This article was originally published in the November/December 2022 issue of BIC Magazine. Sometimes changes are made for length, or to reflect the publication's style guidelines. It is re-published here in its entirety.

Anyone in building construction or facility maintenance understands that each project presents its own challenges and variables that can impact the project schedule and overall budget. If you change the environment to an offshore facility requiring a marine application, now you’re tasked with developing a solution that includes similar requirements to onshore construction needs, plus has all the unique code compliance and regulatory certification for marine applications.

Whether you’re undertaking a project for new construction, refurbishing existing facilities, or adding portable modules to update an offshore facility, it’s important at the onset of the project to understand the specific regulations, the intent behind the regulations, and how these will be applied.

Utilizing subject matter experts with experience fabricating buildings and structures for offshore use, such as Armoda, will ensure your project gets off on the right foot.

For existing facilities that require refurbishment or need to add portable modules, Armoda recommends setting up a site survey. Any new construction requirements should start with a project management review. This process helps develop the full scope of work, document client needs, determine accurate dimensions and deck loads, and confirm utility requirements for interphase and commissioning. Information gathered, and the specific code requirements will drive engineering, design, fabrication, certification, logistics, and installation.

Industry-leading manufacturers like Armoda have experience and knowledge of maritime compliance management and the certification process. Project location, facility type, environmental factors, and classification will determine which specific regulations apply. (ABS, USCG, DNV, NORSOK, SOLAS, IMO, etc.) Having experience with third parties and regulatory bodies that review and inspect for compliance is crucial to ensure that projects stay on schedule. Offshore projects require engineering submittals for third-party design review before fabrication. Understanding the regulations on the front end allows you to reduce time during engineering and design review to close comments and start fabrication sooner. Once fabrication starts, specific hold points require inspection and review by third-party and marine inspectors before proceeding to the next production phase. Again, trusting an expert to manage this process can reduce time and costs.

Engineering and environmental factors specific to the vessel, platform, or floating facility also impact the project. These variables include facility requirements for blast, fire, zone, or hazardous area ratings, and engineering criteria for wind loads, deck loads, seismic loads, stacking configuration, and design head. Armoda identifies these factors upfront so that the design and final commissioning plan will account for these items.

The type of facilities or modules utilized also significantly impact the requirements for these offshore projects. Like many building codes, offshore regulations are specific to the type of facility or application. Therefore, understanding the various requirements for accommodations, living quarters, galleys, workshops, industrial spaces, and various technical buildings (e-house, control room, MCC, etc.) - and the difference between them - is vital to developing a code-compliant solution.

It’s also important to consider comfort features and client preferences. After all, these facilities improve day-to-day operations for personnel working offshore. Clients often have preferences regarding the material used, design and layout, and comfort features like recreational space, storage, and entertainment. Armoda considers these preferences and combines them with the code requirements to allow you to tailor a solution specific to your needs.

Industry experts will guide you through the certification process and provide solutions that include lease fleet options or purchase options based on custom fabricated solutions. There are specific code requirements for temporary installations and permanent facilities. So, understanding the objective on the front end will allow the building provider to tailor the offer accordingly.

Suppliers should demonstrate adequate experience with offshore regulatory requirements. This could include critical phases of welding, fitting, machining, and nondestructive examination of the structure, as well as traceability of materials, welding procedures, and qualifications. This experience will ensure that the project will be delivered with a data book complete with all necessary information and certification letters to satisfy surveyors for the final installation plan.

For more information about offshore facility requirements, visit Armoda online or call (855) 777-4426.