Exploding AWP Myths: Turnarounds

By Josh Girvin, O3 Solutions CEO 

awp myths

To continue the series on Advanced Work Packaging(AWP) Myths, let’s take a look at another fallacy I hear all the time: “AWP doesn’t work for turnarounds”.  

Before we start addressing what is wrong with this, let’s focus on a few aspects that are correct. There are two main aspects to AWP: 

  • The focus on getting Engineering and Procurement to support the Construction installation sequence by sequencing their activities to deliver on time for Construction’s needs.  
  • The efficient execution of construction installation activities by separating the work into small packages and performing rigorous constraint management before they are released.  

If we take these two as the primary elements of AWP, we can look at both as they relate to Turnarounds.  

Firstly, and the part of the ‘fallacy’ above that I agree with, is that the sequencing of Engineering and Procurement to support the Construction sequence should be a moot point for turnarounds. When the facility is losing huge amounts of money for every hour that it is not running, there is a lot of pressure to minimize the turnaround window. To make sure that happens, turnarounds are fully engineered, and all materials should be on site before they start. That being the case, the element of AWP that separates it from Workface Planning doesn’t really apply to turnarounds.  

There remains, however, a significant discussion about Workface Planning (WFP), and how it relates to turnarounds. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever worked a turnaround, where activities are often planned and scheduled down to the hour, rather than the day as they are in capital projects. If anything, turnarounds are far more reliant on Workface Planning than capital projects and have been executing this level of detailed advanced planning long before it became common in greenfield construction.  

It may not be called Workface Planning. The packages may not be called IWPs. Some of the standard Best Practice rules about packages being the scope of work for a single crew for a single shift may not apply to a turnaround. But make no mistake: The need for well-thought-out, constraint-free scopes of work for crews to execute is even more critical when it comes to turnaround work.  

So assuming that we can all agree that the “Advanced” part of AWP doesn’t apply to turnarounds, let’s focus on the WFP aspects and their criticality. Planning for a turnaround isn’t done at a steady pace throughout the duration of the work, as it can be with capital projects. It should be done before the first tradesperson sets foot on the site to start work.  

  • Every scope is broken down into manageable pieces.  
  • The dependencies and relationships between the work are assessed; what needs to be done first, and what can’t be done until this task is complete.  
  • A detailed schedule will step out the path of each scope of work and determine how many people need to be assigned to it, so that it can be completed in the given duration.  
  • Engineering drawings are broken down into small bundles to support each specific scope of work.  
  • Material lists are reviewed for each scope, and the materials team starts preparing each package to be delivered to the work front in order.  
  • Demo spools are tagged or marked.  
  • Scaffolding plans are drawn up to support the multi-discipline scopes in each area.  

The list goes on and on. But one thing that is clear is that this process is identical to the work done to compile IWPs for capital projects, with the main exception that in a turnaround you do it all upfront.  

Turnarounds face the same problems as capital projects here; a massive amount of data, technical information, and detail needed to support the planned work. All the drawings, materials, contracts, vendors, manpower, equipment – it all needs to be pulled together and executed seamlessly. The challenges of managing all that information are huge, and the impact of delays in completion is typically far greater than capital projects.  

We can call it by whatever name we want, but AWP (at least large parts of it) applies every bit as much to turnarounds as it does to capital projects. The challenges are the same. The people, processes, and tools required to carry it out successfully are the same. The risks are potentially far greater. So for your next turnaround, leverage all the benefits that AWP can bring to help you deliver on time and get your facility back up and running as soon as possible. 

Contact us to learn more.


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