Medupi Power Station, South Africa

The client

In July 2011 when Hitachi Power Africa needed assistance changing the contract structure on the new Medupi power station in Limpopo Province, South Africa, Shanahan Engineering was more than happy to help.  Upon completion, the new dry-cooled coal fired power station with its six boilers each powering an 800 MW turbine producing 4800 MW of power will be one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Shanahan Engineering was subsequently brought in to kick start the construction of boiler six, the first boiler to be commissioned, including responsibility for the complete mechanical erection.  From two consultants to a current team of over 100 highly skilled engineers, Shanahan Engineering is set to be on site until 2015.

The challenge

Prior to Shanahan Engineering’s involvement with the Medupi project, milestones were not being met and cost overrun was a major problem.  In particular, there were challenges regarding productivity of labour, scheduling, work planning and meeting targets.

The approach

Shanahan Engineering moved quickly to firstly change the mentality on site, instigating work planning, improving communication and accountability.  This involved instilling a sense of urgency – or outage mentality – by planning outcomes on a 24/7, hour by hour basis to ensure targets were met. 

Shanahan Engineering also brought in a group of young engineers to complete the steel work erection planning, including pre-assemblies and work packs.  The engineering and construction management team also engaged 30 specialist steel erectors to work alongside and train local personnel at Medupi in the current internationally accepted process of steel erection.

The result

In a short space of time, the steel erection count increased (going from 30 to over 500 members at peak). Not only were milestones were being met but productivity had increased significantly.  Hydro-testing of boiler six took place in June 2012.  Not one field weld, for which Shanahan Engineering were responsible, failed in the pressure tests. 

Shanahan Engineering continues to work with Hitachi Power Africa on the Medupi project and is on target for completion of the full mechanical works by 2015.

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