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Daring to Take on Responsibilities, Fighting a Hard-fought Battle

Release time:2019-12-23 Article source: Reading times: A+AA-

SOYO Power Plant Connection Line Project (general contracting and subcontracting) (hereinafter referred to as "SOYO Connection Line Project"), located in East Luanda, Angola, consists of 3 400kV power transmission lines, 4 220kV power transmission lines, 4 60kV power transmission lines, 3 60kV new substations and 1 400kV substation. The project started in July 2014 and ended in July 2017. In January 2019, the project won the Quality Award of SINOMACH.

In the whole process from the trial and error at the beginning of the project to perfect performance at the peak, and from the commencement of the base construction for the first iron tower, power transmission through lines, to the acquisition of provisional acceptance certificate, the management team of CMEC has always adhered to the construction idea of quality first and allocated construction resources strictly according to project phase requirements of the owner. The successful completion of the project has helped CMEC build a good corporate image in local areas and laid a solid foundation for long-term development of CMEC in the Angolan market!

Strictly Controlling Project Quality

The foreign supervisor of the project is Dar, a supervision and consulting company in Lebanon. Featuring the rigorousness of Middle East companies and professionalism of European companies, Dar is famous for its strict and harsh supervision in the field of infrastructure construction in Angola.

As it was the first cooperation between CMEC and Dar, both parties experienced a tough "run-in period" due to the lack of partnership of mutual trust between them.

Dar has always been known for its strict and harsh control over details. Every step during the construction, important or trivial, must be reviewed and approved by related professional supervision engineers, or the next step could not be started. For the foundation of an ordinary line tower, Dar's engineers established 14 procedures for the application for inspection. Even if a procedure could be handled a day, it would take 14 days. In that case, the project progress would be hindered greatly. For this reason, the site team of CMEC held meetings with Dar for many times, and demonstrated and explained the construction technology to Dar's engineers on site, aiming to make them learn about and believe in CMEC's construction technology and quality and prove to them that the project management team of CMEC as the general contractor also exercises a rigid control over the construction quality of the project.

After the coordination, demonstration and field observation for a period of time, Dar fully learned about CMEC's strict requirements for construction quality, and agreed to reduce the number of procedures for the application for inspection from 14 to 7. After they fully trusted the site project management team and construction team, they reduced the number of procedures from 7 to 3. The construction progress was greatly speeded up on the premise of ensuring the project quality.

With the advancement of construction, CMEC site team's "spirit of workmanship" of daring to take on responsibilities and strictly controlling project quality left a deep impression on the owner and supervisor.

In general, high-voltage lines are far away from main roads, therefore it is extremely difficult to transport equipment and materials during the rainy season. I still remember the situation that the foundation of a remote corner tower for a 400kV power transmission line need be poured with 20 cubic meters of concrete. However, it was a rainy season. Road conditions were quite poor. According to the agreement between CMEC and Dar, concrete mixer trucks must arrive at the site within three hours after leaving the concrete mixing station in order to ensure the concrete pouring quality. If it took more than three hours, concrete admixture need be added. When the concrete mixer trucks reached the site, three hours had passed. But CMEC's engineers found that the concrete had been cured when they were about to add concrete admixture. In that case, even if the concrete admixture was added, the foundation quality could not be ensured. Therefore, even though the concrete met supervision requirements, it could not be used. The supervisor reported the matter to the owner afterwards, and commended CMEC team's "workmanship spirit" of daring to take on responsibilities and strictly controlling project quality!

Doing the Best in Coordination

The SOYO Connection Line Project is mainly about high-voltage lines. It is located in the capital with extremely high price of land. There were a number of land requisition coordination problems in the process of construction. For high-voltage power transmission lines, considering the cost and aesthetics, the routes of lines shall be straight as far as possible. But the problem of land requisition coordination influenced the selection of line routes greatly.

According to the project contract, the GAMEK (Middle Kwanza River Basin Development Office) under the management of Angola Ministry of Energy and Water, the owner, shall be responsible for the land requisition coordination. However, GAMEK was seriously short of manpower during the actual operation. They could only send an owner representative to the project site. But the owner representative was not good at dealing with the relationship with local people in the place where the project is located, so land requisition coordination problems occurred frequently.

