Management And Maintenance Of Plant And Equipment Construction Essay

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The adopted construction project is Carmoney Water Treatment Works for the Northern Ireland Water Service which involves the upgrade of an existing Water Treatment Works situated in East Derry. The value of this project at Carmoney Water Treatment Works is worth £3.5 Million. This indicates the scale of the project. It is vitally important that proper project management and procedures are in place in order for the successful delivery of this project.

Farrans Construction Project

Carmoney Water Treatment Works is based on the east bank of the River Foyle of Derry and provides clean water for the residents of that area. It serves a population of approximately 90,000. The project will greatly improve the existing facilities allowing for development and growth well into the 21st century. The scheme is now well underway and is due for completion by spring 2011.

Figure 1: Carmoney Water Treatment Works constructed by Farrans

100318 Walls 5&6 Pre Pour 5.JPG

The aim of the project is to successfully upgrade the existing Carmoney Water Treatment Works within a cost limit and planned programme located near a main road. Part of the job means having to dig up the road. There is a new dual carriageway being constructed between Derry and the City of Derry airport. This project was brought forward to tie in with the road works being carried out at present instead of digging up a new dual carriageway at a later date.

The project at Carmoney Water Treatment Works consists of eight big water tanks over 40m long with the construction of channels between the water tanks using reinforced concrete. Farrans Water Division will be working closely with the Northern Ireland Water Service on this project.

The Project Manager will have the overall responsibility of this project from inception to completion whilst making sure that the Northern Ireland Water Service (client) requirements are being met in terms of programme and budget. In order to achieve this it will involve continuous planning and monitoring to ensure a successful project.

Introduction to Farrens

'Farrens Construction Ltd is the premier contractor, based in Northern Ireland whose turnover in construction related activities was over £200 million in 2009. Farrens are part of the Northstone (NI) Limited group, who in turn are a wholly owned subsidiary of CRH plc, the multi-national building materials group, which employs over 60,000 people world-wide and has an annual turnover of €21 billion'. (Farrens Construction Limited, ca 2010).

Farrans Water Division 'plan, design and deliver the replacement, reinforcement, rehabilitation of the infrastructure supplying communities, businesses and homes. (Farrans Comstruction Limited, ca 2010). To date Farrans Water Division has managed many successful Water Treatment Works throughout the north and south of Ireland. Within Farrens Water Division there is a dedicated management team which understands the needs and objectives of the water sector.

Procurement Method

Cooke and Williams (2009) state the procurement of a construction project requires a balance between time, quality and cost constrains. They continue that a critical eye needs to be kept on the client's requirements and the forecast budget and this necessitates effective briefings, design and cost control in relation to the final choice of procurement route.

The procurement method adopted at Carmoney Water Treatment Works is a design and build approach. This procurement sees the clients team (AECOM) designing the works and the contractor (Farrans) carrying it out. With design and build contracts most of the risk is transferred onto the construction team.

Form of Contract in Operation

New Engineering Contract (NEC) 3 Option C is the contract Northern Ireland Water Service (client) choose. Sir Michael Latham sees this contract as the forefront of best practice, becoming the first contract to meet all criteria of the UK Government's Achieving Excellence in Construction initiative.

New Engineering Contract (NEC) is essentially a family of contracts that facilitates the implementation of sound project management principles and practices as well as defining legal relationships. It is suitable for procuring a diverse range of works, services and supply spanning major framework projects through to minor works and purchasing of supplies and goods.

New Engineering Contract (NEC) 3 Option C was used at Carmoney Water Treatment Works and is a target cost contract with an activity schedule where the out-turn financial risks are shared between the client and the contractor in an agreed proportion.

The appendix shows an example of a New Engineering Contract (NEC) 3 Option C contract.

9.0 Control of Site Safety

Theory

Cooke and William (2009) state that it is generally accepted that good health and safety practice is part of good management and not a separate or additional consideration. They continue that good managers think about health and safety issues as a matter of course and integrate this into their planning and control strategies whilst good workers take the time to think about the consequences of their actions both for their own well-being and that of others.

