Benefits of In-House Fabrication for Capital Projects
3/8/2022
Fabrication
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Each capital project is unique with specific scopes and requirements, and many have components and steps of fabrication, including piping, pressure vessels, modules, and assembly. Often, fabrication is performed directly on-site, which has the potential to lead to things such as rework and unforeseen weather conditions. However, these risks can be mitigated through the pre-fabrication process, which involves fabricating and assembling structural components at a separate factory or manufacturing site and transporting them to the construction site upon completion.

Some capital project contractors offer pre-fabrication services and have an in-house fabrication department. There are many benefits to utilizing these services over outsourcing fabrication to a third party, and more companies are beginning to include fabrication as a strategic part of their project plans.

Let’s take a closer look at how in-house fabrication supports capital projects and how teaming up with the right contractor can help ensure high-quality fabrication, reducing the risk of cost and schedule overruns.    

Benefits of In-House Fabrication in Capital Project Management

Having better control over project changes, budgets, and schedules is a preferred choice for every project owner. With in-house fabrication, project owners gain control over pre-construction steps and accomplish the three cornerstones of successful fabrication: safety, quality, and accuracy. 

The following are some of the key benefits of in-house fabrication that help devise innovative solutions to challenging designs across industries such as chemicals, oil and gas, manufacturing, and alternative energy.     

Better Control Over Project Schedule Through Advanced Planning

In-house fabrication shops offer more control over a project’s schedule. Because much of the work is done at the contractor’s location through advanced planning, work is performed in a more controlled environment and is unaffected by conditions such as weather that can cause schedule delays. As a result, there are fewer disruptions on-site. Expediting work in the shop is easier with fewer required resources as compared to expediting in the field, which takes longer and involves more manpower.

Reduced Costs

Compared to fabricating in the field, in-house fabrication potentially reduces direct costs, such as labor, materials, overhead, construction equipment, and subcontractors, as well as indirect costs, extended equipment durations, and necessary on-site supervision. With in-house fabrication, fewer indirect people are needed to perform daily functions as compared to fabricating in the field, ultimately costing project owners less in labor. It is estimated that in-house fabrication is up to 30% more cost-effective than fabricating in the field.

Consistent Quality

In-house fabrication with automated processes eliminates potential issues arising from manufacturing or welding defects and improves accuracy in equipment specifications, leading to higher quality products. Fabrication functions such as welding and piping can more easily be performed off-site versus on-site, which can decrease the project schedule and the amount of rework required. Some contractors also have in-house quality control teams to ensure consistent quality standards are being met across all phases of the project. 

Customization

In-house fabrication work with advanced technologies, such as pipe cutters, bevelers, advanced welding stations, and in some situations, laser scanning from the field, allows for the fabrication of high-quality, customized products designed to meet exact specifications and reduces production errors, thereby reducing the project schedule and permitting more time to make any necessary adjustments. This also allows for seamless installation on-site.

Flexibility

In-house fabrication offers the flexibility to accommodate design changes if any are needed and lets the project owner and contractor evaluate options and move forward quickly without impacting the construction schedule and alleviates possible disruptions on-site.

Efficient Execution Planning 

An engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contractor with in-house fabrication capabilities has prior knowledge and experience working with advanced equipment, machines, and technologies for high-specification fabrication work, such as precision CNC machining, component fabrication, welding fabrication, sheet metal fabrication, and others. This plays a key role in addressing any design challenges through innovative solutions and creativity while improving overall production efficiency without impacting the schedule.

Improved Communication

In-house fabrication facilitates direct communication among key stakeholders, including project owners, engineers, contractors, and workers, in the fabrication shop. At any given point, work progress updates can be shared with the key stakeholders, resulting in improvements in equipment design and installation and reduced lead times.

Established Procurement Partnership

In-house fabrication shops typically have multiple procurement resources that allow for the selection of the vendor that best fits the project owner’s wants and needs as well as the scope and timeline of the project. By working with trusted suppliers and managing critical vendor data, fabrication shops can ensure timely on-site delivery of fabricated equipment. 

Improved Productivity

The conventional stick-built approach involves scaffolding, frames for stabilizing materials, and additional rigging that directly impact the productivity of the workforce. In-house fabrication in a controlled environment that is strictly set up for equipment ensures faster welding, increasing productivity. 

Fewer On-Site Disruptions for the Project Owner

In-house fabrication eliminates instances of operation shutdowns due to equipment failure and weather conditions, thereby creating fewer on-site disruptions for project owners.

Teaming Up With the Right Contractor for In-House Fabrication Services

When looking for the in-house fabrication services of an EPC contractor, project owners need to consider critical information such as quality plans, work procedures, certifications, past production records, and turnover packages. 

The in-house fabrication shop at H+M Industrial EPC is outfitted with advanced and automated equipment, including a Lincoln Vernon Plasma Cutter, Jimmy Jammer semi-automated welding equipment, Miller pipe works machines, 2-10 ton overhead cranes, rollout positioners, and more. Spread across 12 acres of lay-down area for materials, our shops ensure fast-paced and accurate fabrication by deploying these multi-process machines while implementing automation through Spoolfab software. 

Our certified industrial fabrication services are set up with work procedures performing dedicated work scopes. All of our jobs have Inspection Test Plans (ITPs) to meet the requisite quality points and reference points for each project. With end-to-end services from fabrication to shipping, we ensure consistent, streamlined fabrication work of the highest quality.

About the Author

Want to Learn More About Project Management?

To find out more about the benefits of in-house fabrication in capital projects, contact us through our website today.

To find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of turnkey projects and how H+M Industrial EPC can meet your capital project needs, contact us through our website today.

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The H+M Industrial Team

For over three decades, we have provided best-in-class capital project management services to Energy and Chemical industries through our proven EPC approach. We are dedicated to providing trust, experience, and efficiency through all stages of engineering, procurement, and construction--on budget and on time.

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