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EPC vs EPCM

Denition & Comparison:

Many dierent terms are tossed around the construction industry loosely describing the dierent
methodology used to design and construct new facilities and turnarounds. Unfortunately, there are
no tried and true denitions for the dierent methods and numerous variations of each of the most
popular methods.

Determining the correct form of construction contract to pursue can have a great eect on the cost
and risk associated with the construction project. The cost of construction varies inversely with the
amount of business risk the owner / nancers are willing to accept. The less business risk the
owner wishes to assume, the higher the cost of construction and management. This follows the
risk-reward mo%o for business.

The two most common types of construction contacts are EPC turn-key and EPCM. Each of these
methods have variations that can be adapted to each project as needed; example (EPCC
Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Commissioning), etc.
EPC/ EPCM Denition & Comparison

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EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction): means the company is contracted to provide
engineering, procurement and construction services by the owner. Think Design & Construct style
contracts, where the project is largely Contractor managed and the cost risk and control are
weighted towards the Contractor and away from the Owner. The EPC contractor has direct
contracts with the construction contractors.

EPCM (Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management): means the company is


contracted to provide engineering, procurement and construction management services. Other
companies are contracted by the Owner directly to provide construction services and they are
usually managed by the EPCM contractor on the Owners behalf. Think Professional Services
contracts, where the project is largely Owner managed and the cost risk and control is weighted
towards the Owner.

Included is a simplied Chart showing the dierences in the type of contracts and how each would
dier under the same situations: The list below is not a complete list of dierences between EPC
and EPCM contracts but it does address many of the major contractual dierences. The way each of
these issues is handled can be modied during contract negotiations to suit the situation and
overall goals of the project.

EPC (Engineering, Procurement EPCM (Engineering, Procurement


Task / Issue
and Construction) and Construction Management)
Negotiated & Signed solely Negotiated & signed between Owner
Equipment Supply
between EPC contractor & and Supplier /with EPCM
Contracts
Supplier contractors advise and assistance
On-Site Negotiated & Signed solely Negotiated & signed between Owner
Construction between EPC contractor & and Contractor /with EPCM
Contracts Supplier contractors advise and assistance
Suppliers chosen solely by EPC Suppliers chosen by mutual
Supplier Selection contractor with no input from agreement of Owner and EPCM
Owner contractor
EPC Contract only as good as the
original project specications
Owners can modify project
presented during bidding
specications with li%le or no
process. Changes to specications
trouble. Owner, with the assistance
/ scope of supply after awarding
of the EPCM contractor can
of contract can be expensive, due
Scope of Supply negotiate independent contracts with
to EPC contractors sole contract
suppliers / vendors at any time due
with Owner and Owners
to the fact that project is under
inability to Shop Around for
multiple (independent) contracts and
multiple quotations from
not one (1) all encompassing contract
independent contractors /
suppliers

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Warranties negotiated by
Suppliers & EPC contractor and
issued to EPC Contractor Warranties negotiated individually
directly. with each supplier by Owner with
Equipment Supply
Warranty to Owner from EPC EPCM contractors advice. Issued
Warranties
contractor is negotiated directly to Owner from the suppliers
separately between Owner and and contractors
EPC Contractor and issued to
Owner by EPC Contractor
Warranties negotiated by
Suppliers & EPC contractor and
issued to EPC Contractor
Warranties negotiated individually
directly.
with each supplier by Owner with
Warranty to Owner from EPC
EPCM contractors advice. Issued
Process Warranties contractor is negotiated
directly to Owner from the suppliers
separately between Owner and
and contractors (Usually in the form
EPC Contractor and issued to
of a Performance Bond)
Owner by EPC Contractor
(Usually in the form of a
performance Bond)
Construction Site
Site Safety solely the
Safety Site safety is monitored by EPCM
responsibility of the EPC
(General Liability contractor but site safety is the legal
contractor and sub contractors; in
Insurance, responsibility of Owner and Sub
accordance with Contractual
Workmans Contractors; in accordance with
Agreements
Compensation, Contractual Agreements
Accident, etc.)
Permi%ing is the responsibility of
the EPC contractor with the Permits are issued to the Owner
Permi%ing
exception of permits that are directly with EPCM contractor
(Environmental,
required by law to be issued in assisting in ling the necessary
Construction, etc.)
the name of the Owner of the paperwork
project
The cost risks for a project are
borne by the EPC contractor. Any The cost risks for a project are borne
cost overruns, for equipment by the Owner. Any cost overruns, for
and/or services within the EPC equipment and/or services are for
Project Budget Cost contractors scope of supply, are the Owner account (with the
Overruns for their own account and can not exception of xed price supply
be passed onto Owner unless contracts) i.e. Final equipment
change conditions occur or pricing bids / on site cost higher than
contractual agreements to the originally budgeted.
contrary