The CDM Regulations (2004) indicate that employers owe a duty of care to their employees in relation to health and safety. They continue that employers must provide a safe place of work, safe plant and equipment, a safe system of work and provide safe and competent fellow employees. Therefore to maintain this duty of care it is important to implement a framework of health and safety management.

Health and Safety must be considered at every stage of the planning process from inception to completion and failing this may result in a loss of life or high claims. Also the relevant Risk Assessments must also be carried out for all parts of the project with the findings made known to all parties (clients, designers, contractors etc).

It is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that all regulations and procedures are being complied with. The role of the project manger will be to:

Understand and be responsible for the implementation of the company's health and safety policy

Cooperate the coordination of health and safety activities throughout all clients, contractors and sub-contractors working on the site

Appoint a member of staff to observe the standards of health and safety on site

Ensure that all relevant legislation is adhered to.

The overall Health and Safety rests with the principal contractor and the appointed manager over that site.

The key pieces of legislation which construction Health and Safety is managed is as follows:

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

The Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996.

All legislation must be on display for all who enter the site office.

Procedures employed by Farrans

Before construction work commenced on site, Northern Ireland Water Service had to ensure that Farrans being the principal contractor had a Health and Safety plan in place. The recently revised CDM Regulations in 2007 state that 'As well as appointing competent people, clients will need to take reasonable steps to check that there are suitable arrangements in place to manage the project safely, and that the arrangements are maintained throughout the project' (Ferguson, 2007).

The Health and Safety plan produced by Farrans for Northern Ireland Water Service consisted of arrangements that were in place to ensure:

The Health, Safety and Welfare of persons at work

The Health and Safety of those affected by persons at work

That construction risks are accounted for

According to Farrens Construction Limited (ca 2010) they comply with the current and applicable Health and Safety legislation; they also perform to the safety standards of the Occupational Health and Safety Management System Standard OHSAS 18001, which is an international standard, and Safe - T - Cert, which is a 'third party accredited health and safety scheme developed jointly by the Construction Employers Federation in Belfast and the Construction Industry Federation in Dublin. Safe-T-Cert is recognised under the 'Buildsafe' initiative in Northern Ireland and the 'Construction Safety Partnership' in the Republic of Ireland' (Construction Employers Federation, c.a. 2009). Farrans have also have put into practice their own 'CARES' Safety Management System.

Figure 1 Farrans Safety Structure Chart (Farrens Construction Limited, ca 2010)

Farrans' Health and Safety and Welfare Policy is attached as an Appendix, and outlines their aims and objectives as a company towards the health, safety and welfare of their employees and of the general public.

OHSAS 18001

The standard requires Farrans to take a preventative stance to Health and Safety incidences rather than a reactive one and therefore forces Farrans to promote a defined and structured Health and Safety management policy within the company.

There are 6 simple stages within OHSAS 18001 to ensuring that a Health and Safety management structure is in place. These are;

1. Produce an occupational Health and Safety policy

The policy must be authorised by the top management within the organisation, be appropriate to the organisation size and identified Health and Safety risks. Farrans' Heath and Safety policy is attached as an Appendix.

2. Create a system for Health and Safety risk management.

A procedure must be established to identify Health and Safety risks, assess their likelihood and impact and implement controls to minimise the effects.

The output from this procedure should result in the production of risk assessment documents. Farrans has a comprehensive library of these documents, but makes it a priority to update these assessments to each individual project and site.

3. Identify legal and other requirements

Farrans adopt a formal method to identify all legal and other Health and Safety requirements that may apply to certain project types. This is the responsibility of the Health and Safety director and Health and Safety officers.

4. Set objectives

Once the risks and legal requirements have been identified, objectives need to be set for the reduction and elimination of Health and Safety risks. Systems must be put in place to ensure that Farrans are complying with all of the legal requirements set out by the Health and Safety executive.

