The Top Eight Do’s and Don’ts of AWP
Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) implementation is not a one-size-fits-all concept. There are multiple ways to tackle the process, and many companies will take slightly different paths. Fortunately, this is a well-trodden path and lessons have been learned from hundreds of implementations. In this article, we will explore a few of the key do’s and don’ts.
Engage Construction and Startup early in the planning phase
Input from construction and startup personnel is both infinitely more valuable and infinitely easier to implement during the early stages of a project. If you wait too long to get the feedback, a lot of good options can be lost and much of the value of AWP (particularly the “Advanced” part) is diluted.
Can AWP and Workface Planning be done manually? Yes, it can. You can have Planners sitting with stacks of drawings, doing manual estimates, manual material take-offs, manual progressing, and updating a vast array of spreadsheets. Or you can invest in AWP technology that typically pays for itself many times over just in savings with Planners, and rapidly accelerates your AWP maturity journey by leveraging the Best Practices and proven techniques.
Construction driven engineering
Engineering can no longer operate in a vacuum. The outputs of Engineering and Procurement need to support the planned installation sequence in the field. If Construction believes that the optimum sequence of installation is East to West, for example, make sure that Engineering and Procurement understand this and deliver in that order. There will be limitations, and Engineering certainly needs to be involved in the conversation, but Construction needs to be the ultimate “customer”.
Align schedule to path of construction
Alignment is a critical element of AWP, and the schedule is a key output for any project. There is no value whatsoever in having a project path of construction (hopefully supported by Engineering and Procurement) that shows a particular sequence if the schedule contradicts it. These two deliverables need to be singing the same tune, otherwise, the project stakeholders and contractors will be exhausted by indecision and disagreement. Pick a path and build the schedule around it.
Don’t start AWP a week before construction
This is one of the most common mistakes seen in AWP implementations. The first point is that this isn’t AWP; it’s Workface Planning. These terms are not interchangeable. Workface Planning is part of the overall process of AWP. Secondly, while there is some real value in Workface Planning in terms of organizing construction activities and deliverables, a lot of the potential benefits of AWP have been lost if you wait until the construction phase starts.
Don’t expect all contractors to be AWP experts
The number of contractors who have years of documented experience and expertise with AWP is relatively low (although it is growing by the month). Because of this, it is important not to make AWP experience an absolute stipulation in contractor selection. It can certainly be a consideration and should be factored into any scoring assessment. But contractors who are willing to embrace and learn the process are an important part of growing the success of AWP in project delivery.
Don’t expect full Return ON Investment (ROI) from your first implementation
You won’t be perfect the first time out. Even with the best procedures, the best consultants, the best contractors, and the best software, you will always find things in any pilot project that you could have done better. So don’t advertise to your management team that AWP will save 10% of your Total Installed Cost (TIC) on your first go. Start small, and build up to it. Use an ROI tool that can help show the calculation of benefit growth with AWP maturity, and plot a path to maximum success over time.
Don’t introduce AWP after you’ve hired your contractor
AWP should not be an afterthought or a surprise (for many of the reasons listed above). As an Owner or EPC, you need to let the project contractors know that you intend to use AWP at the earliest possible time. Include it in the bid documents, and be sure to tell the contractors what the expectations are for AWP performance. Don’t just say “Do AWP”, and hope that the contractors figure it out. Contractors will always execute to your level of requirement, however high or low you set the bar. So know what you are looking to achieve, set the appropriate standard, and hold the contractor to it.