Project management for any construction development is no small task. And there is no exception for energy from waste projects, such as building a new anaerobic digestion plant.
Privilege Finance support clients throughout the funding journey, from the early stages before funding is even agreed, right through to refinancing. Here, the Privilege project management team share their three simple tips on how they work with developers and their construction partners to help keep projects on track and on budget throughout the construction. The Privilege project managers’ primary role is to ensure the delivery of a high-quality project and controlling the release of monies to that project in line with agreed milestones.
1. Be ready to answer queries during the legal clearance phase
Once Privilege has agreed to fund a project, there is a requirement for relevant legal documentation to be completed before construction work can begin. We work closely with our colleagues in the business development and legal teams to review construction contracts, checking that the timelines fit with what the financial modelling predicts. We also review lease documentation, feedstock and offtake contracts, management agreements and any operational and maintenance contracts.
Our customers are also involved with this stage, and along with our colleagues we ensure they are available to answer any queries the Privilege team may have to help keep everything moving. From a project management stance, being involved from this early stage ensures we are familiar with the project ready for when we become the client’s main point of contact with the lender when construction begins.
2. Plan and prepare in advance
Managing the construction of an energy from waste plant is like playing chess, but as a team instead of an individual. We work with on-site project managers and developers, to continue looking several moves ahead. This involves putting detailed plans in place to keep construction on-track and in line with proposed timelines. Our advice to customers and on-site project managers is to be vigilant and flag any potential risks as soon as possible, as we can work together to resolve issues before they start to impact delivery time or budgets.
3. Keep communication open during the build phase
We support the developer’s on-site project manager throughout the construction phase. This includes attendance of on-site meetings and monitoring invoices, checking that they are reflective of the progress being made.
We recommend keeping communications between ourselves, the developer and the on-site project manager as open as possible. This helps us to support with identifying and resolving any potential issues, which may be related to planning, the environment, technology or utilities. We draw on our experiences from other projects to help identify risks early, which helps avoid delays or unforeseen costs.
Keeping construction on track in the face of unforeseen challenges
There are always going to be elements that are beyond anyone’s control. Extreme weather and global pandemics are two examples of situations that can lead to unavoidable delays in the construction of new energy from waste projects.
Unsurprisingly, we did not factor coronavirus into our early project planning, however the last few months have demonstrated the value of regular contact between ourselves and our developer clients.
Weekly virtual meetings with one of our clients and their on-site project management team throughout lockdown meant the team were able to continue with detailed design works from home and put plans in place for the arrival of contractors. Consequently, subcontractors came back on-site earlier than anticipated and were able to achieve two milestones within a fortnight – stripping the entire site so it was ready for foundations and conducting ground treatment works to achieve the bearing capacities in the right locations. Ultimately, communication was key to keeping the project on track.
There are many steps to ensure a well-built plant and at Privilege we strive to achieve this with all our projects. A successfully built plant is best placed to operate efficiently and produce enough green energy to heat hundreds of local homes.
If you have a renewable energy project in mind that needs funding, give us a call on 01353 647020 to discuss further with our team.