I have not been contracted with the investment firm undertaking the Titanic reproduction being constructed in Daying County, City of Suning, Sichuan Province China since 2017. However, I was out to the site in October 2019. I worked with the company (Seven Star) during the time of initial keel laying and early progress of the hull, but after the time the general arrangement plans were created. I asked for many improvments to be made to the plans, but am unsure if the alterations will be made as I requested. The company had already ordered the steel by the time I got there in early 2017 and asking for changes was difficult. I stay in close contact with the executive secretary, and he sent me these images last night. He is aware that I wanted to put these on ET as an exclusive to it's members. So here are they are. They are up to C Deck. The images were taken by Ivan Lei personally and are posted with his permission.
As someone who has been involved in the design spiral for many ships, two of which were in Chinese yards, the important part is the Basic Design spiral, which - for this non-sailing ship at least - would be concerned mainly with accuracy to the original ship's drawings. As this ship has no sheer as far as I know, then that's a departure already which can cause problems. Once the Basic Design is set in stone (or at least plaster...) and in which you should have been included, Detail Design starts, which is yet another spiral to get things right and avoid rework at the build stage. Again you should have been involved, and it's quite a time to do this, months, not weeks and even a year or more. Once Detail Design is done, the shipbuilder peruses it, maybe makes changes, costs everything to the last nut and bolt, fixes a Delivery Date and then delivers his "Build Spec" which the owner has to go through many times with his staff to make sure that all the Ts are crossed and Is dotted so that you know that what you get is what you are paying for (all production drawings are included at this stage and again you should have been consulted) . On this Build Spec the contract to build is signed, and off the shipyard goes into Production (all bow down to the Great God of Production). Any changes to this Spec and the owner pays through the nose; it's called "rework" and it's the bane of shipbuilding (it killed off the British shipyards effectively). Even the smallest thing such as fitting lock-washers on certain bolts will result in the shipbuilder whipping out his copy of the Build Spec and showing you where they were not specified! If you really want them, then it can cost $20,000 to just raise
a VOR (Variation Order Request) and give it a number, after which all sorts of other items such as staging (whether it's needed or not), alterations to schedule etc are piled on top, with a few more thousands for the 10p washers to make it into a VO (Variation Order) to be signed by the client. With something as complicated as building even a replica ship, you can see how important it is to get everything in place before the contract is signed and they start production with Keel Laying. After that you can forget about it unless you have lots of dollars to spare.
When I saw that this project was stalling I thought "Hmm, bet there are a few VOs in there that are the stumbling block, and the company is finding out how expensive it is if you don't have a proper Build Spec". As they did not include you in most of the Basic and Detail Design Bruce, to contract you after Keel Laying is a waste of time unless they have very
deep pockets... But good luck, you never know!