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Modular Process Design/Build

Step 2: FEL | Quoting & Estimating Front End Loading

FEL Project Planning – Cost Estimation Options

To provide accurate cost estimation for your process skid, the engineers at EPIC thoroughly review and define the scope of your project with an engineered quotation. This process is known as front end loading (FEL), resulting in reduced risk/ unknowns for both parties. Depending on the level of project front end loading required, EPIC can provide the following cost estimation options.

EPIC engineers sit with clients during project front end loadingRough Order of Magnitude (ROM)

ROM quotes provide preliminary pricing for a future project. EPIC commonly provides ROM quotes to clients who are planning a project that will occur within the next year. ROM is the least complete quote option EPIC provides. Deliverables for a ROM quotes include:

  • An approximate cost estimate of +/- 50%
  • A description of the project scope and boundary limits
  • Proposal for Front End Loading (FEL 2 or FEL 3)

Refined Quotation (FEL 2)

An FEL 2 quote further refines the scope and approach of your project. At this level of FEL project planning, the engineers at EPIC turn most of your “unknowns” into “knowns” by completing approximately 10% of the design engineering. Deliverables for FEL 2 quotes include:

  • A refined cost estimate of +15%/ -5%
  • An estimated project timeline
  • Mass & Energy Balances
  • Base P&ID
  • Equipment, valve, and instrument lists
  • Base 3D Model

Fixed Bid Quotation (FEL 3)

FEL 3 project planning provides a fixed-bid quote, totally defining and solidifying your project scope and approach. By thoroughly considering every facet of the project (long lead equipment selection, minimizing plant interruptions, labor savings, etc.) the engineers at EPIC can provide a highly reliable, peer-reviewed fixed-bid quote that includes:

  • Peer-reviewed fixed-bid quote of +/- 0%
  • Technical design peer review
  • Mass & Energy Balances
  • Refined P&ID
  • Equipment, valve, and instrument lists
  • Base 3D Model

For greater detail on what is included in each of EPIC’s FEL front end loading options,  contact an engineer or call 314-714-1580.

What is Front End Loading and Why Does it Matter?

Front End Loading Engineer Art Goldman

“Sometimes the customer doesn’t have a clear understanding of a timeline or equipment costs, but after Front End Loading (FEL) they gain clarity on what it takes to complete the project successfully. With a completed FEL, a design and fabrication partner will have a higher probability of staying on track.” – Art Goldman, Process Engineer

Front End Loading Definition

Front end loading, also known as FEED front end engineering design and pre-project planning, is the process for conceptualizing and developing technical information in order to define the scope, approach, and cost of a processing industry project. FEL is one of the earliest steps in the project planning process and is necessary for securing complete and accurate bids from vendors.

During FEL project planning, a process engineer will complete 10-15% of the project’s design engineering. Depending on the level of investment that is made during front end loading project management, the process engineer will totally define a project plan and secure firm bids from subcontractors for the following:

  • Engineering (process, mechanical, power and controls)
  • Equipment specification and pricing
  • 3D Modeling
  • Plan and elevation drawings
  • Process skid fabrication
  • Factory acceptance testing
  • Field construction and installation
  • Field check-out and commissioning

Why Front End Loading Matters

FEL project planning is an industry-accepted best practice for most processing industry projects. It provides reassurance to the project manager that all project costs (capital, operational, maintenance, etc.) have been carefully considered prior to submitting a request for quote (RFQ).

Without FEL project planning, the project manager will receive a wider range of bids from vendors. This is because the vendors won’t know the extent of what they’re quoting. This ambiguity becomes an issue later in the project when the successful bidder (usually the lowest bidder) encounters unexpected costs and project delays, which result in increased project costs overall.

What to Consider During Front End Loading

Questions to Ask Throughout FEL

During FEL, a process engineer will focus solely on providing you with an accurate bid by fully extracting your requirements, ultimately resulting in a successful project. Questions to ask include:

  • What kind of workforce do you need? Are the craftsmen skilled or unskilled? What kind of process skids do typically work with? Will your employees need to be trained?
  • What is your desired production? How much product do you need to produce each day? How many shifts do you run per day and how many hours per shift? Are different products being mixed in the same system? How long will each product need to run? How much time does it take to switch over to the next product?
  • What are your material specifications? What chemicals are being used in your process? What hazards are associated with these chemicals? Are these chemicals solvents, acids, oxidizers? What are the characteristics of the finished product? Is it a liquid, gel, powder or granule? Is it hygroscopic?
  • Have you considered material compatibility? Are you planning to run multiple chemicals through the system? What are the other chemicals, and are they compatible? Is 316L stainless steel adequate or are higher alloys required? What are the sanitary requirements for each product? Are cleaning cycles required between product changeovers? How will you wash out the equipment? Do washouts result in waste byproducts?
  • What are your boundary limits? What equipment is included and what equipment is not included? Do we need to supply any additional pieces of equipment other than the equipment needed for the process system? Do we also need to supply the utilities?
  • How should the skid be designed? What is the physical layout of your plant? What utilities are available on site? Where are the utilities located? Will new utilities need to be provided under the project scope? Where will the module be placed in your plant? Will it be located in a flammable area?
  • What standards and guidelines must you follow? Do you need to comply with GMP, FDA and BPE regulations?
  • What are your future goals? Are you planning to run different products on the same line in the future? Do you foresee a need to increase production in a few years?

Peer Reviews for Front End Loading

After all the specifications are extracted, PFDs and P&IDs are developed, and major equipment is selected, EPIC’s engineers will perform a peer review. This review is crucial in side-stepping landmines that could cause problems later in the project. During the peer review, the project is evaluated by process, electrical and mechanical engineers. The engineers comb through the project and discuss any major or minor concerns that may have been initially overlooked. This will uncover any safety concerns or general issues that would compromise the success of the project.

To learn more about EPIC’s front end loading process or to speak with an engineer about your project, contact an engineer or call 314-714-1580.

EPIC Modular Process Systems
4134 Meramec Bottom Rd
St. Louis, MO 63129, US