Critical Role of the Owner’s Team in Capital Project Success

Critical Role of the Owner’s Team in Capital Project Success

The critical role of the owner’s team can’t be understated. The owner may choose to contract out certain activities like commissioning but the accountability for activities cannot be handed off. The following is just a summary of many of the owner-led activities.

Critical Owner’s Team Activities

Establishing the owner’s team begins with appointing the manufacturing leader during Front End Loading 1 (FEL1) to establish the manufacturing strategy and identify the manufacturing project team members. The manufacturing leader works collaboratively with the business sponsor to establish and prioritize business objectives and project objectives to guide the project team throughout the planning, defining and implementation of the project.

The owner’s project team is accountable to lead FEL for the project and provide the discipline to ensure the project is vetted and optimized versus the business objectives. The owner’s team is also required to identify and mitigate project and business risks.

The owner’s project team can vary depending on the size and type of project. Replacement-in-kind projects are less complicated than green or brownfield projects and expansion projects utilizing new technologies. Brownfield projects can be complicated by the challenges of constructing a new facility while operating an existing, typically hazardous, on-going operation.

Once the project is sanctioned, the owner’s role typically transitions to an oversite role for the design and construction of the facilities. The owner’s team is responsible for ensuring facilities are designed and constructed as required to meet business and project objectives. Major activities led by the owner’s team include:

  • Contractor safety management,
  • Construction quality assurance,
  • Management of change,
  • Management of project cost, and
  • Schedule control.


In parallel with overseeing design and construction of the facilities, the owner’s team is responsible for creating and executing the operations readiness plan. Typical operations readiness activities include:

  • Developing the operating and maintenance strategies,
  • Organizing and taking ownership of documentation,
  • Hiring and training personnel,
  • Developing standard operating procedures and planning for turnover, pre-commissioning, commissioning and startup.


Turnover to operations requires operations and construction to develop and align on the process for accepting, care, custody, and control of the facilities. A pre-transfer inspection and tagging scheme to identify that the system is “now controlled by operations”, must also be developed and implemented. Once the facilities are turned over to operations, the operations team leads the pre-commissioning and commissioning phases of the project. Pre-commissioning and commissioning of the facilities includes planning and conducting unenergized and energized check out of the facilities, pre-startup reviews and punch listing critical and non-critical items to complete prior to starting trial runs and eventually safely introducing raw materials into the facilities and preparing for startup of the facilities.

Readiness To Operate (RTO)

RTO is the planning, assembly and development of a functional team that is capable of safely and effectively starting up a new facility. If you want a successful project, you must plan for a successful startup! The process starts in the preliminary design phase and continues through startup. Effective startup planning requires that the right issues be addressed by the right people at the right time! Becht provides owner teams with a proven methodology to assess and ensure their operating teams are in place and ready to support all five phases of the project life cycle including engineering, construction, mechanical completion, turnover and commissioning. Industry best practice is to have the owners operating leadership team and a readiness to operate plan in place before the full investment decision is made.

Commissioning and Startup Support

The goal of every project is an “on time, one-time” start-up that produces the expected outcome. Becht can work with you to develop and deliver the training, as well as augment technical and non-technical personnel to ensure a smooth start-up. There is nothing more important than having the right expertise engaged in the final commissioning steps with teams that have operated the same or similar process units; in one example, Becht provided an eight-person technical and operations team in Greece to ensure a flawless execution of a mega-project. This team provided critical insights throughout commissioning that ultimately led to a safe start-up and continued operations.

Becht’s Performance Group provides highly effective and proactive training courses to help address procedure writing and development, console operator training, outside operator training, and train the trainer. We provide experienced developers and trainers, electronically delivered manuals, training workbooks and diagrams for our clients’ use. This material goes far beyond the typical standard licensor training through customization to your plant site and location.

For further information on how Becht can help your projects be more successful visit the Becht Capital Projects website. Or, you can contact Becht directly by clicking below:

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Note: Many companies differ in how owner’s costs are accounted for i.e., what gets capitalized or goes directly to period expense. Non-capitalized expenses typically include the owner’s direct cost for overseeing the project, operations readiness activities like training and setting up maintenance systems, abandoned design, the cost for dismantling and removing obsolete facilities, any waste materials created during startup including off-spec product produced.


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