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Painting Contract Stratagy

...Enumerate a few basic principles and then permit great amounts of autonomy. People support what they create.

Margaret J Wheatley, Writer and Management Consultant.

Author: V. Narayan

Location: 2.2.1 Liquefied Natural Gas Plant * 1


Paint work on several structures, vessels, and pipelines in the plant had started degrading even at the time of commissioning and hand-over. The main contractor obtained a release from his painting repair obligations by agreeing to a lump sum settlement.

The technical issues of selecting the right paint, surface preparation, coating thickness, etc., were manageable. It was more difficult to award watertight contracts that would guarantee an acceptable coating life and were legally enforceable. The prevailing practice was to micromanage the painting contractors by providing detailed specifications on surface preparation, paint application, and quality control, followed by close supervision from the company. We supplied the paints, but this led to a situation where the contractor would blame the paint quality and the paint vendor would blame the application quality.

We identified three levels of scope of painting work, as follows:

  • 1. General corrosion damage over large areas of the plant, typically with over 100,000 square feet of painted surface. We had time to plan and award contracts for such work.
  • 2. Corrosion damage caused by service conditions in the plant area, typically involving less than 10,000 square feet of painted surface.
  • 3. Localized corrosion in clusters or individual spots, which were difficult to define and usually needed urgent attention. Generally these involved surface areas less than 1000 square feet.
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