5. Implement management programs to achieve the objectives.

One or more management procedures are implemented by Farrans. As a requirement for the OHSAS 18001, Farrans must adopt a 'who, how and when' system to ensure that the procedures are carried out effectively.

The procedures are reviewed by the Health and Safety director at regular, planned intervals and modified if required to allow for changes in operation within the organisation.

6. Monitor and measure.

In order to ensure that the performance of the occupational Health and Safety system is meeting the requirements of the standard Farrans monitors and measures the performance on a regular basis. This is done through a number of site practices.

Records are kept to enable Farrans to provide evidence of the procedures in operations. These records are continually assessed at monthly management meetings at Farrans head office to ensure that the procedures and improved.

SAFE - T - CERT

A Safe-T-Cert is awarded to companies who demonstrate their commitment to Health and Safety. With Farrans being a Northern Irish company, who do a lot of work all over Ireland, they chose to become certified in this initiative which is only recognised in Ireland. By providing evidence of a Health and Safety management structure Farrans were awarded this certificate. In obtaining this it involved interviews with senior management, inspection of documentation and Health and Safety recording and site visits in order to obtain accreditation. Being a certified member of Safe-T-cert is another accreditation that Farrans take a practical approach towards Health and Safety.

CARES

Consider Accidents Recognise Everyone's Safety (CARES) is a Farrans idea to further promote Health and Safety on their sites. It informs everyone on site of their obligation to Health and Safety, as well as everyone involved in the construction project, and the public.

Safety Sam Scheme

Farrans vision is 'to ensure the safety of each other and those who work alongside them by operating an injury free and healthy workplace which protects the safety of the public. Farrans believe that the awareness of Health & Safety should commence with the youngest members of the Community and do this using our Safety Sam Scheme'. (Farrens Construction Limited, ca 2010).

Site Procedures

A number of procedures take place on site at varying times during the day to promote Health and Safety of employees related to the construction project and visitors. These are required in order to gain certification of OHSAS 18001 and Safe-T-Cert.

Site Signage

Signage is extremely important on site. There is one located at each entrance onto the construction project which outlines the Health and Safety rules of the site, main contractor, key-supply chain and number of days without an accident. These rules take into account personal protection equipment (PPE) requirements and the general outline of site rules. No one must enter onto the site unless they obey the rules to these requirements such as wearing the appropriate PPE, including hard hat, steel toe cap boots and a high visibility vest. Signs are also used on site to identify areas that are hazardous such as open excavations etc.

Inductions

Farrans' policy requires every person entering the site to undergo a site induction carried out by the site engineer to give a brief outline of the construction project, outline the safety procedures and site rules.

All site operatives must also produce their CSR cards. It is a policy of Farrans to not allow any person on site that does not have a CSR card. On production of the CSR card a copy is taken and kept on site in the mangers office to form part of the Health and Safety file. It is important to take note of the expiry date of the card to ensure that a card does not expire during the person's time on site and if it does expire then the person will be asked to leave the site until they have completed a one day refresher course.

Toolbox and Daily Task Talks

It is common practice to complete a toolbox talk once or twice a week with each sub-contractor on the Carmoney Water Treatment Works project as set out by Farrans management and again given by the site engineer. These talks are based around hazardous activities to highlight the dangers of using the power equipment as well as information on how to operate the piece of equipment safely. All personnel who have been involved in the talk must sign a toolbox talk form to confirm that they have been informed of the dangers and have been made aware on how to operate the equipment correctly.

Method Statements

Method statements are a vitally important part of Farrans' Health and Safety control procedures. The method statement specifies exactly how you should control the hazards and risks associated with the works.  Farrans do not allow a sub contractor to start any work onsite until they have received a copy of their method statements and risk assessments. The appendix shows a method statement/risk assessment register which is used to organise all the assessments that Farrans keep in their Health and Safety file.

