Advanced Work Packaging & Construction

By Josh Girvin, O3 Solutions CEO

Construction is the intended beneficiary of the AWP process, which is why it is always hard to hear pushback from Construction contractors about using AWP. “We don’t need this. We’re great at construction, and our people have been doing this for decades”.

While I have no reason to doubt the expertise of the contractor or their personnel, this unwillingness to improve is part of the reason that construction productivity is stagnant or declining.
So what does AWP do for Construction, and why should contractors use it?

Firstly, it brings construction to the table much earlier in a project and allows that input to be provided at a time when it can truly influence the project’s priorities and outcomes. If done properly, it should mean that we no longer need to hear construction personnel bemoaning their engineering counterparts, and questioning why something was done in a certain way or in a certain order. Granted, on many projects, this early construction input may not come from the installation contractor, as many Owners still use a “three bids and a buy” approach for site scope. There will, however, still be significant value in this input, provided it comes from an individual or a team that understands construction execution.

Ok, so we have listened to construction input, and we have sequenced the work in a way that better supports construction. Then what?

Engineering Work Packages
Engineering scope is broken down and sequenced to support this Path of Construction, meaning that the Engineering contractor will deliver scope to the field installation contractor in the agreed order, in a way that will allow the field contractor to build the facility efficiently and effectively. These Engineering Work Packages (EWPs) will be separated by, at minimum, area, and discipline. They can also be broken down to reflect:

• Contracting strategy – who will execute the work.
• Fabrication/modularization – what scope will be executed off-site, typically by others.
• Turnaround – for any scope to be performed during turnaround, often by another contractor.

These engineering packages will be augmented with construction information to turn them into Construction Work Packages (CWPs), which will serve as the basis for scope or bid documents to the construction contractor.

So, now we are delivering the work to the contractor, grouped in meaningful scope packages and sequenced in a way that construction can use. What’s next?
This is where the work passes to the Construction contractor, who can use all the information provided to ensure their site work is as efficient as possible.

Construction & Installation Work Packages
The CWPs are reviewed and broken down into smaller field-execution scope packages known as Installation Work Packages (IWPs).
The Workface Planners, who create and manage the IWPs, identify all the potential constraints that can impact the efficient execution of the work, and remove them before the IWP is issued to the field.
To make the work packaging process more efficient, the engineering 3D model is used as the basis for identifying the IWP scope, which is referred to as graphical work packaging. By using this process:

• Drawings associated with the scope can be automatically pulled into the IWP.
• A material list can be automatically created for the IWP scope and used as a pick ticket.
• An estimate for the hours required to complete the work can be automatically created.
• The scheduled dates can be automatically aligned with the overall project schedule.

All of this means that, by the time the IWP is handed to the Foreperson, the work can be completed without interruption and without requiring the Foreperson to spend the vast majority of their day chasing drawings, materials, or equipment.

Cost & Benefits
Is there a cost to this? Certainly. The Workface Planners are an extra role within the construction organization, and many contractors use this as the reason not to do it. But if the IWP process is well planned and executed, the cost of those Planners will be vastly outweighed by the savings associated with the efficient execution of the work.

The well-planned scope will also have additional benefits for the field contractor in the form of safety performance, schedule adherence, predictability, quality, and readiness for turnover.

Regardless of whether the field scope is performed on a reimbursable or lump sum basis, AWP can bring significant benefits to the project and the field installation contractor, and greatly improve the chances of the work being completed safely, on time, and on budget.

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