The front-end engineering design phase, also known as FEED or basic engineering, is essential for laying the foundation for successful capital project execution. While FEED is often utilized to ensure stakeholders are making informed investment decisions by providing an accurate cost estimate, a successfully executed FEED will also result in a robust scope definition, budget, and timeline. By investing in FEED, project risks are identified early, providing greater cost and schedule certainty.
Project owners are likely to see benefits such as:
- Reduced life cycle costs.
- Improved risk identification and mitigation.
- Reduced technical schedule and cost risks.
- Reduced time to achieve plant or process start-up, commissioning, and turnover.
- Reduced health, safety, and environmental (HSE) risks.
FEED is the third phase of the stage gate process (FEL 3/FEP 3) that follows a feasibility study or conceptual design. The FEED process can be performed standalone to allow project owners to competitively bid out detail engineering and design and construction. Alternatively, FEED can be integrated into a formal stage gate process.
A properly executed FEED will:
- Produce detailed engineering packages.
- Evaluate any alternative design options that may improve execution efficiency and improve return on investment (ROI).
- Improve safety outcomes by conducting hazardous operations reviews.
- Support internal funding approval processes.
- Produce a detailed framework that can be referenced and checked against during project execution.
The FEED process produces many valuable deliverables, typically separated out by discipline. These deliverables can be referenced and leveraged throughout the entire project life cycle. Here is a look at some of the most common mechanical and piping FEED deliverables you are likely to come across for capital projects within industries such as energy, chemicals, and terminal and logistics.
Mechanical and Piping FEED Deliverables List
Every capital project is unique. The level of detail for mechanical and piping FEED deliverables depends upon factors such as the scope of work, project owner requirements, project drivers, provided items, project characteristics, and risk. While it is important to recognize that FEED deliverables can vary from project to project, there are several common deliverables you will encounter during FEED. A comprehensive list of common mechanical and piping FEED deliverables is detailed below.
- Plot Plan: A plot plan is one of the first deliverables developed during the FEED phase. It is a top-view scaled drawing of a facility. An overall plot plan should indicate aspects such as major equipment, road/access ways, and both true and plant north. On the plot plan, every element will be identified by numbers and letters, per company nomenclature standards. A detailed plot plan focuses on a given area, including additional details such as coordinates for each item. These plans are utilized across engineering disciplines and should be consistent across project teams to ensure continuity. This can be used as a basis of design for aspects such as foundations, fire protection, area class rating, pipe routing, and structural steel.
- Equipment Arrangement Plan: An equipment arrangement plan, or equipment arrangement drawing, provides a visual representation of the top- and side-view of a plant or facility. The arrangement should take into account aspects such as access for the construction crew, maintainability and operability, process considerations, hazardous materials, future facility expansions, future removal or replacement of critical equipment, and equipment grouping, among other considerations.
- Utility Requirements: Utility requirements will include a list of available utilities at the facility (e.g. air, water, power, hydrogen, etc.). If the project includes adding new infrastructure to the facility, it is necessary to know what that infrastructure will require from a utility perspective. For example, if the project requires a new pump to be added, the utility requirements must be determined to evaluate how it fits into existing utilities.
- 3D Model or Piping Plans: During the FEED phase of a capital project, this deliverable will either be a FEED-level 3D model (not typically a detailed model) of the project area of the facility or a piping plan. Depending on the level of detail required from the project owner, the piping plan could be a section view of a pipe rack showing how much piping is in the rack or a very high-level visualization of where the pipe will be routed over an existing plot plan.
- Line List: A line list, or line schedule, is a document or database used to allow process and mechanical engineering teams to communicate when designing piping in a plant or facility. This will contain information such as line identifiers/line numbers, start and endpoints of lines, material(s) that will be flowing through the piping, piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID) reference numbers, process conditions (e.g. pressure, temperature, fluid phase), insulation type and thickness, calculation requirements (e.g. pipe stress analysis), piping specifications and piping codes, etc.
