The Importance of Construction Technology

(Excerpted from Steam/its generation and use, 42nd edition)

Construction projects at steam and power generation facilities, including all associated equipment, is a complex and challenging undertaking. Each project presents a unique set of objectives, subject to specific constraints and opportunities. In addition to detailed planning, successful projects employ the creative application of construction methods to deal with the constraints and take advantage of the opportunities. Critical decisions regarding product configuration, constructability, construction equipment selection and labor issues must be made early and followed throughout the project.

Traditionally, the construction site supervisor has acquired the necessary skills through experience, and therefore, is well qualified. Technological advances including computer-aided design, global positioning systems, laser scanning systems, and more powerful lift cranes have enabled construction engineers and technicians to support supervision by refining the planning process and expediting the work in the field.

Aggressive schedules, financial pressures, increased owner oversight, and regulations regarding safety and quality require that projects be executed with increasingly refined margins for error, both technically and economically.

Common goals established for projects include:

  • establishing a safety conscious work environment,
  • reduced field operations costs,
  • minimal project time span, and
  • the construction of a quality product.

The integration of technology into the construction process increases the opportunity to accomplish these goals through the proper, effective and innovative application of means, methods, techniques, tooling and equipment.

A construction technology group supports the field construction operations. These engineers provide construction engineering services, construction logistics, and constructability reviews for each specific product and configuration.

Typical outputs include:

  • recommended shipping sizes and configurations,
  • rigging weight and center of gravity calculations,
  • crane placement drawings,
  • temporary support designs,
  • heavy lift and hauling plans,
  • and structural analyses of existing facilities for imposed construction loads.