The construction product in the petrochemical industry has an increasing trend toward large scale operations with greater complexity that are constrained by schedule and resources. Construction work is an important phase in the project execution process yet given the time constraints and complexities (e.g. logistics, technical issues, resources, etc.) associated with this phase it is challenging for construction companies to properly address human factors. Construction companies are mostly unfamiliar with Human Factors Engineering (HFE) requirements and during the execution phase it is the first time the design is “materialized” and issues that have not been identified during the design phase (regardless of 3D model reviews, design reviews, etc.) are realized which imposes additional pressure to projects that are often fast tracked. Therefore the need to develop new approaches or improve on existing ones and consider mechanisms to handle unexpected results is even more important.
Likewise, Owner-Operators and engineering design firms of petrochemical facilities share the pressures of schedule and resources during the construction of a facility though often being governed by HFE design requirements that are based on industry codes and Owner standards and guidelines to safe facility design. However, they generally do not provide complete fabrication details and as result the HFE requirements may not be fully implemented in the final product.
Understanding that the construction companies commonly do not spend resources on human factors and the project HFE standards lack complete fabrication details, a growing number of Owner-Operators and engineering design firms conduct HFE inspection audits during the fabrication and construction of their facilities and equipment. The intent of the audits is to ensure HFE principles are integrated into the site construction of the project. A common result of any audit is the identification of non-conformances. It is common for hundreds or thousands of non-compliances to be identified during site construction and equipment fabrication audits. The non-conformances identified range from critical safety issues to limitations in equipment user operability or a simple specification non-compliance with no significant outcome. The challenge for all involved in the construction of the facility is to how to address these non-conformances while maintaining the least impact on schedule and resources.
A methodology is presented whereby the identified non-conformances for a project can be assessed and prioritized for a given construction project. After the non-conformances have been prioritized this information can be used to form a basis for allocating resources by the project and construction management teams. When well-implemented and managed, the methodology allows for a systematic identification of issues after which the project management team can use the results to make trade-off decisions or find alternative solutions. An added benefit from using this approach is that it aids in prioritizing risks that can potentially threaten a project’s viability due to the cost associated with correcting the non-conformance and achievement of higher standards of production and reliability while not compromising the safety and integrity of personnel and the overall achievement of enterprise objectives and goals.