Storing material and equipment at the construction work front is one of the highest risk environments for equipment and materials. Crates are opened, protection removed, nitrogen purges are released, etc. Years of proper storage conditions and preservation activities completed at the warehouse and laydown areas can be undone at site in as little as a few weeks. Preservation and maintenance teams are not always notified when items are shipped to site. Once equipment and materials arrive at the construction work front, care, custody, and control of the items becomes the responsibility of the construction team. Preparation for storage should be coordinated BEFORE equipment and materials are sent to the construction work front. Communication with material planners for piping, preservation and maintenance, insulation, electrical, mechanical teams, etc. is important to ensure project assets are protected. Unfortunately, piping installation is often prioritized over equipment and materials preservation making preservation and maintenance activities more difficult.
Location: Space limitations at the construction work front are oftenlimited. Equipment and materials are often placed in locations where space is available, not necessarily at the corresponding construction area. Searching for equipment sent to site can be time consuming. RFID technology is advantageous when precise equipment location at site is not known. If equipment and materials were shipped to site in original crates, finding the exact crate with the materials or equipment you need can become somewhat of an Easter Egg Hunt. Missing regular scheduled preservation and maintenance activities due to location issues can be problematic…especially if an eventual warranty claim back to the supplier is necessary. RFID technology, specific laydown locations per construction areas, and leaving crate markings in tact are several ways to make finding equipment and materials less of a chore.
Access: Once materials and equipment arrive at the construction work front, inspection of the items condition is warranted…especially if the equipment and materials were not part of an ongoing inspection program. Inspection access for field engineering/field supervision should take place as soon as practical upon equipment/material arrival at the construction site. Crates may be set directly next to each other due to space limitations. Preservation and maintenance teams may have installed access doors on crates for inspection purposes. Often, orientation for access to inspection portals is not often considered when offloading crates. Equipment is often set in place at elevation upon arrival at site. Inspections should take place BEFORE equipment is set in place…especially if equipment and materials are at elevation. Planning for ongoing inspections once materials and equipment arrive at site is paramount… Scaffold access may need to be planned/considered before sending items to the construction site. Claiming credit for equipment installation may not be the best option if restricted access will be an ongoing issue.
Storage Conditions: This particular subject is fraught with ongoing implications during equipment and materials storage on site. Some of the more common storage issues at site include… Dunnage is not available at site and equipment and materials are placed directly on the ground. Material and equipment inspections were conducted upon arrival at site, but the preservation materials used to ensure the items stay clean, dry, and closed were not properly re-installed after inspection. Climate controlled items such as charms boxes are delivered to the construction site and are stored outdoors. Electrical items that require space heaters to be energized have no power connections at site. Covers(Flanged and Unflanged) are removed to check for internal cleanliness and are not replaced properly. Equipment and materials stored in crates are removed and not re-covered/tarped. Building and auxiliary rooms need power for both climate control and battery purposes. Valves and spools are placed directly on the ground and often sit in water after weather events.
Preservation/Maintenance Activities: Regular preservation and maintenance activities for equipment and critical materials should be performed per the project inspection program. Scheduling preservation activities for equipment maintenance can be problematic during piping installation or mechanical alignments. Coordination with piping and mechanical personnel is necessary in order to ensure multiple entities can schedule/perform work. Water intrusion followed by cleanliness are the two most prevalent issues related to equipment and material degradation at the construction work front. Oil filling, motor/equipment rotations, meggering, N2 purging/VCI protocols etc. are all very necessary to ensure equipment and material viability, however, leaving an opening uncovered for a single shift can undue all previous preservation and maintenance efforts. Perform required preservation and maintenance activities in conjunction with mechanical and piping installation activities. Preservation teams, mechanical teams, and piping teams all have very important tasks to perform, all the while keeping clean, dry, and closed in mind.
Preparation for installation: Installation activities for spools, valves, static equipment, pumps/motors, skids, equipment/materials, etc. (especially with rotating equipment) can take time. Preservation and maintenance activities may need to be completed before installation ( rotations) or may need to be delayed until after installation is complete (N2 blanket, VCI installation). Equipment such as control valves and PRV’s may need to be installed to ensure fit, however, once fitment is assured, these items will need to be re-preserved and sent back to the warehouse or other temporary warehousing location for storage. Charms boxes, Fiber optic panels, or other sensitive electrical equipment may need storage in field auxiliary rooms (FAR,s) or other temperature/access-controlled buildings until the day of installation. Insulation activities especially acoustic and cryogenic may need ongoing protection at grade and elevation to ensure dryness. Refractory sections and bricks need to be protected from the weather during installation and construction activities. Flanges are often “loose bolted” until alignment is attained. Protecting flanges and torquing/tensioning the connections in a timely manner is critical. Again, weather protection and cleanliness are paramount during the installation process. Communication, coordination planning and preparation is key between all construction disciplines to ensure equipment and materials stay clean, dry, and closed.