Construction | Capital Project Word of the Week - February 2021
February 1, 2021
Fabrication & Construction
published by
Archie Alexander
Director of Construction

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Capital Project Word of the Week - Construction

Thank you for visiting our Capital Project Word of the Week website feature. Our theme this month is Construction. We hope this provides you with some meaningful information about our industry and the services we provide. Each week we will be adding a new Word of the Week to the page. Come back frequently to see our new additions!

Week of February 22, 2021

Construction Work Plan

[kuhn-struhk-shuhn ] [ work ] [ plan ]

To many project related personnel, the Level III Project schedule represents the most granular vision of the documented execution plan for the successful delivery of a Project.  A Construction Work Plan is the mechanism through which construction translates the Level III schedule activities into small pieces of work, details the work to be completed in a given period of time, and communicates the number of personnel required to achieve the work plan.


A Level III schedule is typically detailed at an area and discipline level.  For example, a Level III schedule activity for piping installation may be – “Install FW Piping in Area 100.”  A construction work plan may hone this Level III schedule activity to a definition similar to – “Erect, Weld, and Support100% of Isometric 123, using 4 piping personnel, a crane operator, to be complete this week.”  The process of creating a Construction Work Plan not only refines the detail of Level III schedule activities, but it also integrates critical requirements for successful execution including, but not limited to, materials, personnel, construction equipment, scaffolding, and coordination with third parties to support successful plan execution.  

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Week of February 1, 2021

Hydrostatic Leak Test

[hahy-druh-stat-ik ] [ leek ] [ test ]

A Hydrostatic Leak Test commonly referred to as a “hydro-test,” is a non-destructive examination method used to ensure tightness (verify integrity) of a container.  In Industrial Construction ,hydro-testing is required by design codes. Owner specifications may also expand the requirements above and beyond the code minimum requirements.  A hydro-test is typically conducted using clean water, however other sources such as firewater or seawater may be used depending on the application.  During a hydro-test, the container is filled with water, then additional pressure may be added to a closed container (such as piping) utilizing a pump, and finally, the pressure is maintained for a specified period of time.  A pressure drop is the typical way a leak is found, but for open-top containers, such as tanks, leaks would typically be found through a visual examination.


The most widespread hydro-testing performed in our business is on piping systems, which are routinely governed by ASME B31.3 or B31.4 design codes.  The test pressure requirements typically range from 1.0x the operating pressure up to 1.5x the design pressure of the piping.  The amount of time the pressure is maintained typically ranges from 10 minutes, up to 8 hours, but may be longer in certain circumstances.


Hydro-testing is largely considered to be the safest method of pressure testing, due to water's unique characteristic as a nearly incompressible fluid.  The inherent dangers of pressure testing with a compressible gas, such as air, are due to the compressible and therefore expansive nature of the same under failure.

Week of February 8, 2021


[kon-struhkt - uh-bil-i-tee ]

Constructability is the process through which we insert construction knowledge and experience into the earlier lifecycle phases of a Project.  This is done to incorporate construction considerations in the planning, layout, design, and procurement of a project to optimize, or better enable, overall project execution success and field delivery.

Success in a constructability program may be measured by HSE improvements, increased quality, reductions in costs, and fewer schedule delays amongst other measurables.


Key example considerations in the constructability process may include:

·        Simplified and Standardized Design

·        Construction Technologies

·        Modular or Pre-Assembly Designs

·        Operations Driven Schedule

·        Accessibility

·        Specifications and Procedures

·        Weather Considerations

The highest ability to influence project cost is during conceptual engineering and design.  As a project advances, this ability decreases, and the opportunity to incorporate construction experience into these phases decreases as well. Constructability is a continuous process of learning and development, with the vision of perpetually getting better!

Week of February 15, 2021

Mechanical Completion

[muh-kan-i-kuhl ] [ kuhm-plee-shuhn ]

Many industrial construction projects end for the Contractor at Mechanical Completion.  The contract and schedule are satisfied at this critical milestone.  Mechanical Completion is when construction has completed the work, in accordance with the contract to the extent required for the Client to begin commissioning activities.  In most cases, the only remaining construction work performed after Mechanical Completion will be minor punch list work that does not interfere with start-up. Some examples of those items include paint touch up, site cleanup, tagging of items, scaffold removal. etc.


Mechanical Completion may be simply defined as the end of the construction phase of a Project.  Post-construction phases typically include commissioning, which may be broken down further into a pre-commissioning phase.  At the end of the commissioning phase, the project is ready for start-up and subsequently, operation.

About the Author
Archie has 18+ years of industrial EPC experience in the Refining, Petrochemical and LNG industries. He has worked on projects across four continents, through widely varying conditions with multiple nationalities and languages. His responsibilities ranged from Field Engineering on maintenance projects to the Construction Management of new power and utility units comprising 5,000,000 man-hours and 1,000 craft personnel. His experience includes the review and development of SOW and contract documents, constructability input through FEED and detail design, construction estimate and schedule development, and Level 4 construction execution planning. Previous experience includes 15+ years at CB&I.

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