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Maintenance and refurbishment

Conference: African Utility Week
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Presenter: Gerhard Holtshauzen
Abstract: Presented by Gerhard Holtshauzen at African Utility Week

Refurbishment of old plant has many hidden technical challenges, but the finalization of the final scope of work, execution of the scope and commissioning of the plant is equally important to the success of any refurbishment intervention. The initial contract strategy for a specific project then also determines what successful approach to take. Typical contracting methods are:

  • Cost reimbursement
  • Fixed Price
  • Target pricing

As part of site establishment the refurbishment team’s technical leg needs to be a full complement to immediately start with review of documentation (if available), inspections, tests and recommendations. The major challenge for any company will be to get the correct skills on the team within the short period from contract award to site establishment. Getting a competent team assembled in a remote geographical area is often more challenging. Items to consider in the assembly of such a team are:

  • Permanent vs. Labour broking
  • Floating crew with “runners”
  • Specialists (internal & external)

The final scope of work needs to be challenged in line with the refurbishment user requirement specification, with cognisance of legislation and environmental changes that will influence technical and commercial decisions. The effectiveness of the scope clarification and challenging team has a major impact on the completion date of the specific project. The sooner instructions can be issued, the less pressure at the finalization stages of the refurbishment.
With the execution of the refurbishment scope the success of the work done hinges on the following points:

  • Inspection
  • Planning of activities
  • Scheduling of activities
  • Quality Assurance and Quality Control
    • Quality of data packs
    • Relevant history (exemptions, etc.)
  • Importance of future / next maintenance intervention

The contract strategy for the commissioning of the plant has major influences on the effectiveness of this activity. The umbrella vs. fragmented approach will be discussed and be made part of one of the discussion themes.

In conclusion the lessons learnt from the refurbishment of an electricity generating utility will be presented and discussed.