Maximizing Project Execution with EPC Delivery

December 22, 2018
David Broughton & Elik Livay, PE, PMP, ENV SP &

As a project owner, if you could harness all the benefits of design-build and receive certain guarantees about the performance of your new infrastructure, would you do it? Enter engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC)—a turnkey model that’s gaining momentum as a preferred project delivery method.

Fast Facts: EPC Delivery

The term EPC often is used interchangeably, albeit incorrectly, with design-build. While the two share similarities, including single-source responsibility; fixed-price contracts; and the risks of cost, schedule, and performance, EPC offers an extension of services that distinguish it from other delivery methods, and render it highly applicable to distinct project types, such as complex industrial and manufacturing facilities. Let’s review some of the highlights of EPC delivery:

    1. Since EPC integrates design and construction, teams experience a high level of integration throughout the project, and field activities can commence much earlier than with other delivery methods, offering owners cost savings and accelerated project schedules.
    2. The EPC firm is solely responsible for the project. These projects can be delivered in any cost format: lump-sum, guaranteed maximum price, or time and materials.
    3. In addition to designing and building the facility, EPC delivery calls for the contractor to guarantee its performance, in terms of quantity and quality of the product.
    4. The EPC contractor procures all equipment, construction materials, and subcontractor services to facilitate turnkey delivery.

EPC in Action

To support the development of a large pharmaceutical facility, Gannett Fleming is applying this delivery methodology on a $35 million industrial regional wastewater pretreatment plant. The project owner cited three key reasons for selecting the EPC model.

First, as the EPC firm, Gannett Fleming is responsible for process design and construction management, including specifying, procuring, and installing all process and related support equipment. Second, we are certifying the performance of the completed facility, including quantity (flow) and quality (effluent discharge requirements). Third, the EPC approach provides time savings—we are on track to complete the project ahead of schedule—which equates to client cost benefits by integrating both design and construction activities into the process.

Finding Your Team

Now that you have a good handle on of some of the EPC advantages, what’s the best way to proceed when looking to outsource your project needs? We recommend focusing on your project team and the abilities of your project director, process design lead, engineering manager, and construction manager.