Friday, June 1, 2012

Interaction Between Piping and Other Departments


In general, every activity or work, whether big or small, personal or social, Urgent or routine, is successfully executed by a team, only through teamwork and the co-ordinate efforts of all the participants. In particular, engineering of a project is a task of a team. Its success depends on various factors, but no knowledge, skills, resources can lead to the successful completion of the project, if proper co-ordination, Team-spirit and efforts are absent. In any task, we have two categories of the responsibilities resting with each individual member of the Team.

a) Individual responsibilities solely to be executed by the individual, using his own knowledge, skills1 efforts, data—bank and resources.

b) Responsibilities in Inter- face Areas where each individual has to interact with one or more of the other team- members, by sharing the information, understanding each others’ problems and resolving, arriving at the best compromise on conflicting requirements to achieve the best results with no compromise with Quality, requirements and schedule.

In order to achieve the common Goal of the team there has to be appropriate and efficient interaction between various Departments, Agenc ies, Clients and Technology Licensors, so that the transfer of data, documents, and information between various pairs of individual Team members, is made in very comprehensive, rational and effective manner.

This note highlights the interaction areas between piping engineers and others. It also brings out the problems in the interface areas and how they can lead to serious situations if they are not resolved properly and at appropriate time. It provides a guideline to the piping engineers, but, by no means, a hundred percent manual. The engineer concerned has to use his commonsense own logic, thinking capacity, and application of mind to identify the activities on the Interface areas in particular situations during engineering of his own specific area.

The important message is : 
“There should not be any Grey Areas, black areas. Bottle necks and NO-MAN’S-LAND in the Interface Zone.” If they are not timely resolved, they can lead to a disaster.

Project Management

Broad Responsibilities of Piping Engineer

  • Prepare General Plot Plan of all facilities 
  • Prepare Layouts of each individual Units 
  • Prepare underground co—ordination plan 
  • Prepare Piping study Drawings 
  • Prepare Piping Plans /Layouts 
  • Prepare Piping Specifications 
  • Prepare Piping design / stress Analysis / support systems. 
  • Prepare M.T.O. (B.O.M.) for pipes / pipe fittings /Valves etc. 
  • Prepare Piping ISO-Metrics 
  • Prepare or co-ordinate Material Handling systems with the designers / suppliers 
  • Prepare or co-ordinate Fire- Fighting system.
Above broad responsibilities involve many sub-activities under each category.

For the purpose of execution of the above responsibilities, piping engineer has to send as well as receive lot of data. This data-exchange forms the Interface area which is the topic of this note. In order to enable other Departments to execute their individual responsibilities, piping has to initiate certain documents and send to others, so as to receive the required inputs from them. Such data are broadly listed / classified as
given below :

(Abbr : PE-Process / PI-Piping / IC- Instr & Control / EL – Electrical / MQ-Mech /CI-Civil / PM- Proj . Manager / CL - Clients / LIC-Licensor Proc- procurement / INSP-Inspection)



Generally, it is neither possible nor necessary to generate all design data in one stroke. The data gets built up as the engineering, ordering and detailing are in progress. Hence piping engineer must know :

a) What data is required?

b) In what sequence it is required?

c) Which data is required by whom?

d) At what stage a particular data is required?

e) What is preliminary data?

f) What is final Data?

For this purpose the following guideline should be useful.

1 Preliminary data for overall knowledge of every one

2 Data good for preliminary estimates (This may be with ± 30% accuracy)

3 Data for obtaining comments/mark- ups etc. from others

4 Data good for preliminary design

5 Data good for Sending enquiries/Tenders to suppliers/ contractors.

6 Data good for approval of clients / Licensors

7 Data good for Design and detail Engineering

8 Data good for construction

9 Data good for Final documentation.

Problem in Interface Area :

As said in beginning, the efficient and effective engineers depends on the ‘co-ordinated Team efforts’ Hence any problem in ‘INTERACTION AREAS’ can prove serious to the project. The problems within the Departments can be resolved quickly as they are seen/noticed in day-to-day work by the working and supervising persons. But the problems in ‘Interface Zone’ are many times concealed/hidden and go un—noticed until some serious situations arise.

This can create crisis, hasty actions and decisions, fire fighting and can lead to many more problems, delays and mistakes.

Hence all must know what are the likely problem areas and their nature in the ‘INTERFACE ZONE’. Piping Engineer, being at the focus of engineering Data coordination’ must carefully avoid these problems, by using proper systems, data banks, communication methods and timely Action.

The problems are broadly classified in the following text, but there can be many more in addition to these, depending on the specific project and their nature.

Nature of Problems in Interface Areas

1. Accepting and trying to use incomplete / un- approved data from others. This can lead to incorrect down-stream activities which can go to waste, thus, leading to in fructuous work/redoing.

2. Incomplete study of data received from others and sending incomplete comments to others. This can mis-lead others who will proceed with their own work and return incomplete data for piping engineering, resulting in many more to -and- fro communications on the same topic and delaying everyone’s work.

