Choosing a Fabrication Facility: 5 Factors to Consider
When it’s time to choose a fabrication facility for your project – where should you start?
Do you pick the fabrication facility you’ve used before, or the one offering the lowest price? Do you consider location and other features like waterfront access? Is it public or privately-owned? What about its safety record and variety of services? In order to make the best decision, you should begin by focusing on what your needs are and which shop is best able to meet those needs.
1. Waterfront Access
Fabrication shops with access to inland waterways can offer customers more flexibility and cost-savings on certain projects. If your plans call for a large or irregularly sized assembly – like modules, monopoles, dock structures and fenders, mooring dolphins, sheet or pipe pilings – be sure to choose a fabrication facility that offers access to water-based transportation options near major ports.
- Ideally, the yard should be situated on a major canal or river and offer sufficient shoreline and water depth.
- It should also be outfitted with fenders to accommodate larger vessels and heavy-lifting capacity for safe and efficient transport of fabrications.
Any job that can’t be affordably and efficiently transported by truck should be handled by a fabrication shop with waterfront access.
Another key consideration when selecting a fabricator is the shop’s capacity. Ask these when choosing a fabrication shop:
- Does it specialize in one or two areas, or can it handle larger, more complex projects?
- Can they handle a last-minute order and any unforeseen challenges as they occur?
If your project is simple, a smaller shop with low overhead makes the most sense. But if you are working with adverse conditions or facing unique challenges, you’ll want a diverse facility and a more experienced fabrication team on your side.
- Any shop can quickly staff-up for a big project, but a yard that already has a core group of talented people who have worked together for years can deliver continuity and efficiencies. This is especially true when deadlines are tight and the work requires careful planning and execution, from initial design through installation.
When circumstances change – when the job is on the line – a diverse facility can make the necessary adjustments to keep the project on track.
3. Quality and Safety
A facility that meets or exceeds industry standards for quality and safety can offer customers a higher level of confidence in the shop’s crew and work.
- Another important certification standard is ISO 9001:2008, which demonstrates the fabricator’s quality control processes are in compliance with international standards.
Be sure to carefully review the company’s safety record. Choose a facility that has a confirmed track record for operating safely. Companies that do things the right way, every time, make the most reliable partners in the long run.
4. Installation and On-Site Work
Many of your small projects can be managed without additional support or resources. But for those complex or larger jobs, choose a fabrication facility that also offers field installation. Experienced teams can bring their expertise directly to your project location.
- Is your project in a plant, refinery or chemical facility? A good fabrication crew can go anywhere and handle projects of different sizes and complexity.
Choose a fabrication shop with people and capacity to handle your project’s unique challenges like:
5. Flexibility and Responsiveness
Under normal circumstances, projects go according to plan and everything turns out as expected. Unfortunately, unforeseen problems can and do arise all the time, so it pays to choose a fabrication shop that you can count on there’s a change of scope or equipment failure.
- What happens when your project requires help outside of normal business hours?
- Can the facility handle last minute expediting of material or equipment?
- Will you be dealing with a decision-maker or a middle-manager?
The best fabrication facilities offer round-the-clock, 24/7 responsiveness (including vendor services), because when things go wrong, it often can’t wait until the morning. Whether it’s a dock that’s been damaged or a client safety concern, privately-owned companies generally have a more expedited decision-making process to address these challenges in a timely fashion. These things matter when you are relying on your contractor to solve problems and ensure the project stays on-time and on-budget.
Want to know more?
Morrison offers fabrication services from our Harvey, La.-based facility, TOFCO – our Trinidad facility and Chet Morrison Contractors, S. de R.L. de C.V. – our Mexico facility. Thanks to our waterfront access, we can handle custom fabrication projects for any location around the world. We also provide coating, painting and storage services as well as on-site installation and maintenance.
We pride ourselves on our outstanding record for safety and customer satisfaction. Our experienced team is available 24/7 and ready to handle the unexpected. Whether it’s a site-built bridge or a last-minute change of plans, Morrison can get the job done. We’ve worked on everything from bridge fabrication to chemical processing plants and oil refineries – give us a call today to learn more about what our fabrication team can do for you.