Ever since the development of high quality synthetic membranes in the 1960s, there has been a rise in the use of membrane technology for water purification. Today, membranes are seen as a better, more cost-effective alternative to distillation-based techniques for desalinization of seawater, and conventional softening and filtration for groundwater.
Unique issues related to the development, design and procurement of a membrane project merit incorporating team members with specialized experience. In conventional construction projects there are three main parties: the owner, the engineer, and the contractor. In projects that involve specialized processes, such as membrane treatment, an experienced system supplier with particular expertise on the process is also usually involved. This party is generally called an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), a Membrane System Supplier (MSS), or something similar.
The table below lists the Goals and Roles for these four key parties in a membrane treatment project:
These descriptions summarize the basic goals and responsibilities of the construction project members. All of the members share the overall goal of achieving a successful and trouble-free complete project. Unfortunately, the proliferation of construction disputes indicates these goals and responsibilities are not commonly being met. The monetary value of construction disputes in North America in 2014 was nearly 30 million dollars.
The reasons most often cited for construction disputes are:
- Contractors who bid too low
- Ambiguous contract documents
- Owner discretionary changes
- Unrealistic risk taking by the contractor
- Failure to deal promptly with changes
- Poor communication
Involving experienced, specialized parties in a membrane project can help to avoid these common causes of construction disputes. A specialized reverse osmosis OEM has the most experience in the technology and can help make sure the bid documents are complete and accurate, the contractor’s pricing will be thorough and responsible, and the Owner will have considered important aspects of membrane-specific projects.
One of the most important benefits of including a membrane treatment specialist/OEM on your project is that the owner will be connected with a knowledgeable resource that can provide advice, service, and support throughout the life of the project, whereas the general contractor will be gone as soon as the project is completed.
Harn R/O Systems employs professional engineers that can help provide process input on your membrane project in Florida or across the world. Harn is a licensed general contractor that can direct your project or be an important design-build or construction management team member. Contact us for more information on how incorporating membrane treatment specialist in your project can save money and headaches in the long run.