You wouldn’t build a house without blueprints, a survey or using licensed contractors, right? Without the upfront evaluation and design you could encounter a number of issues that have the potential to negatively impact the project. So, why would you begin engineering, procurement and construction without a Front-End Engineering and Design or FEED study? Short answer, you wouldn’t…..or at least, shouldn’t.
A FEED study is designed to assist in producing all necessary technical documentation, validating hardware and software specifications, and accurately defining project scope. There are a number of short and long term benefits any project could see from a FEED study. Most of which directly correlates and circles back to maintaining timelines and avoiding negative impact on the projected budget.
Reduced Execution Costs Support Internal Funding
Often projects can hinge on a shoestring budget, and every penny counts when requesting internal funding. Incorrectly calculating cost has the potential to negatively impact decision making or progress. If material cost is overestimated, it’s easier for a facility to decline knowing that the identified cost isn’t in their immediate budget. If underestimated, could cause delays as material runs short and pushes the completion date out, impacting other deadlines, and ultimately reducing or delaying ROI.
When proper time and planning is taken to accurately identify the cost of critical componentry and measurable material, it’s less likely there will be any adjustment or changes needed as everything has been evaluated through data driven decision making. FEED helps mitigate the possibility of rework, in effect helping support the internal funding process and reducing execution costs over the length of the project.
Reduction of technical issues, schedule impact and associated costs
Hand-in-hand with the reduction of execution and lifecycle cost, the FEED process allows for a more complete iteration of the detail engineering and design schedule.
Just like identifying the correct material in model and quantity, the planned equipment layout and installation when part of the FEED process provides an earlier opportunity to identify potential technical issues that could impact the construction schedule.
Preemptively mitigating unforeseen changes to the schedule can keep it from slipping, maintaining the originally forecasted completion date, and help uphold the proposed budget.
A More Efficient Process and Plant Start-Up and Handoff
The proper preparation achieved through the FEED process provides a higher likelihood that the combination of reduced execution and life cycle costs coupled with the reduction of technical issues will accommodate an easier start-up.
When the time is taken upfront to account for and plan for potential challenges that might delay start-up, resulting in design and equipment changes, remedy inefficiencies, etc, it’s less likely issues will arise in the construction and installation phase ensuring initial start-up and ramping to full capacity is efficient as possible. A more efficient start-up means an easier handoff to the client, and often a better experience overall.
More Easily Identify and Mitigate Risk; Environmental, Health and Compliance
Unidentified risks in project planning can halt forward progress, extend critical deadlines, delay project completion, and drastically inflate the originally assessed budget.
Not finishing on time and over budget is never ideal and can potentially sour a working relationship, making it more difficult to get future projects from a client.
Risk evaluation, especially Health Safety and Environmental (HSE), is a large component of the FEED process and is intended to identify and mitigate potential risks of any kind that could negatively impact the project. Projects that have a FEED study completed tend to have fewer unknown variables that can manifest into risks as they have been preemptively mitigated, helping to minimize complications.
All Things Considered, Why Wouldn’t You?
While a FEED study isn’t an absolute guarantee that nothing will go wrong during engineering, procurement, and construction, it’s a step in the right direction.
This study, when done in advance, lessens the likelihood of any potential risk materializing into a reality, the chance of negatively impacting critical benchmarks, or causing the allocation of resources where they weren’t originally planned.
Knowing everything that’s potentially at risk, it would be irresponsible not to do everything in your power to ensure success at every level.