows assigning a workflow for the assessment template. The workflow will be aligned with the access rights given to the individuals who will be assigned to complete the commissioning and startup assessment by mapping the desired sequence for completing the assessment as well as the review and approval of the completed assessment. The workflow will capture the details of the submit, review, and approve tasks associated with the assessment. The workflow will also capture details of all comments made as well as the input of individuals who were invited to give their input on the assessment.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services, and project management information systems to over 200 projects with a total value over the US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality, and shopping malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication, and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker on topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 500 articles on project management and information systems featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.


Contact us