- Tie-In List: A tie-in is the location and specification for any piping connection to the existing facility. A tie-in list is an important document used to communicate the necessary information from an engineering team to the construction contractor. Typically, tie-in lists will state the type of tie-in (flange, hot tap, stub in), where the tie-in is located (coordinates), and any reference drawings (isometrics, P&IDs, location plan, etc.).
- Global Material List: A global material list will include all materials that will be purchased as part of the project. It is often referred to as a Bill of Materials (BOM) or Material Takeoff (MTO).
- Equipment List: An equipment list will include all mechanical tagged equipment items. This should include the equipment type, the material of construction, process conditions, weights, and P&IDs. This document is often used as a basis for other disciplines, such as instrumentation and electrical. For example, the electrical team will use the equipment list to create a load list.
- Equipment Data Sheets: Equipment data sheets are used to communicate the design conditions and parameters for a given piece of equipment. This document often begins with process engineers during the FEED phase. From here, it is then shared with suppliers to get pricing on the equipment and is later used to purchase the equipment. This document provides a snapshot of what equipment is being requested and eventually provided to the end-user. The steps in a typical life cycle for a data sheet are as follows:
- Process Equipment Data Sheets (for design): Process engineers will fill out a data sheet with all requirements necessary to satisfy the process at hand.
- Mechanical Equipment Data Sheets (for inquiry): Mechanical engineers receive the process information and add mechanical-specific information such as materials or codes.
- Mechanical Equipment Data Sheet (for purchase): Mechanical engineers will make updates based on the “for purchase” condition of the equipment.
- Bid Tab for Major Equipment: In the FEED phase, equipment is typically not purchased. Instead, the contractor will obtain quotes for equipment. A bid tab, or a technical tab, is a form of all requirements that shows which vendors meet the requirements, and, consequently, which vendors are acceptable.
- Vendor Data Sheets: Vendor data sheets are documents developed by a vendor or manufacturer, summarizing the performance and other technical characteristics of a given part, component, or piece of equipment. This can include drawings, manuals, tables, diagrams, and any other relevant data, documentation, and information.
Early and/or optional mechanical and piping FEED deliverables may include:
- 3D Scan: 3D laser scanning, also referred to as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) or High Definition Surveying (HDS), is the process of capturing, mapping, and visualizing the 3D geometry of existing site infrastructure and existing plant conditions. This process provides a highly accurate (typically accurate up to +/- 1/16 inch) representation of the facility that can be used in a variety of ways. Using the line of a laser light, the physical shapes of an area are gathered by creating “point clouds” of data from the surface of an object. The point clouds gathered during the scanning process become a database of connection points in a 3D coordinate system. After the scan is complete, it is processed and registered on a coordinate system and loaded into a design software. This allows designers to design around any obstructions, match up tie-ins with the existing facility, and replace equipment or pipe with minimal impact to the existing facility, among other benefits.
- Pipe Stress Analysis: Stress analysis is utilized to determine if there is a possibility of failure in various engineering components. This practice is designed to determine what type and intensity of various external forces a given component can tolerate. The objective of pipe stress analysis is to obtain a safe, code-compliant layout for piping elements while ensuring the prevention of the following circumstances:
- ~Pipe stress in excess of those permitted by the referenced codes and standards
- ~Leakage at joints
- ~Excessive forces and moments applied to connected equipment
- ~Excessive stresses in the supporting or restraining elements
- ~Unintentional disengagement of piping from its supports
- ~Interference resulting from thermal expansion or contraction of the piping system of connected equipment
- ~Resonance due to externally imposed vibrations or fluid-induced vibrations
- ~Excessive sag in piping spans
- ~Fatigue failure
- Demolition Drawings: If demolition is involved, this is typically identified during FEED. A demo drawing is a visual representation of the region of the facility that needs to be demoed (e.g. a component needs to come out or an entire line needs to be demoed).
H+M Industrial: Planning Ahead to Keep You Ahead
Whether your capital project requires a formal stage gate approval process, or you are looking to improve project outcomes by investing in FEED, H+M Industrial EPC has all the in-house tools, resources, and capabilities to help guide your project to the best project decisions.