Transition Period to Become EPC Contractor

Transition Period to Become EPC Contractor

By Le Tien Dung – CIMAS

Established in 2001, CIMAS is known as an engineering company mainly engaging in refinery, petrochemical, chemical, power, infrastructural and environmental projects. After 10 years of persistent endeavor toward growth and development, CIMAS has positioned itself to be a leading internationalized provider of engineering services in Vietnam.

To reach out for a higher horizon, CIMAS management continues to set up new targets. Considering the increasing demand in the domestic market and gaining the strong support from its parent company CTCI, CIMAS management knows that it is the right time for the company to formulate the long-term development strategy for becoming an EPC contractor. However, this transition period will definitely involve itself in a lot of advantages and hardships.

To achieve this goal, CIMAS has to overcome many difficulties and adopt innovative approaches during this transition period.  The approaches include re-organizing corporate structure with complete functional departments of an EPC contractor, modifying management procedures in compliance with international standards, ISO 9001:2008 that CIMAS was certified, and equipping staff with full knowledge of new fields to be mobilized to new departments.

Besides the hardships mentioned above that we must undergo, CIMAS can also enjoy a lot of advantages brought about by parent company CTCI. As a well-known experienced EPC contractor in the international markets, CTCI plays an important role in laying the foundation to build CIMAS from a pure engineering company upgrading to a full-fledged EPC contractor. The support that CTCI provides CIMAS are shown in many aspects such as management procedures improved, new software installed under guidance, experts dispatched for the training sessions of CIMAS staff in the QHSE, Project Control, Project Management, Procurement and Construction sectors.

As one of the new departments established in 2007, our Project Department includes three members selected from the engineering departments and its function is to control and manage the schedule, cost and quality of projects implemented by CIMAS. The Project Department is also responsible for updating and evaluating local suppliers to prepare for quotation and execution of EPC projects in Vietnam.  The major projects that CIMAS Project Department has involved in can be exemplified by Dung Quat Refinery, CPC D-HDS, CPC RFCC, CPC No.6 Naphtha Cracker, and so on. Most notably, PHI Garment Factory Project was recorded as the first EPC project undertaken by CIMAS team in Vietnam. However, the management of those projects during the past is just based on our self-study knowledge and CTCI’s SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) documents. Without the assistance of any software, project management efficiency is not high enough for engineering design projects or small-scale EPC projects. Large-scale EPC projects require strict control and management of international standard and procedures and the assistance of professional software.

To meet the requirement of undertaking EPC projects, the Project Department is divided into two main functional parts. One is project control team responsible for cost estimation, cost control and schedule control. The other is project management team with the function of controlling and managing project execution and quality.

Regarding the project control, cost engineers will have to undertake three duties. The first one is establishing CIMAS price data bank based on CTCI’s price database and the quotation for previous projects from local suppliers. Project control will use these statistic figures to calculate cost estimate for new projects.  The second is studying SOP & BCMS (Budget & Cost Management System) manual book and operate the software to control and manage the project budget and project costs on the BCMS system. The third is studying SOP and EAP (Engineering Activity Progress) to control project schedule.

Candidates for project management are selected from engineering departments. They should have good experience in management of previous engineering design projects. These members, trained with SOP and SPF (Smart Plan Foundation) software through PMI training courses, can be able to successfully carry out the management for EPC projects.

Like the Project Department, key persons of the other new departments such as Construction Department, Procurement Department, QHSE Department are selected from the principle engineers or senior engineers of engineering departments. They have been trained with SOP and new software such as PIS (Procurement Information System), SIS (Subcontractor Information System), CMS (Construction Management System), etc. Additionally, they also have to prepare professional knowledge and skills to meet the requirements and qualification of an EPC contractor.

We know that there are many challenges waiting for us on the way ahead to become an EPC contractor. However, we strongly believe that with the continued support from CTCI, as well as the enhanced capacity and strengthened competitiveness of CIMAS staff, we will quickly accumulate knowledge in new fields and confidently approach more bigger EPC projects on our own in the near future.

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