Constructing a new facility for an operating or oilfield services company is a significant undertaking involving an investment of millions of dollars and up to three years. This timeline begins when a business case for a facility is prepared and continues until facility commissioning. As building construction is not a core business of operating and service companies, there are different approaches to the issue, ranging from 100% outsourcing to in-house construction groups that handle all aspects of the project. No matter which approach is taken, processes and guidelines must be established to ensure a consistent, standardized approach to projects. These processes and guidelines are developed over time and are based upon experiences and lessons learned from previous projects. One area that is often overlooked is how health, safety, and environmental (HS&E) issues should be considered in the three primary phases of a construction project: concept and feasibility, design, and construction.

After reviewing internal construction practices in 2005, one oilfield services company modified its approach to facilities construction by forming a core team responsible for oversight of large construction projects. A key objective of this group was to review current practices and develop processes and guidelines to ensure that each project follows a standardized approach. This paper details how HS&E aspects of construction are included in these processes.

The reader will follow three major activities of a construction project—land acquisition, facilities design, and facilities construction—and be provided with the key items to ensure that each phase is successfully completed from an HS&E standpoint. The material presented is taken from a detailed list of items reviewed prior to project start.

This paper is based upon lessons learned from several large construction projects. It provides information necessary for any company to review its current construction practices and ensure that HS&E requirements are met.


Planning a new facility location is a complex exercise. It requires a good understanding of the existing facilities, future needs (including the required facilities to meet expected growth), and the optimum equipment or work process flow for the departments involved in the project. It also requires an understanding of the Health, Safety, and Environmental (HS&E) issues that must be addressed during the process to ensure a successful project. This is a critical area that is often overlooked in the construction cycle because these issues are not well understood by those planning the project.

As operating and service companies do not consider building construction a part of their core business, there is no standard approach to how these projects are managed. Methods range from creating dedicated, in-house construction groups to 100% outsourcing of projects. Regardless of the approach taken, processes and guidelines must be established to ensure a consistent, standardized approach to projects. No matter the process or model chosen, all must be developed with an understanding of the basic construction cycle.

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