Richard Rapp of SG Survey looks at the new build yacht process and the merits of engaging a survey team.
A new build yacht offers Owners the opportunity to express their personality and emotion in a truly unique manner. From concept to delivery, the journey can be very rewarding and with the right team in place to take on the technical challenges it is possible to fulfil the vision and deliver the operational practicality expected of such a vessel.
At the concept stage there are various options ranging from production and semi- custom vessels to one-off projects; all have their merits in terms of cost, production timescales and build slot availability. Once the manufacturer and model or concept has been selected, a specification should then be determined and contracts established.
A classification society and flag state should be selected at the outset; most shipyards have established processes with particular societies and flags, which can be beneficial to follow, but it is important to establish that the arrangements are optimised for the yacht’s operational and fiscal management. Consideration should be given to whether the vessel will operate on a pleasure or commercial basis. Options for resale or future use include construction in accordance with commercial requirements, allowing a vessel to be delivered as a pleasure yacht, with the possibility to change to commercial operation.
Systems specifications and arrangements should be considered carefully at an early stage of the project in order to ensure suitable functional, practicality of use and maintenance with consideration towards local regulations for the intended area of operation; for example, there are increasing requirements for capacity to hold black and grey water or the restricted use of generators overnight within a marina or anchorage; solutions for practical use can be designed for all scenarios with careful planning at the appropriate stage.
Regular inspections may be completed from the initial moulding or cutting and fabrication stages and throughout the build to include module joining, machinery and systems installations, fit out, fairing, painting and finishing. It is important to ensure that the build progresses in accordance with the drawings and specification with attention towards access for maintenance and quality control; any issues may then be swiftly resolved during the course of the build to the mutual benefit of both the Owner and shipyard, as delays are avoided and warranty issues minimised.
The launch marks a major milestone as the concept becomes a reality. Following the shipyard commissioning period, an extensive pre-delivery inspection (PDI) process of systems testing and acceptance sea trials are completed in order to confirm satisfactory operation and compliance with the contractual obligations. A full final specification appraisal is undertaken and then interior and exterior cosmetic inspections are completed, focusing on the fine details and loose dispatch equipment. This process generates a work list of discrepancies and deficiencies, which are then addressed by the shipyard prior to handover.
At handover, certificates and documentation must be confirmed in accordance with contractual, classification and flag statutory requirements for the vessel’s intended use. In the event of any outstanding issues these must be recorded in a protocol of delivery and acceptance to ensure shipyard responsibility under the aftersales agreement. There may be finance and legal teams acting on behalf of each party so clear and efficient communication is required to ensure smooth transfer of title to the Owner.
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2017 edition of ONBOARD Magazine