Are You Getting What You Paid For? 3 Key Strategies to Maintain Quality on New Transmission Builds
The rampant rise in demand for new distributed energy resources has launched a significant upswing in new transmission builds for both utility and renewable energy companies across the country. Yes, the industry’s accelerated pace brings with it extensive, exciting opportunities regarding cost-savings, conservation, and job creation. However, the rapid operation growth also means many energy companies find themselves struggling to ensure that their new assets not only perform as they should, but are developed using agreed-upon resources and materials for a quality finished product.
How to Get the Most of New Transmission Builds
Third-Party Providers Offer Quality Assurance and Structural In-Plant Inspection on Transmission Builds
Put simply: new transmission builds are expensive. It’s essential to go into the process knowing how to stay on top of new transmission builds for optimal cost-efficiency, performance, and most importantly, safety. Unfortunately, many energy executives find that their already-overburdened teams simply aren’t equipped with the appropriate resources, bandwidth, and insight needed to keep a project moving forward on time, on budget, and to proper specifications, making it virtually impossible to effectively oversee the entire build process internally.
As a result, both utility and renewable energy companies often partner with a third-party owner’s rep to help oversee the construction process. A quality assurance consultant offers subject matter expertise throughout the project, implementing three key strategies to maintain quality assurance and ensure you’re getting what you paid for:
The quality assurance process on a transmission build begins with a spec review. The first step in prioritizing quality? Ensuring that there is actually a spec to review throughout the process. Many times, a build begins without specifications or uses a spec that is no longer compliant with current regulations. Your outsourced provider will work with you to put together a spec if needed, carefully assessing the requirements of the project to determine that the designated materials, procedure, construction, and installation meet agreed-upon standards.
Potential Vendor Screening
The next step in the quality assurance audit process is carefully vetting all prospective vendors. Most providers will offer ISO documentation on their best practices and procedures. However, reading over the best practices manual is not enough to deter quality issues throughout the build. A qualified third-party provider will go beyond assessing a provider’s documentation during an ISO audit by actually assessing the technicians on the shop floor to evaluate each vendor’s manufacturing nuances for welding, inspections, fabrication, and materials specifications.
Once the specs have been reviewed and the prospective vendors screened, your third-party partner will help track the project to production. Your owner’s representative will oversee the entire build, sending qualified resources into the plant to watch and validate the actual transmissions being produced. Throughout the process, your rep will ensure full specifications are being built and that the finished results are up to code and compliant.
When to Partner with An Owner’s Rep
As with any type of corporate build, the best time to align resources with a third-party owners representative is before the project begins. However, various factors often prevent energy companies from bringing in outside expertise. Fortunately, experienced external providers will have the skills, talent, and infrastructure to come into the process at virtually any project phase to consult and recalibrate as needed to get the build back on track for success.
Exo Inc. partners with U.S. utility and renewable energy companies to ensure high quality, compliant transmission builds. Contact us today to learn more.