The Top Six AWP Myths

Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) is seeing a huge surge of interest and use in capital projects throughout the world. With the explosion of popularity, there are bound to be misunderstandings and uncertainty over aspects of its use.
In this article, we will explore the top six myths about AWP, and set the record straight on these key topics.

1)AWP is only for large projects.
This is an understandable concern because in its early years AWP was typically only applied to megaprojects. It was seen as too time-consuming and resource-heavy for anything smaller. But improvements in processes and the scalability of O3 software mean that AWP can be applied to smaller projects, wherever benefit is identified.

2)AWP requires a 3D model.
Make no mistake, a 3D model will definitely help. That model, if used properly and supported by data, can do a lot of heavy lifting for the planning team. But AWP itself is more about planning and management of project priorities. Some projects, for example, will gain great success just by doing a good Path of Construction and rigorous constraint management.

3)Policies and Procedures must be in place first.
Again, this is “early wisdom”, thought to be the right approach when AWP was first doing the rounds. Get your process completely locked down before moving on to technology. The good news is that O3’s technology is built on the AWP Best Practice methods, and can easily be established in parallel with your policies and procedures. This means that you aren’t doing two independent change management exercises, and you aren’t creating processes and technology that are unaligned. Early technology implementation can greatly improve the speed of adoption and maturity, by providing a solid base for your team’s AWP execution.

4)All AWP tools are created equal.
They would all love to think that, but it simply isn’t true. It’s much the same as buying a car; if all you stipulate is that you want something with four wheels that can drive in a straight line and turn when you want it to, then anything will work for you. But if you want something that actually meets your complete needs and delivers you where you want to go, you have to be more selective. Create a detailed list of requirements and force the software vendors to show you that their tools can perform. You will very quickly see the difference between antiquated legacy tools, other tools that claim to work but don’t, and O3’s market-leading AWP software.

5)AWP is only for contractors.
When most people think AWP, they immediately think of Construction. Based on this, you will often hear “This is just something for the field contractor”. Firstly, they are confusing AWP and Workface Planning, which is the field portion of the process. But more importantly, they are missing a key point: The “Advanced” part is clearly meant to drag the process back into the early project phases and to ensure that the project team focuses on Construction-Driven-Engineering. While a good EPC can definitely do this, the ultimate owner of the process needs to be exactly that: the Owner. If AWP is not being driven by the Owner, it is much harder to make it successful across all project phases and gain the most benefit out of the process.

6)AWP doesn’t work on lump sum projects.
Our final myth always comes back to money, and the key question of “Who benefits”. Lump-sum contracting works really well when you have a defined scope and good deliverables, but it is not without its risks. Even if the contractor is taking on the cost risk, the project stakeholders (particularly the Owner) can still get a great benefit from AWP in other ways. These can include schedule predictability, visibility of the progress of the work, improved safety performance through better planning, reduction in RFIs and change orders, as well as reduced delays on the back end of the project for turnover documentation. And in the long run, productivity improvements will always benefit the contractor (who can lower their estimate for the next project) and the Owner (who gets better project outcomes and lower costs next time). Everyone wins.

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