Case Study: WFP Review & Recommendations for Optimization

Project Overview

North Vancouver, Canada
$300 Million

WFP applied by the Contractor, Owner and CMT have no experience with WFP. Key Outcome: Contractor was given permission to expand the program.

A series of interviews were conducted by Geoff Ryan, WorkFace Planning Consultant, with Construction Contractor representatives: WorkFace Planners for Civil, Pipe and Electrical, Foremen, General Foremen, Superintendents, Hydro test coordinator, Construction Management, Project Controls, Quality Control, Document Control and Scaffold management and the Construction Managers

The purpose of the review was to document the existing processes with a view to optimizing the positive effect that WorkFace Planning could have upon the project. This is with consideration for the stage of the project and the existing processes.

The period of time given for the collection of information did not allow for verification; please take care not to expand upon these assumptions until they are confirmed.

1. The Field Installation Work Packages:

  • The civil FIWPs are very simple and each one covers an extensive amount of work.
  • Structural steel FIWPs are very big and are not built by an Ironworker.
  • The Piping FIWPs are slightly more complex and are based upon piping systems. Each piping FIWP has three copies: A black hard cover copy that stays in the WFP office, a blue copy that is issued to the General Foreman and a red copy that is issued to the Material Management Team.
  • The Electrical FIWPs are derived from schedule activities and are representative of the Electrical Superintendent’s plan for construction execution. These FIWPs are also limited to 1000 hours of work as determined by the unit rates used to calculate the project estimate.
  • Each of the FIWPs is issued with an Inspection and Test Plan (ITP).
  • Each FIWP contains a simplified list of cost codes specific to the work.
  • Each Piping Foreman works from multiple packages on any single day.
  • FIWPs are given directly to the Workforce by the Foreman as a work instruction.
  • Material readiness is not a constraint on the release of the FIWP.
  • Scaffold is identified in the FIWP but is not a constraint
  • Equipment is identified in the FIWP but is not a common constraint
  • Safety interaction is not a constraint.

2. WorkFace Planning Department:

  • There are 2 Piping Planners, 1 Hydro-test Planner and 2 Electrical Planners, with 1 more Tie-in Planner scheduled to start soon.
  • The Workface Planners are all trades people with supervision experience, and are well qualified to develop FIWPs.
  • There is no staffing projection for WorkFace Planners or the generation of FIWPs.
  • There is no procedure in place for WorkFace Planning, Contractor, Construction Management or Owner.
  • The WorkFace Planners have Navis Works and the 3D model on their computers.
  • The WorkFace Planners report directly to the discipline superintendents.
  • The FIWPs are stored on a common drive that the whole project has read access to.
  • A simple spread sheet is used to track the summary status of the FIWPs
  • WorkFace Planners do not attend the daily Superintendent coordination meetings.

3. Document Control:

  • Documents are produced by AKC engineering and delivered to the Construction Management Document Control Department.
  • Construction Management Document Control scan the drawings into the online database and issue a hard copy to Construction Contractor Document Control with a transmittal and a master list of documents by area that highlights the new/revised drawings.
  • Construction Contractor Document Control issue a Hard copy of the drawing to the WorkFace Planning Team with a copy of the master document showing the highlighted changes.
  • The WorkFace Planners can access the Document Control Database online for reference only.

4. Engineering:

  • Two different estimates for engineering completeness were proposed: 90% and 99%.
  • The chlorine storage area is still waiting for a geotechnical contract and execution before engineering can start.
  • Engineering Work Packages (EWPs) are equal to sub areas.
  • There are no CWPs
  • The Engineering company have representatives onsite to address RFI’s
  • Daily revisions to piping and electrical drawings are estimated to effect 20% of all documents, which is increasing quantities.
  • The piping model is supposed to be frozen?

5. Material Management:

  • The Construction Management portion of procurement has all been received.
  • It is Construction Contractor’s responsibility to purchase the remaining outstanding material.
  • Durlam frp pipe is only 5% received, has slipped twice on delivery dates and has been promised for late August.
  • A copy of each piping FIWPs is forwarded to the material management Team for reference.
  • The material management team receives requests for materials directly from the General Foremen and Superintendents.
  • The material requested by the piping field supervisors is not aligned with the FIWPs
  • Material purchasing for the Electrical FIWPs is not initiated until the request is received.
  • Field purchases must go out for 3 bids and then be approved prior to purchase.
  • Material that has been received is not easily locatable.
  • Materials have been received and not inspected for verification – Sea Cans from India and Europe.
  • Material management system does not dynamically allocate material to FIWPs = some material is issued to the wrong workfronts.
  • Electrical Planners need to generate an RFI to get information on material readiness.

