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Team building for an integrated power project


An international consortium was the preferred provider for a new power plant, with capacity of 1,200–1,400 MW, to be delivered as a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) project. The project involved the design, financing, construction, commissioning, testing, ownership, operation and maintenance of a greenfield power plant and associated facilities over a 20-year period. The electricity company for whom the plant was to be built would provide the fuel, and take all the plant’s output under a power purchase agreement (PPA).

The consortium wished to undertake a risk assessment to identify the potential risks to the project. There were two specific objectives for the workshop:

  • Establish strong communication and a shared understanding between the seven main stakeholder organisations involved in delivering the project and operating the power plant
  • Develop a project risk register that would be of value to the combined project team.

A three-day workshop was preferred, as this would allow:

  • Presentations and case material from stakeholder organisations, with relevant discussion
  • Detailed discussion and assessment of threats and opportunities associated with each aspect of the project.

Broadleaf prepared and facilitated the workshop. We also provided a skilled workshop recorder, so the workshop leader could focus on facilitation and getting the most from the workshop participants.


Our approach was based on the international risk management standard ISO 31000 Risk management – Principles and guidelines (compatible with IEC 62198 Managing risk in projects – Application guidelines), summarised in Figure 1.

  • Establishing the context was completed before the workshop and was summarised in a briefing note.
  • The risk assessment workshop identified the main threats and opportunities for the project, analysed their consequences and likelihoods and developed agreed priorities. Responsibilities were allocated for High risks.
  • The development of detailed treatment plans for addressing the most important risks was the responsibility of the project team after the workshop. Responsibilities for threats and opportunities rated High were allocated during the workshop and were recorded in the risk register.

Figure 1: Risk management process

Risks were interpreted as deviations from what was expected or planned to occur. Threats involved negative changes from desired objectives, while opportunities involved benefits or enhancements to project objectives.


Establishing the context

We reviewed project documents and developed an outline context statement. This was a critical preparatory step for a sound risk assessment process for the workshop.

Many stakeholders were identified and their interests in the project were documented. They included:

  • The Government, the Government-owned power authority and Government regulators
  • The local authority
  • The local community and local industry
  • The seven consortium partners.

Aspects of the context are summarised in Table 1.

Table 1: Context extract



Economic growth

The population is increasing and the economy is growing

Sustainment of the current level of industrialisation is a key Government objective

Electricity demand and supply

Demand for electricity is increasing

New generation capacity is coming on stream and further capacity growth is planned


The power authority will provide fuel

The detailed constituents of the fuel (including ash and sulphur) may affect the long-term integrity of the boilers

Government relations

The consortium has a cooperative relationship with Government

There is a supportive policy for PPP projects like this one

The legal system is reliable and stable

Internal project relationships

There are many related stakeholders for the project, in several countries, with different languages and with complex contractual arrangements; working well together will be a challenge

PPA and grid interconnection

The power authority will take all power generated by the project over 20 years

Project language

Operation and maintenance manuals and procedures will have to be provided in English

Regulation and permitting

Government approvals and permits are required for construction and operation of the project

Specific codes must be determined and agreed for design, construction and operation of the plant, including local codes, codes in the countries where fabrication is being undertaken and other international codes

Air emission levels for SOx, NOx and particulates are constrained


Proven technology is mandated in the Government requirement

From the context analysis, we developed a set of key elements for structuring the risk assessment, summarised in Figure 2. This was an extensive set of elements, as there was time to explore all aspects of the project in detail over the planned three-day period.

Figure 2: Key elements

Assessment scales

We prepared and agreed a set of scales for consequences, likelihoods and risk ratings to be used for setting priorities in the workshop, based on the context material.

Consequences were measured in terms of the potential effect of an event or change in circumstances on the success criteria for the project. Criteria for assessing the effects of threats and opportunities on project objectives are listed in Table 2.

Table 2: Project success criteria



Power tariff

Acceptable power tariff: effect of capital, operating and maintenance costs on the tariff


Employment prospects for local people


Timing for bringing new power generation capacity on stream


Reliability of supply; plant availability in relation to the mandated target


Acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) impacts on staff, contractors and the public

Reputation and image

Reputation and image of the project participants in its widest sense, including loss of Government or community support

Environment and regulation

Compliance with regulatory codes and practices, including environmental requirements

In the assessment part of the workshop, each threat and opportunity was rated in terms of its potential consequences and the likelihood of those consequences arising, given the controls in place. The consequence scale was linked to the criteria in Table 2; it is summarised in Table 3. (Note: A to E are consequence ratings for threats; AO to EO are consequence ratings for opportunities.)

Table 3: Consequence rating scale





Severe: most criteria may not be achieved

Outstanding: most criteria may be enhanced substantially


Major: most criteria threatened, or one not achieved

Major: most criteria may be improved, or one enhanced substantially


Moderate: some criteria affected

Moderate: some criteria improved


Minor: easily remedied

Minor: some benefit


Insignificant: very small impact

Insignificant: very small benefit

The likelihood scale refers to the potential for opportunities or threats to occur and lead to the assessed level of consequences (Table 4).

