ECC and Conject deliver critical New Zealand electrical project, New Zealand

ECC and Conject deliver critical New Zealand electrical project, New Zealand

New Zealand contractor Pringle Beleski and Associates has recently completed a critical NZ$3.5 million (£1.8 million) electrical engineering project using the NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) and Conject contract change management system. 

Meridian Energy, New Zealand’s largest renewable electricity generator and an early adopter of NEC contracts, appointed the specialist high-voltage contractor in 2010 to provide the site works for the Benmore final configuration project. Benmore, the country’s second largest hydroelectricity station, was commissioned in 1965 and has recently undergone a major refurbishment programme.

Grid Connection

Following the refurbishment, the contractor had to reconnect each of its six 16kV generators to the 220kV national grid via six new generator circuit breakers and three 220/16/16kV three-winding transformers. Two additional three-winding transformers needed to be installed and commissioned. 

The contract also encompassed many aspects and disciplines typically associated with large electricity industry projects including civil construction, electrical installation, isolated phased bus and overhead lines, transformer assembly, high-voltage testing, control and protection testing and commissioning. 

Improving Communications

Initially the contractor relied on conventional communication methods to manage the project, but it became clear these were inefficient. According to chief executive officer Rob Silcock, "A lot of contract decisions were made as a result of corridor conversations, and these were not always captured and recorded as compensation events or risk register items. 

The contractor researched alternative approaches and learned that Christchurch City Council was exploring the use of a web-based NEC contract change management application from NEC licenced content partner Conject. It decided to introduce the same technology into the Benmore project." 

Contract Changes

Communication processes that previously took weeks were now completed in days, said Silcock. "The system helped give better visibility of the volume of contract changes that were being reported, helping keep the client aware of any problems – such as if supplied equipment failed acceptance tests. 

During the project, the system ‘dashboard’ reporting allowed easy tracking of 36 early warnings and risks, and 81 compensation event processes. The system also helped enforce good project discipline, ensuring appropriate actions were taken within the time limits set in the contract and highlighting any actions before they came overdue." 

Future NEC Projects

Following the refurbishment, the contractor had to reconnect each of its six 16kV generators to the 220kV national grid via six new generator circuit breakers and three 220/16/16kV three-winding transformers. Two additional three-winding transformers needed to be installed and commissioned. 

The system is now proposed for use on most of the client’s and contractor’s new NEC projects. For Meridian these include the NZ$169 million (£85 million) construction of the Mill Creek wind farm and the company’s asset management programme, with an average annual value of NZ$30 million (£15 million).

 

 

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