33 Questions to Ask When Hiring An EPC Firm

Before entering into any type of business relationship it is important to lay the groundwork by ensuring that the main decision makers and points-of-contact are all on the same page. This is particularly important when you are interviewing an Engineering, Procurement and Construction firm because the work performed will have a very strong and direct impact on your productivity, comfort, and success as a company. What follows is a discussion of some key questions to ask when interviewing a potential EPC firm.

Engineering Questions

  • What types of engineering do you specialize in?
  • What is your experience and background in this/these area(s)?
  • Can you give me examples of past engineering projects?
  • What types of engineering services would you perform for our company?
  • What engineering resources do you bring to the table?

Procurement Questions

  • Are you able to negotiate better prices on materials?
  • How do you monitor inventory and supplies?
  • If there’s a delayed shipment or other problem what’s your process for resolving it?
  • How do you ensure the quality of a vendor or product?
  • What’s your biggest procurement-related strength?

Construction Questions

  • What states are you licensed in?
  • What types of construction work are you licensed for?
  • What construction resources do you bring to the table?
  • Have you worked on projects like ours before?
  • What’s your approach to risk assessment and mitigation?
  • Will you be using any subcontractors?

Questions About Billing

  • How do you bill your services?
  • What guarantees do you have in place?
  • How do you handle change orders?
  • Who would I contact about billing questions?

Questions About The Relationship

  • Will I have a single point-of-contact or multiple ones for different divisions?
  • Who is that contact person/people?
  • What is the best way to contact that person/people?
  • How quickly can I expect a response?
  • How do we handle emergency or urgent situations?

General Questions

  • How long has your company been in business?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • What’s your safety record like?
  • What types of customers do you typically deal with?
  • What makes your company unique?
  • What challenges do you anticipate for our project?
  • How will you resolve them?
  • What companies can you give as references?

Interpreting The Answers

When you are interviewing an EPC company it may not be unusual for the spokesperson to use industry terms or acronyms that you are not familiar with. If this occurs it is important to ask for clarification. Part of establishing a good working relationship is in feeling comfortable with the company and understanding its process. Also make it a point to gauge the person’s responsiveness. Are their answers direct and informative or are they evasive or vague? The most important question to consider is one that you will need to ask yourself: Do you feel comfortable trusting your industrial project to this EPC firm?

Polaris offers high quality process engineering, consulting, and EPC services to industries in the gulf coast region of Louisiana and Texas. Our customers are our main priority and we are always happy and eager to sit down with them and answer any and all questions they may have concerning their project or our services.

PROCESS ENGINEERING

At Polaris, process engineering has been the strength and cornerstone of our business. Our process engineering assignments have ranged from coast to coast and north to south in the continental United States and has even spilled over the border to include assignments in Canada, Mexico, Europe and South America. Originally focused on crude oil refining, our process expertise has translated well into other industries such as petro-chemical, chemical, oil and gas exploration and production, power and even rum!

In addition to providing basic process engineering and design, our process group has two trademark strengths. The first is our capability to help our client define conceptual, extreme front end ideas. In this case, our work might begin with a scope defined no better than, “I want to expand the throughput on this unit by 20%.” From there, we deliver process options and economic cases. In the development and definition of options we are often we are able to hit upon innovative “bang for the buck” solutions for our clients wherein an option may provide 80% of the benefit at 20% of the cost.

Our second strength is our ability to solve long term, chronic process problems. Examples include the installation of a simple level control on a steam reboiler that stabilized an amine tower and avoided a plant wide shut down or the detailed analysis of a system that lead to the correction of the wiring on a pumparound pump motor resulting in the reduction of overhead load and allowing a 15% increase in throughput.

Although we design and deliver the process engineering details, the strengths that set our Process Engineering group apart are our experience and ability to innovate for our clients.

Services

  • Plant Expansions
  • Troubleshooting
  • Benchmarking
  • Relief System Evaluations
  • Process Simulation
  • Regulatory (Environmental) Compliance Support

Resources

  • Licensed and Experienced Process Engineers
  • Simulation Expertise
  • Software
  • Unisim Process Simulator
  • HYSYS, STX, ACX and others

PROJECT ENGINEERING AND DESIGN

Polaris is proud to offer exemplary project engineering solutions. Our highly experienced, licensed engineers are experts in a complete range of disciplines to meet the needs and expectations of our clients for a project that is cost effective, installs smoothly, conforms with plant and industrial standards and works! Reliably!

We believe good design underpins successful engineering and is critical to project success. This belief is the basis for our meticulously assembled staff of qualified designers and our commitment to provide them with the tools and resources necessary to deliver outstanding project design services – on time.

All major disciplines are represented in our experienced staff of designers and drafters. They work from a state-of-the-art engineering building with access to appropriate computer hardware and software. Our default design standard is 3D, but we also work in traditional, 2-D mechanical design.

Service

  • Project Development and Deliverables
  • Stamped Engineering
  • Drawings
  • Equipment Specifications
  • Licensed and Professional Mechanical, Civil, Structural, Electrical, Instrumentation, Control and Automation
    Engineers, Designers and Drafters in the same fields.

Select Software Resources

  • STAADPro , STAAD
  • APV, CEASAR, COMPRESS
  • ETAP
  • CadWorx, FlexCad, AutoCad, IsoGen, Spool Generation Softward, Structural Detail Software

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Projects require budget, schedule and scope management. Our on-staff project managers are all experienced engineers and are complemented by our project control staff. Together, their job is to assure projects are executed on-time and on-budget in conformance with the projects’ goals and objectives.

Our project management team works closely with the engineers and designers to manage internal resources and efficiency. They work with clients to report budget and schedule performance and work through challenges to work scope as they arise.

They also manage procurement activity for those projects that include that responsibility.

Select Software Resources

  • Primavera P3 Microsoft Project – Scheduling
  • Dynamic SL Integrated Accounting/Purchasing/Project Software – Budget and Purchasing
  • In-House Developed Estimating Software
  • In-House Developed Earned Value Tracking

SAFETY:

Safety is a top priority in everything that we do. We understand that safety is a major concern for our industrial, refining, and petrochemical clients and it is likewise a fundamental element in everything that we do. It shapes the way we do business and the way we undertake projects.

Safety is a constant in our process engineering services, in which we look for safe and effective ways to debottleneck projects. It also reflects in our project engineering services in terms of our licensing, breadth of knowledge, and rigorous engineering standards. Our fabrication facility, workflow, and training also all emphasize safety. When it comes to construction our commitment to safety is demonstrated through our thorough licensing, advanced training, safety inspections, and close supervision of staff. From start to finish safety is one of our guiding principles.

FEED- Front End Engineering Design

FMC FEED Maintenance Contract

EPC Engineering Procurement Contract

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