February 2019

Six tips to help you navigate from consent to construction

Derek Duckett

Derek Duckett

There is a hive of activity presently taking place around the upcoming UK offshore wind leasing rounds, but we mustn’t forget all the good work ongoing with the projects already in development. In the UK, there is a growing list of offshore wind projects that are either in the early stages of, or, working towards construction and installation.

This phase of a project brings with it a different set of tasks and challenges to those encountered during the pre-bid and consenting phases of a project.

Derek Duckett shares his six top tips to help projects successfully navigate the path from consent to construction.

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1. Design changes – Ensure your project has a formal design change process which includes consideration of consenting issues. This will allow identification of any consent implications at the earliest opportunity, including any need for consent variation. Such requirements need to be built into the overall project budget and schedule to avoid showstoppers.

2. Post consent permits and licences – Generate a permits and licences register and use it to track progress of the applications required, taking account of regulator review and public consultation periods in the project schedule.

3. Managing consent conditions – The management of multi organisation responsibilities for consent condition compliance is a challenge for every developer. Ensure a suitably resourced post consent and environmental management team who can work out the finer points of condition responsibilities and enshrine, an agreement of expectations from all parties involved. For developers and depending on the scale of the project a team consisting of a consents manager, ECoW and environmental manager supported by project HSE and engineering teams is recommended to help manage post consent requirements.

4. Contractual arrangements – A consents schedule should be an integral part of all contracts with principal contractors and is the key mechanism by which a developer can ensure consent condition compliance. Principal contractors can then cascade relevant conditions to each of their subcontractors through their own contractual processes.

5. Environmental management documentation – These documents together with the contract schedule provide an agreed method of working throughout the project’s life. Which will inevitably need periodically updated. Project specific Environmental Management Plans, can help resolve project expectations and any subsequent disagreements later in the project.

6. Training and awareness – Once all environmental management and other consent plans have been agreed, communication of their requirements is needed. This should start with those with specific responsibilities being trained on project training/awareness courses. Those with more general responsibilities should be communicated with through a formal project induction. Specific topics can also be addressed through tool box talks and/or project lessons learned sessions to the workforce.

Much of the above may seem like common sense, however it’s how its implemented that will help a project successfully comply with its consent conditions, whilst reducing the risk of environmental and financial damages. Early engagement with experienced post consent and environmental specialists, such as Xodus, is recommended to assist the management of the post consents burden for offshore renewables projects.

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