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The cost risks for a project are


borne by the EPC contractor. Any
The cost risks for a project are borne
cost savings, for equipment
by the Owner. Any cost savings, for
and/or services within the EPC
Project Budget Cost equipment and/or services are for
contractors scope of supply, are
Savings the Owner account ie.
for their own account and are not
Equipment/Services bids are
passed onto Owner unless
returned lower than budgeted.
contractual agreements to the
contrary
The day-to-day expenses for the
project are borne by the Owner but
The day-to-day expenses for the are managed and administered by
Project Day-to-Day project, within the EPC the EPCM contractor (up to
Expenses contractors scope of supply are pre-determined quantities, without
borne by the EPC contractor. Owners need for intervention).
Usually a small fund is established
by Owner for day-to-day expenses
Project Financing can be any
Project Financing is usually combination of down payments,
accomplished by substantial open accounts, and Irrevocable
down payment by Owner to EPC Le%ers of Credit from Owner to
contractor and the remainder of suppliers / contractors; whatever
the fees issued with Irrevocable method is negotiated during contract
Project Financing Le%er of Credit (with partial negotiations. EPCM contractor will
payments) from Owner to EPC assist in all negotiations on Owners
Contractor. This requires Owner to behalf. This allows Owner to have
have all nancing in place at the partial nancing in place at the onset of
onset of the Project so as to secure the Project with the remainder available
le er of credit (LC). as needed, dependant on contractual
requirements.
Legal Costs are low for Owner.
Owner negotiates only one
detailed supply contract with
EPC contractor. Legal Costs are higher for Owner.
EPC contractor must negotiate Owner negotiates multiple supply
individual contracts with contracts directly with suppliers /
suppliers / vendors. EPC contractor; with the assistance of
contractors legal costs are high EPCM contractor.
Legal Cost
due to multiple contracts. In the event of legal action is taken,
In the event of legal action is Owner must bring legal action
taken, Owner must sue EPC against individual suppliers /
contractor, who in turn must contractors. (Usually a shorter process
bring legal action against than EPC legal actions)
appropriate suppliers /
contractors. (Usually a longer
process than EPCM legal actions)

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Owners administration costs are


Owners administration costs are
higher with EPCM contracts.
low with EPC contract. Only
Substantial stang levels needed to
minimal sta (management, QC,
assist/compliment EPCM contractor
legal, etc.) needed to
Administration in administering/monitoring project.
administer/monitor project. May
Promotes ownership feeling within
have negative eect on project
Owners organization. Project sta often
ownership feeling within Owners
transferred to operational sta after
organization (Hands o).
project completion.
EPC and EPCM contracting are both very prevalent types of contracts within the construction
industry. Dependent on the level of risk the Owner of a project is willing to accept, budget
constraints, and the Owners organization core competencies, will determine which method is best
for their project.
EPC contracting tends to be more expensive, to the Owner, due to the shift of project risk away
from the Owner and to the EPC Contractor. On average, a projects cost 10% 20% more using
EPC style of contracting than a project using the EPCM style of contracting. This is due in large
part to the projects risk being more evenly distributed between the Owner and contracts /
suppliers.

Construction contracting trends have been leaning towards the EPCM style of contracting and away
from EPC contracting for several reasons but both methods have their place in business today.

EPCM Advantages:
Lower Overall Cost
Stas Sense of Ownership
More Control over Process
Be%er for less dened projects with anticipated changes to scope of supply
Less Legal Litigation (Identify issues early and remedy situation before larger problems arise)
Owners Financing Flexibility

These are just a few of the advantages of EPCM style of construction contracting.
EPC contracting has it place in the construction industry as well. Under certain situations, it makes
be%er sense to use this type of construction contracting than other methods.

EPC Advantages:
One Stop Shopping One point of Contact
Hands o approach to project
Minimal Stang Requirements
Minimal Legal Risk
Best for Well dened projects with Detailed Engineering Complete before EPC Contractor
selected (Minimal Unknowns).

As stated before, these construction contract methods can be tailored to the individual projects /
owners needs. Some companies can go as far as breaking up each portion of the EPC / EPCM
(Engineering, Procurement, Construction / Construction Management) to separate companies. One
company can do the engineering; another can do the procurement, while still another can do the
construction / project management).

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EPC vs EPCM | https://plexusconsultants.wordpress.com/services/epcm/engineering-serv...

Each company must decide for themselves, with the advice of legal and nancial counsels, as to
which method of construction contracting is best for their particular project and situation.

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