Case Study: Project “A”

//Case Study: Project “A”

Case Study: Project “A”

Project Overview

Approximately $500 Million

Project Summary:

Mandated by the Contractor, not the Owner

Key Results: Pipe installed at 2.6 hours per foot
(Other contractor, not using WFP installed pipe at 3.4 hours per foot)

Scaffold installed at 18% of direct labor
(Normally 25%)

The two key components of the COAA model are:

  • Dedicated Workface Planners
  • Detailed workface plans of approximately 1000 hours each

Late in 2005, with more than two years of COAA committee engagement behind us, The construction company made the bold decision to implement the COAA Workface Planning model as a core component on all future projects.

By April 2006, we had hired our first two Workface Planning champions and purchased the 3D software that would facilitate the process. The WFP champions joined Project A in the engineering stages and went to work establishing the prerequisites prescribed in the model.

As a company, Construction Contractor has now established Workface Planning on three separate projects:

  • Project – A – Edmonton
  • Project – B – Fort McMurray
  • Project – C – Fort McMurray

It should be noted that for each of these projects we had established Workface Planning without being mandated to do so by the clients. For the purpose of this application, we will concentrate on the Project – A because it is the most advanced.


In February 2007, we engaged a third-party auditor, endorsed by COAA, to conduct a review of our application of the COAA model on the Project-A site. The resulting document is Attachment 1 of this application. While this process was endorsed by our customer, Project – A, it was once again initiated by us without any mandate. The final score of 77% (silver rating) demonstrates that we are in compliance with the model and on track to develop the program even further as the project matures. We have two more scorecard reviews scheduled in our execution plan.

Workface Planners:

Among other qualities, the COAA model describes Workface Planners as having:

  • “Minimum 5 to 7 years experience on industrial construction projects as a journeyperson or other construction project specialist
  • Minimum 3 to 5 years supervisory experience
  • Basic understanding of project scheduling and estimating techniques
  • Understand how the Field Installation Work Package fit into the overall project schedule
  • Strong organizational and documentation skills
  • Basic computer literacy”

Working with the job description provided in the COAA model, we advertised the positions, conducted interviews, and hired 11 tradespeople to be trained as Workface Planners. In the absence of a 3rd party training program (still under development), we established our own rigorous three-week training program that exposed the planners to planning and scheduling practices, data management, 3D modeling software, and the COAA model for Workface Planning. As committee members, we are actively engaged in the development and execution of the SAIT training programs, and we expect our planners to also participate in the training once this has been established.

Workface Plans:

The Construction Contractor workface planners have been encouraged to develop their workface plans to be as effective as possible, based on their first-hand knowledge of construction. Using the COAA templates as a starting point, the planners have built packages that encompass the realities of field level construction. Attachment 2 is a sample FIWP from the Project – A site.

Scaffold management:

Along with a dedicated scaffold workface planner, Construction Contractor has also developed an automation of the process to facilitate scaffold management. An icon appears on each workface planner’s computer that allows them direct access to the scaffold ordering process. The planners fill in the required fields, attach a 3D snapshot of the location, and electronically submit the request to the Scaffold Workface Planner who then collates the requests and builds workface plans for the scaffold crews, two weeks prior to the scaffold “needed by “date.

Material Management:

One of the key components to the COAA model is that there should be “Dedicated Material Coordinators”. Working with this logic, we established a Workface Planning Material Coordinator who is imbedded within the material management organization. This position is supported by the synchronization of our material management process and the 3D model software on the workface planner’s computer. This shows the planners that all of the “orange-coloured” ISOs in the model are buildable.

Cost coding:

The organization of work into work packages has also allowed our workface planning champions to develop a cost coding structure that utilizes our existing Construction Contractor cost codes as a portion of the work package number. This same cost code string is then transferred to the timesheets associated with the work in the package. This enables our project controls group to easily drill down to a “per package level” when reviewing earned hours against actuals.


The 3Dimensional software that our workface planners are using facilitates the creation of virtual packages within the 3D environment. This means that our workface planners isolate a CWP in the model and dissect it into work packages and then apply dates to the FIWPs. The model can then visualize the schedule one package at a time based on the applied dates (4D). When applied to steel, equipment, and pipe, this process will visualize the interdependencies of each discipline and facilitate integration planning. The live dissection of CWPs also allows the workface planners to schedule the execution of FIWPs to fit the level 3 total time durations, which leads to level 6 resource loading.


The implementation of Workface Planning at Construction Contractor has led us to other developments that could not have been possible without the initial application. One of the strongest benefits that we have drawn from the empowerment of the planners has been the alignment between the fabricators and the activities in the field. Our lead workface planners for each discipline attend the weekly fabricator status meetings and have forged the links between the project schedule, the fabrication schedule, and the requirements of the constructors in the field. Other benefits include the identification of RFIs before the work is released to the field and the use of the 4D model for schedule review meetings.

Construction Contractor has three long-time workface planning committee members who have chaired several sub-committees and been active in the development of the Workface Planning model:

We have actively shared examples of Workface Plans and software compatibility with other applicators while also learning from their experiences. Our Project – A Workface Planning department has been toured by representatives from a series of other Owners. In support of our Construction Management group, Construction Contractor, we expect to facilitate the application of Workface Planning by each of the other subcontractors by providing office space, hardware, software, equipment, training and total integration with the existing Workface Planning department.

Within Construction Contractor, we have migrated the application of Workface Planning to the US through our Houston office and to Europe through our office in the Netherlands. At

a recent symposium in Europe, our industry representative, armed with our application experience, addressed the emergence of Workface Planning as the Key Note Speaker.

Our drive to be the contractor of choice in the market is centered on our consistent application of the industry’s best practices and sound project management practices. We see the sharing of experience with our competitors as a way to drive our overall quality. We aim to be the leaders in a world class field!

By | 2017-10-31T21:28:38+00:00 September 22nd, 2017|Case Studies|Comments Off on Case Study: Project “A”

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