AWP Field Mobilization Readiness Review
At the request of our client, Insight-AWP conducted a cold eyes project review of Project-M in late 2016. The specific focus was on the readiness for execution based upon the principles of Advanced Work Packaging (AWP).
The Insight-AWP team of Dany Mandel and Geoff Ryan conducted interviews with 34 project personnel from both the client and the contractor project and construction management teams. The team also reviewed 20 data points: the P6 schedule, Work Front Analysis, Story Board, Three Week Look Ahead, Look Ahead Viewer, Quantity Unit Rate Report, Material Received Reports, AWP procedure, sample IWPs, 3D model and the attributes, which is contained in 9 separate software databases.
The Insight-AWP team utilized the CII scorecard to rate compliance with each of 60 conditions on a scale of 1-5 and developed an overall score to show compliance with the ideal model for AWP, based upon the results of the interviews and process reviews.
The project scored an overall compliance rating of 63% with strong results in the area of Project Definition and Planning and poorer results in the areas of Workface Planners, Installation Work Packages and Field Execution.
As an overall summary of the project, the readiness review identified very strong compliance in the fields of Engineering and Procurement, evidenced by the plan for sequential Engineering Work Packages and Procurement Work Packages (fabrication) based upon the optimal Path of Construction. The level of compliance for the construction phase of the project is much less, evidenced by the absence of dedicated Workface Planners, a ridged system for constraint management and a ‘business as usual’ attitude.
The project conducted several workshops to identify the optimal Path of Construction utilizing Construction, Engineering, and Procurement Subject Matter Experts.
The Engineering delivery schedule is based upon the production of sequential Engineering Work Packages that support the requirements and arrangement of Construction Work Packages.
The fabrication plan for Steel and Pipe is based upon the completion of entire CWPs.
The Fabrication yards will store their materials as IWPs, on trailers and deliver them to site upon request.
There is a contingency plan in place to hold material if the yards should fill up.
The 3D model is populated with the attributes (spool and piece mark numbers) that construction could use to plan execution and record progress.
The use of the field level computing is a positive step towards facilitating the needs of the Foremen.
- The Field Engineers are responsible to develop the initial scope of Work Packages for the Superintendents, but do not report to them and therefore create packages that are not dynamic or that reflect construction logic.
- The same is true of sub-contractor Construction Supervisors, who will have even less influence over the size and contents of their Work Packages.
- This was evidenced by the office staff who were satisfied and defensive of the current practices for planning and execution, while the Field Level Supervisors were keen to revisit the current processes.
- Work Packages are not based upon construction tasks (install, weld, support) so cannot be closed in a one or two-week duration. (typically 3-6 months)
- The project controls database can only assign one spool to one unique Work Package. To satisfy AWP requirements each spool will need to be assigned to up to 8 unique work packages: Install, connect, support, hydro, heat trace, paint, insulation, and turnover.
- The document control management system is based on the manual transfer and revision control of PDF drawings to sub-contractors. Although the system has the capacity to allow managed electronic access to outside users, as demonstrated by the access granted to the client.
- The material management system does not allow access for sub-contractors. Access to information is through informal requests to Field Engineers.
- Level four activities (Work Packages) do not appear in the P6 schedule but are arranged in the Excel spreadsheet, so that there is not a direct correlation between the level 3 CWP in P6 and the Work Packages. The nature of Excel does not easily facilitate dynamic adjustments, so it is a static, optimistic sequence of activity start dates, which do not reflect the reality of the field, have end dates or facilitate the roll-up of progress to the CWP level.
- The management of critical constraints (materials, scaffolds, cranes, access, and manpower) is still the responsibility of the Foremen. The exact opposite of this condition is the foundation of AWP, where the Workface Planner removes all constraints before the IWP is released.
- The process used to monitor constraints against IWPs does not always specifically identify them or list them in a format that shows the overall common issues.
- In the entire process, there is no mention that the closure of IWPs is a requirement. The current system is a verbal understanding between the Foremen and the Superintendents.
- The project controls management tool that allows the Foremen to automate the transfer of progress and impediments to progress, is a distraction from the real issue of ‘Work Packages being in the field before constraints have been removed’, which is the foundation of AWP. The real-time cost reduction is only one trip per day by each foreman to the field office to report progress.
- While the push to talk phones is a very good communication tool their use to reference the 3D model or report progress on a 1-inch screen is not practical.
- The utilization of Foreman stations in the field that allows Field Supervisors to access construction information, JHAs and ITPs is a good tool, but masks the real problem of the Foremen not having all of the information that they need in the Work Package. The long lines of users reported from other projects also show that the foremen accessing data in the field, which should have been in their work package, detracts from their primary responsibilities.
- The sheer volume of data connection points creates a wide variety of ways to mine data, which creates a substantial risk to the validity of data (many variations of the truth). Latest revision numbers, material received, quantities installed and impediments to progress all have several ways that the data can be researched and summarized.
- The Installation Work Packages that were reviewed did not conform with the CII model. The IWPs identify the list of documents, materials, support services and project controls data, but do not confirm the status of materials, scaffolds, construction equipment or show the crew size or duration.
- The project does not have a training plan to support the execution of Workface Planning as a component of AWP.
Some early IWPs have the entire ITP or JHAs in them, which makes them too big for practical use.
- The AWP procedure is not specific about responsibilities or process and often refers to CONTRACTOR or SUB-CONTRACTOR as being responsible or accountable. The procedure identifies the position of a Workface Planner but does not show them in an org chart, so it is difficult to understand if they are in an oversight role or an execution role.
The development and management of EWPs and PWPs in a sequence that supports the optimal Path of Construction present a unique opportunity for world-class productivity. To take full advantage of this effort the construction team will need to apply Workface Planning, which will require:
- Workface Planners – Background in construction trades with supervision experience, who report directly to the Responsible Superintendent (RS). (10 Workface Planners)
- IWPs that are correctly sized with content that is based upon construction practices, designed and managed by the Superintendents. So that fit for purpose packages can be executed and closed.
- Constraint management that mandates IWPs are completely free of known constraints before they are released to the field.
- Implement a simple constraint tracking system (Pack Track) that shows the development of individual IWPs against a list of constraints. This will highlight common obstacles and help construction management focus on the big value issues.
- Direct electronic access for the Workface Planners (contractors and subcontractors) to the document control database
- Direct electronic access for the Workface Planners (contractors and subcontractors) to the Procurement System for material received reports.
- Consider the utilization of Workface Planning software (ConstructSim or SmartPlant Construction) as a means to consolidate data streams, facilitate and manage IWPs, run 4D simulations and create a single version of the truth for progress and open work fronts. The structure of the Design Areas (CWPs) in the 3D model already supports this.
- Utilize P6 to house IWPs as a subset of the CWPs, this will create a clear delineation between Level 3 expectations and Level 4 strategies. It establishes the expectation for completions and it will show a very clear picture of progress based upon the completion of activities, not just % complete.
- Identify turnover systems as soon as possible and add the designation to the 3D model attributes for each component.
- Overhaul the AWP procedure so that it identifies who does what, when and how and can be used as an instruction for implementation.
- Create a training program that identifies appropriate training for the workforce, field supervisors, support service staff, middle management and senior management.
- Conduct 3rd party Time on Tools studies on the other existing project so that there is baseline that shows the ‘business as usual’ model. Then as this project reaches 100 directs in the field, conduct the same studies and repeat every three months. This will create a definitive comparison and a foundation for lessons learned.