WINNSBORO — Area businessmen and businesswomen met with representatives from Chicago Bridge & Iron last week to learn more about the company’s procurement and subcontracting policies.
The Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce, Fairfield County Council and the Fairfield County Economic Development office arranged the Wednesday meeting in hopes that local businesses could learn what it takes to supply either materials or services to the company’s Jenkinsville work site where it is working with SCANA to construct two new nuclear reactors.
About 30 people attended the meeting, including bed and breakfast owners and restaurant owners looking to serve the CB&I employees. The company represents worldwide energy markets.
Todd Oelze, procurement manager for Units 2 and 3, said more than 290 South Carolina businesses were awarded contracts or purchase orders in the past six months alone, meaning $50 million of purchases were made from the South Carolina companies.
State of the art engineering, construction
The engineering and construction group of the organization won the rights to do the first new nuclear construction in the United States in over 30 years. The project will take more than 10 years to complete. More than four cubic yards of dirt had to be moved just to get the site ready.
Then the CB&I engineers had to design the heavy lift derrick, the first of its kind, that would move the large modules that make up Units 2 and 3. Some of the modules are as tall as five story buildings. The Unit 2 cooling tower is almost complete.
CB&I representatives noted that they have a batch plant to produce concrete on site and the first nuclear concrete was poured in March in a 50-hour continuous pour. CB&I expects Unit 2 to become operational in March 2017 and for Unit 3 to come on line in May 2018.
Oelze, procurement manager for Units 2 and 3, explained the all-electronic process businesses needed to complete with the company. That not only would registr them for the Jenkinsville work but it would register them for all CB&I projects.
Services can be subcontracted out by CB&I’s subcontracting services. Raw materials and components must deal with the procurement services.
Businesses can provide raw materials or components to the purchasing, or procurement side of the business. Fuels, off-the-shelf engineered equipment, building material, welding rods and gases are a few examples of things the procurement office needs.
During a breakout discussion time, the room was divided into those who wanted to talk procurement and those whose interest was service-related, which made better use of people’s time and allowed networking.
Subcontractors must prequalify
Subcontractors need to become registered and also prequalify as contractors if CB&I is to consider them. A database with filters records the names and capabilities of all requalified contractors, so when the company needs a service, the database is what it consults.
Representatives said they would rather deal with the local community businesses when possible and that they take that very seriously. They will give local businesses a chance provided they are in the database.
Subcontractors must comply with the CB&I culture of safety surrounding nuclear power. Included in that is a fitness for duty provision. There is a zero tolerance for alcohol or drugs on site. CB&I representatives said people would be fired if they had an empty beer can in the back of their pickups from three nights before. All subcontractors must be drug tested by federal law.
Getting these expectations, requirement and procedures explained to him meant a great deal to area business owners such as Tom Peterson of Fairfield Industrial Services. The steel and metal fabricating business has been in Winnsboro since 1977 and does welding, design and building.
“I greatly appreciate the chamber doing this,” Peterson said. “Local industry really needs this and I hope CB&I will indeed utilize local services.”
Representatives from TruVista hoped to talk with CB&I to see if they could use existing cable and phone lines to help with communications at the site. They would need to deal with the subcontracting point of contact for the prequalification process — Marc Williams — at email@example.com, by phone at 803-345-8492 or by fax at 803-345-8461.
The on site point of contact for procurement is Oelze. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 803-932-5774 and by fax at 803-345-8461. More information about the CB&I supplier portal and bid management system can be found at www.cbi.com/suppliers.
Contact Kevin Boozer at 635-4016 ext. 14 or email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @kevinboozer.