A detailed scope of work describing the materials and services required is a vital part of the procurement process. There is no purpose to keeping the project bidders in the dark regarding what is required of them. The role of the procurement function is to obtain maximum value, that is, the best quality and schedule at the lowest price. The clearer the scope of work and construction documents the better will be the chance of this happening. A low price is not a good value if the schedule slips by several months as a result. A poorly built cleanroom that does not maintain design conditions is a poor value even if it was delivered within schedule.
The procurement process should qualify potential bidders by insuring that similar cleanroom projects have been delivered on time, within budget and on schedule. References should be checked. It is expected that references offered by a potential bidder would have good things to say about that bidder, but this is not a certainty and pointed questioning about personnel, schedule, quality, change orders, follow-up, etc. can help develop a warm feeling or an uncertain feeling about potential bidders. If bids are in fat quite close it is the quality of references that might suggest a particular bidder be given preference.
There are number of ways in which the cleanroom project can be procured. Use of in-house engineering and construction expertise may work in special situations. Typically problems arise when facilities departments, stretched to their limit with ongoing plant requirements, must lower the priority of the cleanroom to meet other commitments. The schedules may stretch out unacceptably.
Cleanroom manufacturers and specialty contractors have proven over the years to be adept at installing small turnkey facilities of limited complexity in a timely and economical fashion. If extensive engineering is required, if local code compliance becomes an issue, if complex process requirements must be met, or if the client requirements exceed the experience of the supplier there could be cause for concern.
Design/build is a popular approach in that it suggests a single source of responsibility for all phases of the project. Frequently firms billing themselves as "design/build" are strong in either design or build, but not both. The strong design firm can put the essentials on paper but final price and schedule may suffer. The strong design firm can put the essentials on paper but final price and schedule may suffer. The strong construction firm may lack the expertise to create a clean environment, particularly in the Class 10 or cleaner regime. The project may be outstanding in all respects except performance. A good review of references is essential before selecting a firm in this category.
Construction management has been increasingly used on larger projects. A good construction management firm will work closely with the client selected engineering company to review constructability and adequacy if construction documents. It will assist to qualify bidder, maintain schedule, track costs, administer and oversee, and generally insure that a team incorporating the strongest skills is assembled to complete the project. Cleanroom experience is essential.
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