Farrans also had to provide their own method statement and risk assessment as part of the pretender Health and Safety plan for the project. This is kept in the manager's site office with sub contractor's methods statements added to it.

Plant Operation

At Farrans a copy of license certificates of any person who is operating machinery on the construction site is required by the project manager and filed away in the Health and Safety file with monthly inspections to highlight if any licenses have expired. In this case if a licence has expired the operative will not be allowed to operate the machinery until a new certificate has been received by the manager. All plant belonging to any sub contractors must also be accompanied with an inspection certificate and insurance details.

Site Inspections

Frequent inspections and review of safety control procedures are a key part of Farrans Health and Safety control procedures. There are a number of Health and Safety inspections that are carried out at regular intervals throughout the construction phase of the project to include daily, weekly, fortnightly and on an annual basis.

Risk Assessments

Risk assessments have to be carried out before any work commences on site. The risk assessments identify various works, such as shuttering, pouring concrete, working at heights etc. To identify the various hazard involved the works are assessed. These risks are then rated according to the likelihood of them happening. This is a way of ensuring that everyone is aware of the risks involved and to encourage safe working to ensure that they do not happen. Risk assessments are required by Farrans before a sub contractor can start work onsite and stored in the site managers office in the Health and Safety file.

Onsite Facilities

This is another part of Farrans Health and Safety policy. This takes into account the welfare of site staff. It is Farrans responsibility to provide certain amenities on site by law to include hot and cold running water and toilet facilities as well as a canteen hut. It is Farrans policy to provide the best welfare facilities on all of their sites. On the Carmoney Water Treatment Works Farrans have a canteen located on site which has electricity, heating, and hot and cold running water. There is also a first aid kit available on site located in the site manager's office. Toilet facilities are also available on site as well as a drying room, to drip dry wet clothing during break etc.

An employee of Farrans is responsible for the cleaning of the canteen and toilet facilities on a daily basis. These facilities are inspected each week by the manager and then again monthly by the site safety officer.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Farrans have adopted many different Health and Safety standards within their company. They have implemented Safe-T-cert credentials, OHSAS 18001 set of standards and the company based initiative of 'CARES'. This illustrates that Farrans' are commitment to promoting Health and Safety on all their sites.

Farrans Health and Safety procedures involve continual assessment, monitoring, review and improvements to their Health and Safety standards through risk assessments, site inspections etc.

Constant education of site staff and sub contractors adds to the awareness of the dangers involved with working on construction sites. Farrans excellent Health and Safety record to date is an example of how the Health and Safety procedures carried out within Farrans have been successful.

To conclude, the overall approach to Health and Safety at Farrans is excellent with little room for improvement.

10.0 Handover and Commissioning

10.1 Theory

Commissioning

The commissioning process takes place before the handover process to ensure everything is ready for occupation and use. Any works outstanding under the contract should be identified and documented so that there is a clear understanding of the work still to be completed as part of the project.

British Standards Part 4 (2006), states that the process involves the commissioning, testing and approving of all the mechanical, electrical and control systems in the product. They continue that 'the output from the commissioning process is the mechanical and electrical systems operating to specification and all necessary testing and approval documentation in place. The specific deliverables from the commissioning process should be defined as an output from the detailed design process and should be set out in appropriate specifications and in the construction contract. The commissioning process should be carefully scheduled and the schedule should be carefully integrated with the construction schedule. Adequate time should be allowed for the commissioning process. The time allowance should be reviewed regularly and especially at control points.

The contractor should agree the detailed commissioning processes with those members of the project team responsible for specifying the commissioning requirements. As appropriate, the designers or a commissioning specialist should be engaged to oversee the commissioning process on behalf of the client. (British Standards Part 4, 2006).

British Standards Part 4 (2006) continues that the operator should be invited to be fully involved in the commissioning process to witness at first hand that the product has been properly commissioned. They continue that the project management control process should be applied to the commissioning process to provide control.

