Project Management Services
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USSC Boiler

We are able to offer a comprehensive range of services for biomass boilers and thermal power stations. These include feasibility studies and conceptual design through to detailed design and project management. Our portfolio includes complete biomass boilers and biomass fired power stations. We work on greenfield projects as well as plant upgrades and most of the plant that we work on is installed in a co-generating environment. The cane sugar industry is a major user of our technology.

Safety - in construction and in operation - is paramount in everything we do.

These notes discuss some of the philosophies we bring to our project management services.


Project management is as important to the success of a project as good engineering. We aim to deliver the project in accordance with a budget and a programme that have been developed to reflect the requirements of the project and are in balance with its technical requirements. That is true whether we are managing our own work on the project - the engineering for instance - or managing the entire project for the Client.

Lifetime cost analysis is probably more important to development of a budget than pure capital cost considerations - unless there are cash flow considerations. Decision making also needs to consider the interactive nature of the project's timing, cost constraints and performance requirements, recognising that each project is unique with respect to all three of these key parameters. [See the short animation to the left.] It may be, for instance, that the completion date is critical, even if more expensive fast track construction techniques are required to achieve it.

We therefore work closely with our Clients in developing the optimum solution for each project.

In the final analysis though, our ability to influence the outcome of a project depends on our early involvement with its management. For instance, perhaps 80% of the capital cost of a well managed project has been determined by the end of conceptual design stage. Project Management must also be dynamic: able to analyse the effects of delays or changes, to predict the consequences for the project and to determine the best action to minimise them. That is because of the 'batch' nature of a project: very different from operational management and needing different management skills. Once the budget and programme have been developed, we therefore apply predictive management tools to ensure the success of the project.

Cost Management

Managing the cost of a project is equally important - and equally challenging. Our approach is to operate a phased system, again recognising the need for early management with predictive techniques such as Cost Effective Design Audits and Commitment Control.

CED Audit is a formalised design discipline that requires the design team to justify their design decisions in economic terms. A group, including the senior designers, the Project Manager and an Owners Representative, will typically meet three times during the early design phase. Each meeting takes the team closer to the Definitive Budget [or Cost Plan] which therefore reflects the principles established during the auditing process. It can thus be used to control everything from the detailed design phase onwards but for proper control any contingency must be separately identified and not included in the separate line items.

Expenditure is committed at order placement or contract award and cannot be controlled when invoices are received. Commitment control is a predictive technique that compares the proposed commitment with the definitive estimate. Any variation is therefore immediately identified and can be accommodated or contingency can be allocated where necessary.

Although project costs have been fixed earlier it is still essential for payments to be fully authorised. Primary checks are for confirmed receipt of the relevant goods or services so a good paper trail is required. Secondary checks are also important however and these include contractual details such as insurance and bond validity, back charges and, where appropriate, escalation calculations.

Schedule Management Schedule Management

Managing the project schedule requires sophisticated tools - but also an experienced project manager. We provide both.

Computer-assisted critical path analysis helps us to model the project timeline and then provides a tool for exploring the corrective actions to be taken should any activity or activities start to drift. We currently use MS Project for this aspect of our work. The software allows us to visualise what the effect of any change is.

The software is only as agood as the inputs however, so our corporate and individual experience in managing boiler projects is invaluable in ensuring that the initial modelling correctly reflects the range of disciplines and resources needed to design, procure, construct and commission a boiler and incorporates the relationships between them.

Procurement Management

Managing the procurement requirements of a project is a blend of engineering and project management and sometimes the two are in conflict, such as when a critical delivery date is looming but the works testing programme is not complete. We therefore use different people to expedite and to inspect, both reporting to the Project Manager through the relevant department.

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