Existing Facility Project Infrastructure Evaluations and Requirements

October 20, 2022
Front-end Planning
Detail Engineering & Design

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Regardless of project size, if it involves installing a piece of equipment in your existing facility, four important project steps should be completed prior to the Execution Stage (beginning at Detail Design). Getting there often requires Front-End Engineering to develop the following necessary information:

  1. The completion of Project Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs)
  2. Have Equipment Drawings in hand
  3. Preliminary Layout of the Equipment
  4. An ”Infrastructure Survey” to determine that the plant can support the scope.  

This article focuses on the Infrastructure Survey.

Evaluate The Existing Facility Project Infrastructure For Capital Projects

For our purposes, we’ll define “Infrastructure” as the “power, utilities, roads, buildings, steel structures and IT/controls systems that already exist at a facility.” Most projects that are being implemented at existing facilities assume some level of infrastructure that will be used for the new project. It is essential that the required infrastructure is identified and that its availability and capacity are confirmed to be adequate for the new project.

If it is discovered that the utility, power, pipe supports, etc., do not have the capacity for the new project, then the project scope must be modified to reflect the addition, or the scope should be revisited to see if there are alternative solutions.

The “Infrastructure Survey” is simply a quality assurance method for assessing the level of consideration for infrastructure-related scope items. Did the necessary infrastructure questions get asked and resolved?

Why Is an Infrastructure Survey Important?

Ideally, you will identify existing facility project infrastructure through a gap analysis as part of front-end planning. Where infrastructure needs are identified, such as the need for additional power, cooling water, steam, nitrogen, etc., then the necessary additions must be added to the scope and cost expectations.

If Front-End Planning evaluations of existing infrastructure are not available or have not been done, then it is up to the party responsible for the Execution Phase scope to ensure that the necessary systems exist with available capacity. In addition to mere “existence at capacity,” it is also important to know the future plans for spare capacity of the utility or infrastructure item.  Sometimes, projects can “compete” for the spare capacity unknowingly.  It is important to understand other current projects that may need to use the same service.

Infrastructure Survey: Real-World Scenarios 

Below are a few real-world examples of projects that have encountered “complications” from poor infrastructure availability assumptions:

  • Assuming existing pipe racks are sufficient for routing new piping can be problematic without physical verification of the availability of space and supports along the necessary route.
  • Modifying a system for a new product mix without consideration for increased vent load to the thermal oxidizer can cause problems. It’s very important to make sure that the shared resources work for the specific project case.
  • Implementing a new compressor scope while assuming power availability and forgetting to account for other projects in progress that will consume the available load can be the cause for scope growth. An Infrastructure Survey causes us to stop and think, “Have we thoroughly considered power availability?”

Existing Facility Project Infrastructure: Common Checklist

A basic “Infrastructure Survey” checklist incorporated into your Scope Readiness assessment is an easy way to spur the thought processes about the availability of utility or infrastructure resources.

Have Your Teams Checked These Items?

The list below represents some of the questions that should be asked about infrastructure and utility availability prior to the project’s Execution Phase.

Process Vents:

  • Have we checked the availability, adequacy, and capacity of vent systems?
  • Have we checked the availability, adequacy, and capacity for abatement technology?
    - Flares?
    - Thermal Oxidizers (TO)?

Steel Structures and Pipe Racks:

  • For existing structures, is the capacity sufficient?
  • For existing structures, is there enough space?
  • Have we identified the existence of a pipe rack along the routing?
  • At the required levels, is there enough space in existing pipe racks?

Foundations:

  • For existing foundations, is the capacity sufficient?
  • Have we verified the availability of underground drawings?
  • Have soil reports verified suitability? 

Electrical/Power:

  • Have we identified:
    - the power feed source?
    - the electrical classification of the planned area?
    - the routing and method of cable runs?
  • Is the available power sufficient for the project requirements?

Control Systems:

  • Have we identified the process control system?
  • Is existing input/output (I/O) sufficient?

Site:

  • Will new roads need to be installed? 
  • Have we identified the sufficiency of:
    - Existing containment?
    - Existing drainage?
  • (If necessary) Have we identified that these items support the project?
    - Laydown 
    - Construction trailer
    - Receiving areas

Utilities:

  • Have we checked these heat transfer utilities for available capacity and temperature requirements?
    - Steam
    - Hot oil
    - Cooling water
    - Others
  • Have we checked these items for available capacity and pressure requirements?
    - Instrument air
    - Nitrogen system(s)
  • Have we identified the adequacy of the existing wastewater system?

Process Safety:

  • Have we identified the adequacy of the existing fire protection system?

H+M Industrial EPC: Expertise For Your Capital Project 

Evaluations over the existing facility project infrastructure are important for the Detail Design phase to proceed without trouble. H+M Industrial EPC helps execute your capital projects smoothly and efficiently with our engineering procurement construction (EPC), project delivery system (PDS), or design-bid-build (DBB) approaches.

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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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