HOT | COOL NO. 3/2022 - "How to get started?"


The choice of the component may be supported by market research based on a detailed specification. It is important the Owner makes an informed choice of the component to avoid a disproportional focus on CapEx while overseeing other factors that contribute to the total cost of ownership or other aspects that are crucial to the system’s performance. Another potential danger is the Owner’s loss of focus induced by the suppliers’ focus on highlighting unique selling points, which are valid but do not necessarily meet the Owner’s specific needs. These dan- gers can be considerably mitigated by a pre-defining detailed specification for the component during the earlier mentioned top-down specification process as part of the engineering of the DHC-system. Design-Build is relatively common in Denmark for contracts, where the scope is an easily definable sub-system, e.g., a heat/ cooling production unit like a boiler system or a heat pump/ chiller system. Per definition, the Contractor has design re- sponsibilities under this type of contract. The Contractor’s de- sign must com-ply with the Owner’s specification—this spec- ification results from the concept design developed for the sub-system by the Owner’s Engineer. On the one side, the specification must be sufficiently detailed within the iden- tified focus areas to enable the envisaged integration of the specific sub-system in the DHC-system hence supporting the optimisation of the entire system’s performance adequately. On the other side, the level of detail in the specification must not unnecessarily limit the Contractor’s design. Otherwise, the expected benefits from transferring some of the design pro- cesses to the Contractor may be lost. The interactions between the sub-system and other elements of the DHC-system, which have been identified during the concept design, may also lead to the sub-system’s specifi- cation, including specific details on some of the sub-system components, e.g., instruments. Typically, the Owner’s Engineer both produces these specifications and supports the owner in reviewing the solutions proposed by the Contractor concern- ing the specified requirements. Both must ensure that the Owner’s interests prevail in a project delivery method where the Owner does not entirely control the design or the installed equipment. A potential risk in a Design-Build contract is that the specifica- tion is not detailed enough in setting the requirements, there- by allowing for a component that may be cheap to buy but expensive to operate and maintain. Subsequently, the overall cost of the system will be higher than it ought to be.

the overall DHC-system that the full potential of the DHC-sys- tem can be established.

Therefore, the specification of each component should be built upon a top-down process, starting with the specification of the system, and moving down to sub-systems until the compo- nent level has been reached. Procurement of components at different project delivery methods Various project delivery methods are being employed for the development of DHC-systems, the main being Design-Bid- Build (DBB), Design-Build (DB), and Design-Build-Operate (DBO). The choice of delivery method depends on several factors like the project’s risk profile, the technology used, and market traditions. The procurement of the system’s components must reflect the delivery method employed in the project. Therefore, the lev- el of detail of the component’s specification must be adjust- ed accordingly without compromising the earlier mentioned focus on the aspects of the component’s performance that con-tribute crucially to the system’s performance. Traditionally in Denmark, the preferred delivery method for DHC-projects is Design-Bid-Build. The project’s owner is re-sponsible for the design and is supported by the Owner’s Engineer, typically an engineering consultant, who develops the actual design. Based on the fully developed design, the works and materials are sent for bidding, and the Contractor behind the winning bid is responsible for executing the design. In such projects, there are typically two options regarding the procurement of components, and often both options are used under the same project. One option is that the Contractor purchases the components, which the Contractor installs, and ownership of the compo- nents is transferred from the Contractor to the project’s owner. The other option is that the Owner purchases the components and transfers these to the Contractor for installation. The latter option is known as Owner Direct Purchase (ODP). Common to both options is that the Owner has complete con- trol of which components are purchased to the level that the Owner decides both on manufacturer and type. This allows the Owner to choose the equipment that best fits the Owner’s existing assets and asset management structure. These con- siderations should be balanced with the earlier mentioned considerations on choosing components whose performance contributes crucially to the system’s performance.

Many of the considerations described for the projects under the Design-Build delivery method also apply here. The differ- ence between these two project delivery models is that the Contractor will operate the DHC-system for a defined period (years), after which the Owner takes over the DHC-system. In this case, the specification and the review of the solutions proposed by the Contractor concerning the specified require- ments must support the contractual terms in securing the sys- tem’s business case when the contract is due. A potential risk is that the Contractor makes components choices to optimize the Contractor’s return without consider- ing the total cost of ownership after the contract has ended or other performance factors that the Owner has focused on..

Conclusion A carefully planned and conducted component pro- curement process is essential for the success of any DHC-system. The Owner’s Engineer has a vital role in supporting the owner in this process.

For further information please contact: Joao Ricardo Elias,

Design-Build-Operate is less used in Denmark, but there are other countries where it is a relatively standard procedure.

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