Experience Matters: How to Choose the Right EPC Contractor
Choosing the right engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor is essential for any organization that hopes to carry out a successful project in the power and energy sector. They’ll help streamline a facility’s construction since a single entity plans and carries out every step from start to finish.
As advantageous as working with EPC contractors can be, choosing one that cannot follow the necessary specifications can derail an entire project. That’s why it’s vital to use discernment and look at specific criteria before deciding on the right EPC contractor for your traditional or alternative energy project.
What should you look for? Here are some essential criteria to consider before settling on an EPC contractor.
What is an EPC Contractor?
An engineering, procurement, and construction services contract involves planning the construction of a facility from start to finish for a client. An EPC contractor ensures a project is carried out by the specified deadline within budget and meets all the agreed-upon specifications.
Once construction on the facility has finished and your contract comes to a close, your EPC contractor should be able to hand over the keys to you for almost immediate use (in most cases). That’s why EPC contracts are also commonly referred to as “turnkey construction contracts.” When it comes to project management, it’s hard to get more convenient than that!
Criteria for Finding the Best EPC Contractor
EPC contracts are usually high-stakes projects for an organization, so they must be planned appropriately for successful execution.
To increase the odds of your project’s success, look for the following qualities as you vet prospective EPC contractors.
Accurate Project Bids
Financing is one of the most important aspects of any project. To get the most accurate project bids for your facility, you’ll need to make sure the scope of your project is carefully defined.
Another factor to consider is whether the EPC contractor staffs all its departments in-house or outsources certain phases like construction work. Project delays, scheduling conflicts, and unexpected costs can become more likely with the latter.
If they work with multiple outside contractors, you might also have concerns about the quality of the finished product, depending on which one works on yours.
Every capital project has particulars, so the EPC contractor must have the background and experience that shows it’s qualified to meet those unique requirements.
Has the contractor worked on similar projects before? Are they familiar with the systems your facility will need to use? Is this reflected in the project bid and other materials they’ve submitted?
Consistent Project Management
Project phases shouldn’t occur in isolation. For example, a front-end engineering design (FEED) team could establish a plan that looks great on paper, only for a team to realize during the construction phase that there’s a safety or logistical issue that needs to be revisited to complete the project properly and safely.
Revisiting project elements can delay a facility’s completion date, which could put your organization’s bottom line at risk.
However, integrating expert teams across project phases during the initial planning stages will reduce the number of obstacles your project could experience. That helps keep the process working on time and within budget, and the best EPC contractors know this.
The power and energy sector has an outsized opportunity to make project choices that reduce environmental impacts. That’s why it’s crucial to find an EPC contractor that values sustainability the same way you do.
Seek a contractor that uses sustainable resources and practices during every project phase, including the supply chains it uses to source materials.
Any EPC contractor can say sustainability is important to them, but they should also be able to show how they prioritized sustainability in past projects with specific examples and outcomes. Likewise, they should be able to provide concrete examples of how they plan to carry out your project sustainably.
Everyone wants to complete a project within budget and on time, but cutting corners on safety to achieve it is not worth the risk. Therefore, when hiring an EPC contractor, it’s crucial to ask them to explain their commitment to safety—and they should be able to provide evidence that backs up their claims.
Consider questions like:
- How is safety built into the company’s culture?
- Do employees receive regular safety training?
- Does the company have a history of injuries occurring on worksites?
- What procedures are in place if accidents or injuries occur?
At FASTECH, our engineers, technicians, construction managers, and superintendents receive ICC, OSHA, and API certifications, and we also hold more than 14 additional safety certifications.
All these questions can be vital in evaluating how seriously a prospective EPC contractor takes safety concerns.
Final Tip: Choose an End-to-End Energy Services Company like FASTECH
The easiest way to complete your facility project successfully is to find an experienced engineering, procurement, and construction contractor who understands your business. As a true end-to-end energy service provider, FASTECH offers consulting and construction services to build the facility you need.
Once it’s up and running, we take things further than the EPC contract. We also offer maintenance and repair services for renewable energy infrastructure and traditional gas stations. Is it time for your facility to undergo compliance testing again? FASTECH can help you take care of that, too.