Seamlessly executed projects are somewhat of an anomaly in the world we live in today. Project managers are in high demand in numerous industries due to the need to coordinate suppliers, keep the project on budget/schedule, and provide a single point of accountability for the company. The larger an organization becomes, the greater the likelihood that it develops a silo effect. That is, that each department is so focused on its own agenda that those individual goals are put in front of the good of the project and the good of the company. It is no wonder that good project managers are in high demand. The deck seems to be stacked against them as soon as they start.
With constant conflicting priorities given to a project manager, suppliers are in a unique position to provide the support needed to fully execute the project. When it comes to automation, there are numerous pieces that have to come together to create a solution (owner’s goals, electrical constraints, location, programming, etc.). Design-build power control houses are definitely a step in the right direction to address these challenges.
These buildings, commonly referred to as E-houses, are meant to provide the owner with a single place to house electrical controls for the entire project. E-houses can reduce total project cycle time, save physical space, be a turnkey solution, and adhere to just about any standard set forth by the owner. Think of an E-House as a separate control room that can be independently secured and be a safe place to house the electrical controls for the project. A typical scope could include (but not be limited to) the metal house, design, alarms, fire protection, transformers, drives, cable trays, wire ways, commissioning, and install (testing should also be included).
Power control houses in a project can (depending on how they are implemented) decrease owner risk and provide a controls solution all under one roof without additional space constraints. They can even be a safer option than an attached control room as well. So long as the installation is planned well, the deliverables are scalable, and the project is planned well on the front end, an E-House can be just the solution the project needs to keep it moving on-time and staying under budget.
Another aspect of E-houses sometimes put in play is their degree of portability. An example is the E-House we provided for a tunnel boring project. The E-House contained power distribution and controls for the conveyor systems handling the muck extracted by the tunnel boring machine (TBM). When the TBM completed the first direction tunnel and was turned around to bore the return segment of the tunnel, the E-house was repositioned to fit the new orientation of the conveyor systems. E-houses are also frequently employed in mining and other resource extraction operations, being able to be moved as necessary to follow the extraction process.
For more details on E-houses, check out this E-house case study.