The benefits of a Site Investigation Package Manager to your project

At Ternan our expert team has significant and diverse experience working in all aspects of marine geoscience, throughout the marine infrastructure life-cycle. One of the client focused roles we offer for engineering projects is that of SI Package Manager.

We spoke to our Geotechnical Manager James Deacon to find out more about the benefits this role brings to our clients.

Thank you James, can you start by explaining what a Site Investigation Package Manager is?

An SI Package Manager oversees the planning, operational and technical elements of a project, ensuring the scope of works is completed as required, as well as overseeing health and safety elements.

They are also responsible for dealing with the unexpected surprises and scope changes along the way, such as bedrock not being situated where it was expected. They will then tweak the scope and plan to ensure all data that is needed is collected.

The SI Package Manager will be the main contact person between the site investigation contractor and the client. They will project manage everything within the scope, answering questions between other packages such as cables and foundations, making sure everyone has everything they need in terms of data from the Site Investigation etc to complete the project.

They are constantly looking out for our clients best interests. One example is looking at foundation optimisation, both from a technical and budgetary perspective and how the Site Investigation can help with this.

An SI Package Manager is not always on site, there may be a lot of investigation to be done before everyone is on site which can be done from an office base. Frequent site visits can be more beneficial than lengthy stays on site.

What are the benefits to our clients?

The biggest benefit to our clients is having a dedicated resource and point of contact with the expertise for the job. An SI Package Manager is a trusted team member that makes sure everything runs smoothly, taking on the hard work and communication between all the different teams.

They are not just a generic project manager, but a specialised technical expert.

What is an unexpected benefit of having an SI Package Manager on your team?

Site Investigation is just one package element of a project which leads into other things such as the foundations package, so they will often end up using the expertise across our team.

As a multi-disciplined organisation we can offer other packages as needed to access the full complement of skill sets across the Ternan team. We refer to this integration as the 5G's and you can read more about our approach here.

What do clients not realise at the start, what is underappreciated about the role?

Managing budget and contractors are the two main challenges of an SI Package Manager, they are constantly asking questions throughout the process and offering solutions and alternatives to keep on budget.

Contractor management can also be time consuming throughout the project, there is so much documentation just to get mobilised and this is not always realised at the start of a project.

They bring real world expertise and experience so for example when looking at weather limits, an SI Package Manager can understand forecast versus real time conditions and what can be worked in.

What should people look out for when engaging with a prospective SI Package Manager?

Most importantly, someone who has real site experience as they will be able to understand the operations, processes and limitations.

They will have experience of limitations in equipment and how different personnel work in order to interact with the site team, i.e. drillers to get the best out of everybody on site. Each team has their own personalities and ways of working so it's really important to hire an SI Package Manager who understands the whole environment, not just their specific role.

What questions should you ask at the start of the project to scope it properly?

If it's really early days in a project then having a good understanding of any geological, geotechnical, geophysical data or desktop studies carried out is vital. It's important to ask what existing data is available. 

  • Ask what foundation type the clients are thinking about as this will drive what data is needed.
  • Is there a budget in mind, what is it and is there any movement in this?
  • Asset layout is crucial to understand at the beginning of a project.
  • Find out about the timeline and how much will time pressures affect the project? For example if they are looking to go out and start drilling asap there will be a smaller vessel window compared with engaging in the industry to secure a vessel for a longer duration or at a more favourable time of year for weather conditions.

Are there fun parts to the job?

Absolutely, it's a great job! I personally love to work from a conceptual ground model, getting all the physical samples back to see how that differs from ground model, then rebuilding that into a more realistic model. That's always good fun.

The role is constantly moving with the ups and downs of a project. There is always something different to be done each day.

If you would like any more information on our SI Package Manager services and how the Ternan approach can drive your project please contact us