Improving the capital effectiveness of site and sustaining capital project systems and small to mid-sized capital projects.


With a database of more than 200 small project sites and a proven Site Benchmarking Methodology, IPA can identify potential capital project savings for clients and provide clear recommendations as to how those savings can be realized.


What We Do

IPA’s Site and Sustaining Capital services group is dedicated to improving the capital effectiveness of site and sustaining project systems across all industrial sectors.  Site and Sustaining Capital services cover site-managed small capital projects of several types valued at US$10 million and less, including revamps, add-ons, expansions, turnarounds, and greenfield/co-located.

Experienced analysts conduct quantitative analyses of small projects to assess site and sustaining project practices and gauge the effectiveness of project organizations and teams. They also conduct site benchmarking studies designed to provide business and project managers with a comprehensive look at the strengths and weaknesses of their site-level capital project management processes. Project evaluation and site-benchmarking deliverables offer insights for clients searching for answers to their site and sustaining project system and small project management challenges.

The Site and Sustaining Capital services group also delivers tools and the training necessary to drive successful site-based project performance outcomes by facilitating the implementation and documentation of Best Practices for the development and execution of small projects.

The group also maintains IPA’s highly regarded small projects self-assessment software, the FEL Toolbox.


Our Approach

IPA’s Site and Sustaining Capital services group leverages its extensive capital projects proprietary database to evaluate projects individually and prepare site-level performance findings. The small projects database includes more than 5,000 projects located across the globe, representative of more than 30 companies. Industries represented include refining; commodity and specialty chemicals; mining, minerals, and metals; consumer products; pipelines and distribution; and pharmaceuticals.

IPA has studied the performance of site and sustaining capital projects for close to 30 years. IPA’s small projects database is constantly being updated, allowing IPA to quantify the effect of key practices on project results, benchmark sites against one another, and conduct research to identify new Best Practices that drive improved site-base project system performance and increase capital effectiveness.

IPA’s core capital projects database comprises data on more than 17,000 large and small projects. This proprietary database is unmatched in size and detail by any other consultancy.



Several products and services supported by IPA’s Site and Sustaining Capital services group are available to help companies large and small across all industries improve their effectiveness in small site-based capital project spending:

Site Benchmarking
Site benchmarking provides a holistic picture of how a site is performing relative to the industry average and those that are Best-in-Class, taking into account market drivers, project scopes, and other characteristics. The site benchmarking includes an analysis of the root causes—the drivers—of the site’s performance outcomes. It assesses how consistently and effectively these practices are applied at the site and identifies gaps in practices relative to other sites. Site benchmarking provides a set of conclusions and actionable recommendations based on the analysis of the above factors. The recommendations will help the site to leverage strengths and improve weak areas to drive better performance in the following year’s portfolio of small projects.

Site Organizational Effectiveness Assessment

Using IPA’s database of more than 85 project organizations, the evaluation scrutinizes a project organization, including those responsible for small projects, with respect to 1) organizational structure; 2) work process; and 3) staffing levels. The assessment provides company leaders with a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of its project organization and recommendations to address the weaknesses.

FEL Toolbox
(self-assessment software)
IPA research has firmly established that the quality of capital project planning definition, known across Industry as Front-End Loading (FEL), directly correlates with better capital project outcomes. Few companies, however, have the expertise or the impartiality to properly assess the quality of a project’s definition. Developed by IPA, the FEL Toolbox software allows companies to self-measure the quality of project definition for small capital projects (US$20 million or less) that do not warrant a full IPA analysis. FEL Toolbox gives project teams a ready-made, easy-to-use application to measure FEL. The software can be used to evaluate small projects from their early stages to full-funds authorization. The report generated by FEL Toolbox serves as both a guide for the project team throughout the FEL process and as a tool for gatekeepers to support their investment decisions, helping to identify whether each project is ready to proceed to the next phase.

Through IPA’s turnaround analysis methodology, turnaround teams and company leaders gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of their company's practices in planning, defining, and executing turnarounds. IPA measures a company's performance against its competitors, thereby providing a baseline for measuring continued improvement.

Offshore Benchmarking
Upstream business unit benchmarking can be accomplished for a suite of exploration and production (E&P) projects developed and executed by a single business unit. The benchmarking allows the business unit to measure performance and track improvement for small E&P projects that are vital to production, such as the installation of a new compressor on an offshore platform, an instrumentation upgrade, or the installation of new flowlines.

Site-Based Small Projects Research

Recent multi-client studies have focused on improving engineering productivity, tank maintenance costs, measuring success from the business perspective, scheduling Best Practices, Best Practices for emergency projects, integration of capital projects and turnarounds, and Best Practices for revamp projects.

Best Practices for Site-Based Projects
(educational course)
A 3-day training course that focuses on capital project planning and execution in the context of small and site-based capital projects, course participants receive instruction on tools and techniques that can be immediately used to improve how they plan and execute small capital projects.

Practices for Shorter, More Cost-Effective Turnarounds
(educational course)
Presents key learnings and Best Practices for turnaround / shutdown planning and execution to help organizations in the process industries improve how they implement their turnaround projects.



 Site Staffing Strategy IPA 750x225

Effective Site-Based Project Portfolio Execution Requires Owner, Contractor Staffing Balance

There is a natural friction between industrial plant managers and site-based capital project directors. Plant managers are under pressure to drive down capital project costs, and one of their go-to tactics is reducing project system overhead.Read More

No Measure, No Change: Project System Change Management Observations from the Field

For companies initiating capital project system change management efforts, having a measure of success is critical.

By Paul Barshop, Director, IPA Capital Solutions

I sometimes feel like a war correspondent embedded on the front...

Read more ...
Short-Cycle Projects: New Focus for E&P Operators

Many E&P owner companies owners are using a flawed approach to delivering short-cycle projects, resulting in millions in wasted capital.

By Ifunanya Onwumere, IPA Associate Project Analyst

This article is based on IPA Upstream Industry Benchmarking...

Read more ...
Choosing the Right Project Manager: Linking Personality Traits to Successful Projects

How can organizations choose the project manager best suited to lead a particular capital project? An IPA research study links personality traits to success.

By Phyllis Kulkarni, IPA Regional Director, North America

So your company has a great new capital project that the...

Read more ...



Key Contact

Katherine Marusin
Manager, Site and Sustaining Capital

Katherine oversees the worldwide business and technical development needs for the Site and Sustaining Capital business sector, encompassing small project benchmarking, turnaround benchmarking, and licensing of IPA’s FEL Toolbox.







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