Handover

Once the construction works have reached practical completion, handover from the contractor to the client can occur. From this time on the client takes the responsibility for the project although a period of time for the contractor to rectify defects is normally allowed prior to finalisation of the contract.

The British Standards (2006) tell us that the handover process involves the transfer of the product or facility from the project team to the operator. The output of the handover process is the product satisfactorily transferred to the operator, functioning as specified with all defects satisfactorily cleared. The handover process should be fully discussed, agreed and documented between the project team, client and operator. The handover process should cover the handover of all necessary operating and maintenance documentation and spares, spares schedules, maintenance schedules, etc. Attention is drawn to the legal requirement to provide a health and safety file.

Adequate opportunity should be provided for the operator to become familiar with the facility, and adequate training should be provided. The requirement for familiarization and training should be identified as part of the detailed design process and should be included, as necessary, in the construction contracts. (British Standards Part 4, 2006).

The handover process according to the British Standards, Part 4 (2006) should allow for the joint inspection of the completed facility by appointed representatives of the operator and the project team. They claim that any omissions or defects should be agreed and recorded. A schedule for rectifying any defects should be agreed and documented between the operator and the project team. They continue that where a defect is the responsibility of a construction contractor, the contractor should be notified using the contract administration procedures set out in the construction contract, and the contractor is then responsible for remedying the defect in accordance with that contract. The handover process according to the British Standards, Part 4 (2006) should ensure that the operator puts in place all appropriate care and maintenance contracts. Checks should be made to ensure that the care and maintenance programmes put in place accord with the recommendations made by the installation contractors and suppliers to preserve the benefit of any warranties and guarantees. They continue that special attention should be paid to matters of insurance to ensure that there is no lapse of insurance as the facility transfers from contractor to operator, along with the insurable risks. The project management control processes should be applied to the handover process to provide control, and should be closed out as full handover occurs.

The construction contractor is responsible for developing a commissioning and handover plan to ensure that all commissioning and handover requirements are addressed.

Procedures employed by Farrans

As the works are ongoing at Carmoney Water Treatment Works we are unable to observe the handover and commissioning stage of the project.

However, going by previous projects in the past with Farrans it is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that the testing of the systems is carried on the project.

Normally on the date of practical completion Farrans project manager ensures that:

A completion Certificate is drafted, signed and distributed to all relevant parities

A record of handover form is signed by all relevant parties

All the relevant activities set out in the handover plan have been completed.

At Farrans all the testing and commissioning is carried out to ensure that the project:

Is safe

Meets the requirements of the design and specifications

Provides as installed information to enable adequate visual inspection, safe maintenance and correction of faults

Has completed insurance inspections.

The witnessing of the tests on and off site shall be defined by the project and maintenance teams. As general rule at Farrans the level of witnessing is based on the following criteria:

Major projects - 100% of all systems, equipment, plant and parts of the system

Minor projects - 10% one in ten tests is required to be witnessed.

Leading up to the handover stage, the project manager will obtain operation and maintenance manuals ensuring all as installed drawings are included enabling maintenance staff to understand and maintain the system.

The project manager will agree with the contract administrator the period in which the defects or outstanding works are to be completed. Every so often the completion of all defects or outstanding works will be reviewed.

Prior to the termination of the defects period, the project manager ensures that arrangements are in place for the designers, contractors and all other relevant parties to finally inspect the works. After satisfactory completion of all defects or outstanding works the project manager will arrange for the issue of a defects notification form and authorize the release of all retention bonds etc.

At the end of the defects period the client becomes fully responsible for the new project and in the eyes of the law the contract between Farrans and the client has ended.

Conclusion and Recommendations

As Farrans continue to work on the ongoing Water Treatment Works at Carmoney it was difficult to assess the handover and commissioning stage of the project.

However it was assessed going by previous projects that Farrans carried out in the past on commissioning and handover.

To conclude, going by previous projects that Farrans have carried out, the overall approach to commissioning and handover at is good.

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