When the CHIPS and Science Act passed in July 2022, it helped boost investment to increase production of American-made semiconductors and to close the gap on supply chain vulnerabilities. As part of the bill, a dedicated $39 billion was assigned to incentivize the expansion, modernization, and development of the American semiconductor industry and its workforce. The initiative will help bolster production of semiconductors and support many of the industries that are feeling the pinch the most: cell phone manufacturers, medical equipment, and vehicle production.
Pricing for vehicles and other commodities using semiconductors have risen in the past few years due to high demand and low supply from pauses in production. As part of this bill, the funds going toward manufacturing incentives will support several facilities aiming to advance domestic competition and provide relief to those consumers feeling the brunt of the slowdown.
These areas for production could benefit from the relief of the supply imbalance, and manufacturers can support in a major way. It is important for manufacturers operating under a speed-to-market framework to understand what it will take to commission a plant and start production quickly without significant overruns of costs and time.
Benefits of Early Contractor Involvement (ECI)
The reality is that not all designs translate seamlessly into construction operations I the field. Traditional bid-build projects operate on phased approaches from design creation first to a bid for construction, typically with no collaboration among the owner, designer and contractor. Anticipated costs discussed early on before construction could increase substantially during the build stage when unforeseen circumstances arise, leaving the owner to have to accept a higher overall cost.
In choosing an alternative project delivery model in line with your project goals, it ensures better collaboration among teams while creating a more realistic budget and schedule that can be met.
Knowledge and Expertise with Large, Complex Facilities
The components of a semiconductor facility can be as nuanced in design as the chips they will produce. The right contractor should have a deep understanding of handling large-scale industrial projects that forge a stronger partnership in vision and execution. It is just as important to plan for changes to manufacturing as it would be setting up for success today. Anticipating opportunities to scale resources and update technology within your facility can help lessen production downtime while still affording innovation with minimal changes.
Having a strong contracting partner that has built cutting edge solutions within various industries lessens the need to have to revisit and redesign sooner than anticipated. Construction-focused engineering contractors within Kiewit have consistently proven this through innovative projects such as the Fort Meade HPCC 2 data center facility.
Kiewit’s deep well of resources includes modular solutions that aide in speed-to-market. For many manufacturers, prefabrication solutions can promote schedule certainty and improve quality. Including the contractor early can better determine how modularization can benefit your project.
Achieve Outcome Certainty
Executing a project with estimates that do not include input from the construction team is like driving a car to an unknown destination on a gut feeling. Without reviewing where you are going and how you plan on getting there ahead of time can result in wasted time and fuel.
Rather than settling on a budget based on unsubstantiated estimates, having an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner in your corner creates a greater sense of transparency from the very start of your project. This partnership helps set the strategy that establishes accurate estimates before breaking ground. Not all EPC partners are alike, so it is important to establish due diligence on resource availability and how communication will be handled to help you see the full picture without having to be always in the driver’s seat. Adding in a turnkey solution like EPC results in more aligned cost and schedule certainty all the way through commission.
About the Author
Zack Taylor is a licensed professional engineer with more than 15 years of experience. He leads Kiewit Industrial’s business development efforts in the advanced manufacturing market.