As long as a certain tower of a power transmission line could not be built, the route and design had to be changed, and the number of iron towers might increase, which would result in serious losses. Facing the situation, CMEC discussed with GAMEK about it, and hired a local employee who knew well about the conditions in the construction area as recommended by the owner representative. One the one hand, the employee could arrive at the construction site for coordination within the specified time of CMEC, and could work on holidays; on the other hand, he spoke the local dialect, so he could communicate with the aged not understanding Portuguese. Moreover, he knew well of local customs which was favorable to the coordination work. With the involvement of the employee, the mode of the owner representative's coordination, supplemented by the CMEC local employee's coordination, took shape gradually, significantly increasing the success rate of land acquisition coordination, and ensuring the optimal route of lines to the greatest extent. As a result, the aesthetics of line was guaranteed, construction progress was accelerated, and a large amount of cost was saved.

Meanwhile, as the project was mainly about high-voltage lines, the coordination of power outage was involved in the process of wire laying. Due to dense mid- and low-voltage transmission lines in the capital, every high-voltage line CMEC built crossed multiple mid- and low-voltage and even high-voltage lines. Three newly built lines need be connected with existing high-voltage lines, which required power outage for a long period of time. It was a huge challenge for Angola where electricity was not abundant. Therefore, CMEC communicated actively with the owner and supervision engineers to optimize the construction technology and formulate power outage plans reasonably. They did the best to reduce the time of power outage, and submitted a formal application for power outage to the owner two weeks in advance, thus allowing the owner to have plenty of time to prepare for the power outage and increasing the success rate of power outage application.

When the project was about to end, a newly built 220kV line had to be connected with an existing line. However, it was the only line supplying power to Luanda, so the electric power company only permitted a power outage of one and a half days. But, normally, it took three days to complete the connection. In order to meet the requirements of the owner, CMEC discussed with the owner and supervisor repeatedly and finally determined a high-efficiency construction plan. At the same time, the project management team actively mobilized all construction resources in Angola, and formulated a detailed night construction plan with the construction unit on the premise of ensuring safety. The Project Manager of the owner (GAMEK's Deputy General Manager) reached the site in person that night to guide the construction together with the supervision team and CMEC project management team. Finally, the connection was completed successfully in one and a half days required by the Angola Ministry of Energy and Water, wining the reputation of "Being Able to Fight a Hard-fought Battle" for CMEC.

CMEC mainly conducted the defect repair and checking and hand-over of completion drawings and spare parts at the stage of project conclusion. As most lines and substations of the project have been used for power transmission after completion, for most of defect repair work, CMEC need formulate the defect elimination and acceptance plans together with the owner and supervisor to confirm the times and hours of power outage. The subsequent defect elimination must be conducted strictly according to the plan. Defects shall be repaired and accepted within the specified time of power outage. To this end, CMEC specially arranged two professional engineers and an interpreter to assume the task. One of the engineers was mainly responsible for coordination with and management of the construction unit in terms of defect statistics and repair. And the other engineer was mainly responsible for sorting out completion drawings and spare parts, managing and allocating materials and tools for defect elimination in a unified manner. The interpreter was responsible for helping the two engineers communicate with the owner and supervisor, so as to coordinate the time of power outage and formulate defect repair and acceptance plans together. CMEC's consistent follow-through and responsible attitude and actions have left a deep impression on the owner and supervisor.

With the guidance and support of the company's leaders, as well as the leadership of the leaders in the business division and joint efforts of all domestic and foreign staff of the SOYO Connection Line Project, the project team has overcome all kinds of difficulties all the way, and smoothly completed the project within the established time frame with the quality that the owner and supervisor trust, making the project a benchmark of CMEC in the electric power construction field in Angola. The management team of SOYO Connection Line Project has never flinched in the face of difficulties, but dared to take on responsibilities and given play to the outstanding spirit of workmanship in the nick of time, like an elite spearhead. (SOYO Connection Line Project Department)