3. Not sending the data in appropriate sequence to others. This will disturb the sequence of work to be executed by others (refer section 4 of this note)

4. Not sending the Revisions in “frozen Data” already transferred to others for their detail engineering. This will erase the part or entire work done by others in office and more seriously if the construc tion/erection is already in progress or completed at site.

5. Not incorporating the comments/markups sent by others. This will lead to incomplete/incorrect engineering by others also and delays, at a very late stage of the project.

6. Hasty Action on Data—generation in order to somehow meet the stipulated schedule dates. This will involve mistakes/errors leading to wrong Data used by others and errors in their work also.

7. Undefined or Grey Areas: Certain portions of the project are found not covered in the purview of any Department. If this is not identified at a very early stage by project Manager or not brought to anybody’s notice by the individual who notices it, but keeps quiet, then it can lead to a very serious situation. Due to this omission ordering will be delayed and the material/Eqip. / Building. will not be ready when they are really required for project completion. A small thing not executed on account of this reason can hold up the ‘commissioning of the whole or part of the plant.

8. Long Delivery Items : Some of the critical equipment take long period (of the order of 10 to 18 months) for delivery by the supplier. Such items have to be tackled at a very early stage of the project. Hence Data for such items have to be generated much earlier and transferred to the concerned disciplines for their early actions. if there is delay on such matters then the entire project can be delayed.

9. Not transferring the data in written form or sketches/ Drawings : Sometimes, a telephonic conversation becomes essential between the two engineers interacting on a particular data. Certain clarifications, dimensions or details are clarified or communicated on telephone. This is ok as far as immediate actions are concerned. But the same should be instantly put in writing or on drawing and sent by the piping engineer to the others who have to use their data.

10. Bad Written Communication: If the hand—drawn sketches or hand -writtennotes are used for transfer of data to others, then they should be neatly and clearly made so that the receiver can read and interpret properly. If not legible, it will land up in Telephonic conversations as in (9) above and the consequent problems.

11. Not signing and getting Approval : Whenever an experienced or a junior engineer works and prepares data for others, the same should be signed and got approved by the seniors who can point out and correct the mistakes caused by the mis-conceptions or ignorance of the juniors. If this is not done, serious mistakes will lead to further chain reaction through all others concerned and using the wrong data received.

12. Bye-Passing the QA - System : Specific or contract related Quality Assurance procedures are made for each project. While transferring the data to others, if the steps are omitted or the procedures are violated by taking shortcuts, then such non-compliance can result in use of wrong data/outdated information or old revisions which are superseded.


As explained in section 5 of this note, there can be many more problems in addition to the 12 sources as elaborated. These are mainly due to following reasons:

1. Reasons For Sources of Problems
  • Improper and/or lack of communication
  • Casual Approach to the serious nature and importance of the interaction
  • Litharge on the part of an individual or individuals
  • Not understanding the QA procedures
  • Notion that QA-procedures are an un-necessary burden and bye-passing or skipping the steps.
  • Conflicting situations, difference of opinions and not arriving at the jointly acceptable solution.
  • Not following the priorities or not prioritizing the work and generating data in wrong sequence
  • Not understanding the difficulties and problems of the other disciplines/norms/codes/practices.
  • Likes and dis- likes for persons and type of work.
  • Lack of Cost—Consciousness or knowledge of cost.
  • Ignorance or tendency to hide ignorance.
  • Shyness to ask the superiors or colleagues.

Thus there can be many more subsidiary reasons.

2. How to prevent / minimize the problems in interface areas

A. Be clear in thinking

B. Study/understand the job under execution.

C. Form habit of listing’ down the doubts. Missing things and querr1es while studying the basic data received from others.

D. Make check—list (or use standard check—lists already in use) of the data/information required by others (and also to be received from others)

E. Strictly follow the QA and other departmental and interdepartmental procedures.

F. Receiver should check the correctne ss and completeness of the data received and should reject or return to the sender asking him to complete and then send—(this incompleteness can be in respect of bad non-legible documents/no signatures and approval/missing dimensions/details, no revision numbers on the documents etc.

G. Communicate clearly/completely and ensure that the other has correctly understood you.

H. Go fully prepared in co—ordination meetings during which most of the mutual problems can be sorted out.

J. Understand the problems of others whenever there is difference of opinions on technical matters. Interact by keeping in mind the ce3ective of resolving and arriving at common decision.

K. Be aware of the fact that all future problems, delays, mistakes, errors, re-doing, dismantling and extra un-necessary costs to clients and consultants, have their root causes deeply burred in the “interaction phase” of the project. If interaction is made in rational / serious manner, most of the future problems can be prevented at the root - level.

L. Therefore, be prompt, correct, neat, clear, precise, brief, timely, compromising, and serious while generating, sending and receiving the Data/documents /information.

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