Successful Operations Management #5: Ensure proper handover to Operations
“The key activities and important topics to address in the handover from the windfarm construction team to the operations team”
Early involvement of the operations team is a good starting point for a successful handover of windfarm assets from construction to the operations team. This article addresses topics relevant in the operations handover phase of the windfarm lifecycle. It will give you a good overview of the key activities and important topics to address in the handover from the windfarm construction team to the operations team.
Why read this article?
- Recognize that the hand-over process goes beyond asset walkdown and snagging lists
- Understand the full suite of activities and the typical challenges in the asset hand-over process
- Learn about the importance of governance in the handover process between suppliers, EPC and operations
Figure 1. Wind farm lifecycle
Key activities and considerations during handover from construction to the operations team
As an operator of a large offshore windfarm, a well-structured handover process from construction to operations is fundamental in ensuring the operations team get off to a good start. It’s important to distinguish and plan for both the internal handover from the EPC team and the external handover from EPC suppliers. While these handover processes are different, they are highly inter-dependent. If the first is not planned for properly, there is a risk that the second will be done without the operations’ team involvement. An important aspect in the planning process is to ensure that proper internal governance is in place. This includes a clear definition of authorities and review processes and an organizational set-up that accounts for conflicting interests. The latter is critical as it acknowledges that the EPC and operations’ team have different incentives and interests during the handover process.
For both handover types, early involvement of the operations’ team is key and provide insights that are valuable in the long/term operation of the asset. Below we have listed the key activities and considerations that contribute to a successful handover.
Topics & Key considerations
Timely planning of the handover activities is needed between the teams to agree on both scope and timing of the process.
- Do you have handover checklists to ensure all scope is covered prior to asset handover?
- When does each hand-over activity need to get done and what are the interdependencies?
- How will the timing of the asset handover be? Handover can either be done individually for each WTG, in batches or all at once.
During long installation windows, interim maintenance may be needed of assets – in the period between installation and project take-over.
- Who is responsible for interim maintenance and takes care of the assets? Some statutory inspections might be required at fixed intervals and first inspections may need to be done already before construction completion.
- Whose rules & processes do you follow during interim maintenance (maintenance manuals, HSE etc)? The EPC team may have different HSE rules to follow than the operations team.
- Where are the costs allocated for the interim maintenance work? Is this part of the EPC budget or operational budget?
- Who will supply logistics for interim maintenance works?
Operations walkdown of the assets needs to be done with the purpose of compiling a snagging list of quality issues or incomplete works that needs to be rectified or completed prior to asset handover.
- What assets would be representative for walkdown/QA?
- Who has responsibility for rectifying snagging/punch items? The snagging responsibility can either stay with the EPC team or be handed over to Operations team at an agreed price
- Are the right incentive structures established to ensure a proper hand-over?
- How is the priority to work organized? Does EPC or operations have priority access to an asset if it is only partly handed over?
Project and asset documentation needs to be handed over to ensure the operations team have all the necessary information.
- Have the EPC team and suppliers handed over all required documentation (as-built, communication registers, certificates, permits & consents, contracts, leases, variation orders, amendments etc.)?
- Are the right people from both EPC and Operations involved in the documentation hand-over? Is the quality of the supplied documentation satisfactory?
- Is the maintenance documentation available prior to handover? Contractors should deliver documentation as early as possible to enable the operations team to procure necessary services in due time.
The EPC and operations team needs to agree on a take-over certificate strategy including clear understanding of responsibilities in the process and handling of suppliers.
- What are the requirements for taking over? Who is involved in the required activities?
- Are payments to suppliers held back in case of incomplete works? Holding back payments will ensure suppliers remain active under the EPC agreement until work is completed.
A number of commercial discussions are needed in the handover process both internally and with suppliers. Firstly, make sure payments are held back until suppliers have completed their work. Secondly, ensure fair payments for unfinished work between the EPC team and operations to compensate for unfinished works.
- When, and at what price should the snagging list be handed over to Operations? At some point the EPC team will likely hand over snagging items to the operations team.
- When are the final TSA payments handed over to O&M? Some payments may be held back from suppliers for incomplete work?
- When is the capex budget closed down and operations budget opened?
- How is any remaining capex budget paid out to owners, banks etc.?
- Are there appropriate methods in place for availability calculations in the interim period during performance ramp-up?
Keep in mind:
- Appropriate incentive structures need to be in place for the EPC team and suppliers to ensure project hand-over that meets the requirements of Operations
- Clear agreement is needed across the teams to which set of rules and work procedures shall apply in the handover period
- The documentation handover needs to meet the requirements not only in terms of scope, but also quality
- A successful asset hand-over process should be initiated early by involving operations already during the design and tendering process
Want to learn more about successful operations?
Just reach out to us, we are always happy to answer your questions and get into discussions on optimized operations and asset management!
Lars Conradsen | firstname.lastname@example.org | +45 23 25 50 70
Leoni Christensen | email@example.com | +45 24 20 94 07