The closure of a facility is in itself a major project and must be managed with the same attention to community engagement and sustainability as is paid to the design and construction of new facilities. This can be a huge challenge because the closure of a facility is typically accompanied by job loss, potential legacy environmental damages, and poor relations with the local community. Project teams can be proactive by discussing closure openly with the local community, exploring opportunities to repurpose facilities and infrastructure, establishing long-term monitoring, and supporting job retraining.
The challenge of managing closure can be made easier if the project team planned for closure during the design and construction phases. Then closure issues would have been addressed from the start of the project and integrated into project design, delivery, and operations.
Infrastructure developed under a design-finance-build-own-operate (DFBOO) or other similar project structures may have a contract end for the operator, but not an end of life for the asset. Project teams involved in DFBOO projects should take the time to understand how sustainability issues will be managed as the contract comes to an end. Closure planning should also include transfer of relationships and employees to the new organization taking over operation of the facility to minimize disruption and maintain community support.
This chapter will explore how project teams can understand closure, ...