Table 4: Likelihood scale


Indicative frequency of the assessed level of consequences arising

Typical recurrence


Almost certain

Very high, may occur in most or many circumstances, more than once per year

More than 1 per year



Likely to arise at least once per year

1 per year



Possible, may arise at least once in a one to five year period

1 per 5 years



Not impossible, could occur at some time in the next ten years

1 per 10 years



May occur only in exceptional circumstances

Less than 1 per 10 years

A simple table converted the consequence and likelihood ratings to initial levels of risk (Table 5, summarised in Figure 3). As a guide, the level of threat had the following interpretation, with a similar interpretation for exploiting opportunities:

  • Extreme; an intolerable threat that might threaten the survival or effectiveness of the project, where immediate action would be required at a senior level
  • High; an intolerable threat that would have a significant adverse effect on the project, where senior management attention would be needed
  • Medium; a barely tolerable threat where management responsibility should be specified
  • Low; a tolerable threat that could be managed by routine procedures.

Table 5: Levels of risk

Figure 3: Priority rating summary

Questionnaire and preliminary risk register

We prepared a short questionnaire for the workshop participants. This required responses on the top five threats and the top five opportunities in each area of the project, and the controls that were currently in place for each one. We compiled these responses into a preliminary risk register of over 60 headline risk items to take into the workshop.

Items were grouped into the elements in Figure 2. Information in the register included:

  • The key element
  • A description of the threat or opportunity
  • The current controls in place now
  • Notes on additional controls that might be considered.

Briefing note

We prepared a briefing note for workshop participants. This set out the purpose of the workshop, summarised the context material and outlined the risk assessment process and scales to be used.

Workshop confirmation

On the day prior to the workshop, we discussed all aspects of the project with the project team, and reviewed the workshop presentation material. The objective was to confirm our detailed understanding of the project and to ensure all presenters understood the workshop structure, focus and timing requirements. We also confirmed the workshop administration and logistics.


Agenda and participation

A detailed agenda was issued immediately prior to the workshop. In broad terms, it covered:

  • Introductions: who was participating, what each brought to the workshop and what each hoped to gain from it
  • Information sharing: presentations from participants on different aspects of the project and key issues as they saw them
  • Risk assessment: threat and opportunity identification, analysis and evaluation
  • Conclusions: review of workshop outcomes and lessons, agreement on next steps.

Thirty senior representatives from organisations associated with the project participated in the workshop.

Communication activities

A large part of the workshop was devoted to information sharing, including some 20 presentations and associated discussions. The wide range of perspectives provided all participants with additional insights into the project, the project management processes that were planned, and their own roles in achieving project success.

Topics that were discussed included:

  • Workshop introduction, objectives and structure
  • Project and power generation overview
  • Lessons learned from design and construction of similar BOOT projects
  • Major technology and project management
  • Codes and standards
  • Boiler technology
  • Generator technology
  • Heat rate optimisation
  • Environmental matters
  • Offshore procurement
  • Logistics
  • Insurance
  • Plant operations
  • Maintenance optimisation
  • Workshop outcomes, next steps and conclusions.

Further discussions were an integral part of the project risk identification, analysis and evaluation.

Risk assessment

The risk assessment followed a standard process. The same steps were followed for each key element in Figure 2.

  • The nature of the element was discussed briefly, drawing on the presentation material from the participants
  • Relevant risks and associated controls from the preliminary register were reviewed, and the descriptions adjusted as necessary
  • Additional risks and controls were noted
  • Consequences and the likelihoods of them arising were rated, using the scales in Table 3 and Table 4
  • Risk owners were noted.

The risk register

The workshop identified 128 threats and 28 opportunities, summarised in Table 6. There were no extreme risks.

Table 6: Summary of threats and opportunities


The primary outcome from the risk workshop was a risk register for the project, covering the design, manufacture, construction, commissioning and operations phases, with agreed ratings of consequences, likelihoods and levels of risk. This was a snapshot of threats and opportunities, as they existed at the time of the workshop, in a form suitable for use in subsequent phases of the project.

As well as generating a risk register, the workshop generated significant understanding, communication and team-building outcomes. All participants had an opportunity to share their knowledge with the rest of the team. They developed an understanding of all aspects of the project, where their own specific areas of interest fitted into the whole and how they could contribute to the achievement of project outcomes.

The workshop provided a structured environment in which the participants could interact, both technically and socially. They developed an appreciation of and respect for each other’s capabilities and experience and the value they could add to the project. By the end of three relatively long days, the participants had developed a solid sense of pride in what they had achieved together, and great confidence that they could go on as a team to deliver the project and achieve excellent outcomes.

We observe these communication and team-building benefits frequently in our work, particularly in the early stages of a project when a team is being formed. The benefits are even more valuable when the team is drawn from separate and perhaps disparate organisations. In these circumstances, all the participants have an opportunity to demonstrate their own technical expertise, and to see the technical expertise of others. Capabilities no longer have to be taken on trust, and technical confidence is instilled across the team.

International consortium