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Re: SPECIFICATIONS: "Process Industry Practices"

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As with many upstart entities the PIPs started off pretty rough a number of years ago but the current set is very good.  The actual development was from a consortium of the major Petroleum EPC contractors (Fluor, Bechtel, Jacobs, etc.) along with the major Petroleum Clients.  You will need to check with your clients on a case by case basis to see if they have made the switch to the PIPs or are they still using their old company specifications (it most likely is their call not yours).  Typically the way they are used is with a cover sheet that notes ADDS, DELETIONS, or MODIFICATIONS to each of the PIP specifications for unique client requirements or in some cases local municipality requirements.  I would recommend going with the PIPs where allowed by your clients.  Note also that unless they are provided by your client there is a fee for being a member of the PIP organization.

Thomas Hunt, S.E.

Bill Polhemus <bill(--nospam--at)>
03/01/2007 09:21 AM
Please respond to seaint
SPECIFICATIONS: "Process Industry Practices"

As the petroleum processing industry has taken off to unprecedented
levels* in the recent past--and will probably be quite busy for the
foreseeable future--I have taken to working "full time" for a single
client, who is an old-line fabricator and constructor of steel-plate
structures and equipment that has purchased a small EPC (that's
Engineering, Procurement and Construction for the curious) firm in Texas
and is moving into the EPC business.

The company is a hodge-podge of folks from all the various players in
the EPC business. The Houston office is expected to grow from the fifty
people they had a year ago, to about 700 by the end of this year.

Anyway, one problem they're struggling with is developing civil and
structural engineering standards, especially construction
specifications. Since these are typically EPC contracts--that would be
called "design build" in the commercial and facilities world--you're
really writing specs as the engineering division that will be used by
the construction division of the same company, so these aren't typically
documents "for bid." However, the functional or procedural importance of
engineer specifications remains.

It's been awhile since I've been in this "bidness," and the last time I
was, it was a company that already had established specifications and
procedures (for better or worse). So I haven't had to do anything like
this "from scratch" before. And most of my spec-writing experience has
been with documents for bid, and I'm conscious of the fact that there
could be a difference.

I'm now aware that there is an entity called "Process Industry
Practices" (PIP) that is described as being "a consortium of process
industry owners and engineering construction contractors (usually known
as EPC firms) who serve the [process] industry." It appears to be the
brainchild of the Construction Industry Institute which is headquartered
at the University of Texas at Austin. The website for PIP is at

The documents produced by PIP, called "Practices," are not limited to
specifications per se, but also "guidelines," etc. The whole body of
Practices seems more akin to the various ACI standards published in the
Manual of Concrete Practice. That said, there are a limited number of
Civil and Structural Practices that read pretty much like construction
specifications, but they do not follow a standard format like CSI
(although the standard numbering system appears to utilize the CSI
Masterformat 1994 divisions), and they don't appear to be intended as
"boilerplate" specs that one would tailor to a specific project.

As I'm sure there are folks here who have had experience in the "process
industry" side of things, I'd like to solicit comments about the PIP
documents, and some idea of how you've used them, or seen them used.

Thanks in advance.

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