Capital Project Industry Leaders Assemble in Northern Virginia for IBC 2019

Independent Project Analysis (IPA), Inc. hosted the Industry Benchmarking Consortium (IBC) 2019, March 18 to 21, in Leesburg, Virginia. The IBC is an annual gathering of the world’s leading chemicals, refining, mining, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and infrastructure companies that spend tens and hundreds of millions of dollars on capital projects. Companies belonging to the IBC are dedicated to the continuous improvement of their capital project systems and, therefore, regularly benchmark many of their capital projects and site-based systems to measure their performance.

At each annual gathering, IBC member company delegates receive exclusive insights into how their company’s capital project system and project outcomes stack up against industry peers concerning safety, cost, schedule, and operational performance. During IBC member company breakout sessions, IPA analysts work with delegates to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their company’s project system and map out a plan for improvement.

The following new research was presented at IBC 2019. An IBC steering committee provides input for most research topics.

Where Has All the Value Gone? Re-examining Value Engineering

This study takes an in-depth look at the practice of Value Engineering relative to its cousin practice, Cost-cutting, to seek to understand the characteristics that drive value improvement. The study examines the components of a good Value Engineering exercise and offers criteria for rating Value Engineering exercises.

Measuring Engineering Progress

This study looks into the techniques and tools Industry uses to measure engineering progress as a component of the overall project controls strategy. The goal of this phase of the study is to provide a comprehensive summary of the available methods for measuring the engineering progress of capital projects based on actual data from industry projects and project systems.

The Efficacy of Unusual Contracting Approaches

Prior IPA studies have examined the effectiveness of the primary strategies owners employ to contract for engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services: EPC lump-sum, EPC-reimbursable, EPCm (engineering, procurement and construction management), and various mixed strategies. In this study, we examine some forms of contracting that are not used frequently, including functional specification competitions and not-to-exceed contracts, to understand whether we are missing something useful and important.

Is There a Business Case for Project Data in the Process Industries?

There is no doubt that the capability to gather, clean, store, and access project data will be a competitive advantage for Industry moving forward. This IBC study is a collection of interviews with IBC member companies that includes the successes and difficulties encountered when trying to centralize data produced by projects.

Assessing Your Site’s Health: Perception is Reality

Over the last 5 years, IPA has collected data from site personnel about their perceptions of site processes, project development, and culture and behaviors. Insights from the surveys have been useful to augment the results of site benchmarking assessments by validating findings of the assessment and by helping to identify underlying issues that may have gone otherwise undetected. This study seeks to further investigate the importance of the perceptions of site personnel as they relate to site performance and means of better diagnosing and prioritizing site improvement opportunities.

The site perceptions study is featured on March 21, the final day of the IBC, traditionally dedicated to all things relating to site-based capital projects. Site-based project metrics and company performance outcomes are reviewed during the day.

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