Smooth, efficient installation and commissioning of modules and technical buildings, especially large packages, on offshore and onshore assets is critical to getting projects up and running quickly. The longer it takes to have equipment operating, the more it costs, and the less productive the project is. One of the best ways to ensure that the installation and commissioning of large modules and technical building packages goes according to plan is to perform a factory acceptance test (FAT).
Specialist Services RedGuard has installed and commissioned accommodation modules and support modules and technical building packages on offshore assets and onshore installations worldwide. Through that experience, SSRG has found that performing a factory acceptance test is the best way to ensure an efficient and smooth installation and commissioning. This article goes over the entire FAT process and how the test can save operators time and money.
A factory acceptance test (FAT) is a setup of the modules or technical buildings, and any auxiliary equipment being provided, at the manufacturer's facility. All the equipment is then function tested to ensure everything is working properly. The test allows the client and manufacturer to identify any issues or necessary changes before installing or commissioning the equipment.
A typical FAT will perform the following procedures for the setup and testing of the equipment:
When installing and commissioning modules and technical buildings, operators can run into installation issues that can turn into costly delays. By performing a factory acceptance test prior to sending the equipment to the final destination, any problems that are present can be fixed before the equipment leaves the manufacturer's facility. The most common issues that arise are extended installations, modifications, and lost productivity.
Additional time spent installing and commissioning buildings is time that is costing the operator money, which is not in the budget. This means that any change in the installation schedule can quickly affect an operator's budget. These changes can come from a few different areas. One common issue is failing to stack or place the buildings in the correct layout or orientation. Another is not having enough pipe and cable to make the runs from the buildings to the auxiliary equipment. Lastly, there is the combination of many more minor issues that, when combined, create an extended installation. These issues require the operator to spend additional time working on installing the modules and technical buildings instead of working in them.
The process of performing the FAT brings these issues to light if they are present. They are noted during the setup and testing, and then corrected by the manufacturer before being transported to the location. This ensures that the installation goes smoothly and doesn't lead to costly extended installations.
When working on equipment on location, the cost of labor can be one and a half to two times the cost of labor at the manufacturer's facility. On top of that, the modification may call for specialized equipment or tools for installation that are not readily available. If this is the case, the tools or equipment will need to be delivered to the offshore platform or onshore site before the technicians arrive. This can cause extended delays as the tools may need to be packaged and shipped before the work can begin.
These extended delays may include issues like a technical building that is not sitting on beams correctly, platforms that aren't fitting into modules as intended, or the appropriate electrical connections not available, which are costly issues to fix. By performing the FAT prior to sending the equipment offshore, these issues can be caught. They can then be corrected at a much lower cost at the manufacturer's facility, and any modifications can be done at a much lower cost.
When installing modules or technical buildings, the operator will have to limit or even halt their production until the installation is complete. Every extra hour it takes to complete the installation is an hour that the operator is not working. Depending on the industry, a halt in production can cost thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour. Performing a FAT prior to transporting the equipment to the location ensures that the equipment will be installed efficiently since any issues that could slow up installation have already been addressed. This allows operators to plan accordingly, keeping their nonproductive time as short as possible.
Performing a factory acceptance test protects your project against extended installations, costly modifications, and lost productivity. It ensures smooth, efficient installation and commissioning of modules and technical buildings allowing operators to get back to work as quickly as possible.
If you have any questions about the factory acceptance test process and if it could help protect your next project, contact Specialist Services RedGuard today. Our operations teams have performed FATs for projects around the globe and would be happy to help answer any questions you may have. We're even equipped to perform offshore services calls, on our modules and most other modular buildings too.