Vince Como

Engineering Sponsor

Based in Omaha, NE, USA

Construction; Policy and Regulation; Water Conservation; Supply Chain;

What are the benefits of collaborative delivery models for wastewater treatment plants?

Major semiconductor industry players are still building and starting up new facilities, and massive growth still is expected for the industry over the course of the next decade. Vincent Como, Engineering Sponsor at Kiewit, speaks to UPM in an interview about the expertise and insights which Kiewit will bring to the UPM 2023 roundtable discussions.

Why is design, procurement, and construction of wastewater plants such a challenge?

Facility build times are scheduled at a faster pace than ever before, and the semiconductor industry has inherently complex needs for handling wastewater. Robust systems are necessary to treat a variety of chemicals in different concentrations, and fabrication facility production lines require a range of chemicals creating variations in wastewater constituents. 

Wastewater handling is only becoming more complex for the semiconductor industry. As regulations tighten and water scarcity intensifies, new technologies are coming into the mix, which has implications for new plant builds. Como explains to UPM, “it is becoming increasingly difficult to ‘copy and paste’ what has been done in the past, and facilities are often constructing the first of a kind of system within a plant”. Whilst it is easy to plan around known systems and problems, the integration of new technologies and systems risks pushing the schedule considerably, especially if those responsible for designing the system are inexperienced with navigating procurement and construction. 

Moreover, supply chain issues persist for key parts. It is critical to order certain equipment – such as electric gear – very early in the schedule, which is difficult to do without design phase completion. In addition, due to tightening water resources, many industrial facilities are striving to recycle as much as they can, so many facilities are chasing long-lead time technologies, including those used in zero liquid discharge solution, high recovery wastewater membrane systems and evaporative technologies. 

What kind of thinking can offer a solution for easing these challenges?

A typical bid-build contract would feature little collaboration between the owner, designer, and contractor. A collaborative model can bring deep experience from multiple parties to facilitate early decision-making for cost-efficiency, and for starting design-appropriate construction. Como uses the examples of being able to control early construction around deep foundations and underground design, which can be designed and executed for the equipment you need (with the flexibility of allowing future modifications with minimal costs). Experience can also be shared in managing risk around the introduction of new technologies which may not have necessarily been employed by the facility before but are being adopted in response to regulatory drivers or water scarcity. 

Having early involvement with collaborators harboring knowledge about the supply chain means that plans can be properly adjusted without the design stage being complete. Early collaboration on procurement can also provide an optimal strategy for modularization – by understanding the supply chain from a component-by-component basis, the parties involved can make early decisions about whether modularization will accelerate or hinder the schedule.  

As facilities execute large projects, they increasingly see the value in this type of collaborative delivery. Owners with cost certainty concerns increasingly recognize that there is significant opportunity to actually reduce costs by working collaboratively and taking advantage of additional expertise in procurement and construction integration with design.


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