6. Scaffold management:

  • Scaffold requests are channeled through the Civil Superintendent on a standard form.
  • Scaffold erection is then monitored and managed directly by the Construction Contractor discipline field supervisors.
  • It takes one week to mobilize a new hire scaffolder from a request: drug test, safety training, orientation.
  • The flow of work to the scaffolders has big peaks and valleys.

7. Equipment Management:

  • Progress is reported daily by the general foremen utilizing a copy of the drawings that are being worked on.
  • The project controls database lists each iso with a calculated planned value from the Construction Contractor estimate.
  • Each iso is associated with an FIWP.
  • Cost codes have been established to cover a wide range of activities.
  • Most of these codes have a budget allocation.
  • Field run cable tray does not have a budget allocation.
    • The Construction Contractor cost codes roll up to satisfy the Construction Management requirements and the Construction Management cost reporting satisfies the Owner reporting minima.
  • Manlifts are ordered by the Superintendents directly from the supplier.
  • Requests for cranes are issued by the Superintendents directly to Sterling.

8. Schedule:

  • The existing Construction Management schedule is being used to track progress but is not resource loaded.
  • The existing schedule has 1 month of negative float.
  • The resource loaded schedule proposed by Construction Contractor, that meets the project constraints calls for 8% progress per month without fluctuations for, scope creep, long weekends, Christmas break, extreme weather, absenteeism, material shortages or any allowance for ramp down at the end of the project.
  • The project is earned less than 5% progress last month.
  • The proposed schedule has day shift and night shift maximized at 320 people and a completion date of February 28th.
  • The Olympics start on Feb 12th.
  • There is a plan in place to get the field supervisors to develop a 3 week look ahead.
  • The General Foremen have not seen the schedule.
  • Progress is tracked against each FIWP but not publicized.

9. Project Controls:

  • Progress is reported daily by the general foremen utilizing a copy of the drawings that are being worked on.
  • The project controls database lists each iso with a calculated planned value from the Construction Contractor estimate.
  • Each iso is associated with an FIWP.
  • Cost codes have been established to cover a wide range of activities.
  • Most of these codes have a budget allocation.
  • Field run cable tray does not have a budget allocation.
    • The Construction Contractor cost codes roll up to satisfy the Construction Management requirements and the Construction Management cost reporting satisfies the Owner reporting minima.

10. Turnover:

  • The turnover systems have been identified by the Owner.
  • The map of these systems by iso has been delivered to Construction Contractor
  • Construction Contractor QC have not received the designation of systems.
  • The list of isos per system has not been received by the WorkFace Planners.
  • Construction Contractor have not yet identified a Turnover Coordinator.

11. Quality Control:

  • Every FIWP is reviewed and signed off by the Construction Contractor QC Team
  • An ITP is developed for every FIWP
  • Isos are weld mapped by QC.
  • The original exhibit documents are collected through the FIWPs and then removed and stored by QC for turnover.


This application of WorkFace Planning is well thought out and guided by previous exposure to WorkFace Planning. The Construction Management teams for Construction Contractor, Construction Management and Owner all want the same results: productive performance led by the organized application of workfronts through WorkFace Planning. The WorkFace Planners are well qualified to build plans and are very keen to be successful.

The Superintendents, General Foremen and Foremen all showed strong support for the process and have aligned their work processes accordingly.

This application is in the positive end of the scale for first time application of WorkFace Planning.

In my opinion the opportunities identified in the next section are all the result of systemic failure where the systems have been developed from within to satisfy perceived needs without consideration for the whole. This is a common element of change and something that can be addressed.

One of the unique characteristics of WorkFace Planning is that it allows the whole organisation to have a single focus: Enable Construction Workfronts. This can be drawn into focus by applying this question to every opportunity listed here:

How will this change effect the application of work at the workface?

Suggestions for optimization:

Colour coding:
Each suggestion has been color-coded based upon this graph of return on investment:
Effort to implement is Low, Medium or High plotted against the potential return to the project, Low Medium or High.

1. Field Installation Work Packages:

  • Build FIWPs based upon the work to be executed by one crew in one week.
  • Apply Planned Value estimates (hours) from the project estimate to every FIWP.
  • Apply constraints on each FIWP for Materials, Scaffold, Equipment and Safety.
  • Build the three week look ahead from FIWPs
  • Show the link between every FIWP and its schedule activity
  • Issue one FIWP at a time to each Foremen with the expectation that the work will be completed as planned.

2. WorkFace Planning department:

  • Appoint a Lead Planner to coordinate all disciplines.
  • Run a full contingent of night shift WorkFace Planners
  • Develop separate workfronts (FIWPs) for day shift and nightshift
  • Hire discipline specific planners for Civil, Mechanical and Steel.
  • Engage dedicated Coordinators for Materials, Scaffold and Construction Equipment.
  • Develop a projection for FIWP development.
  • Develop a projection for Staff engagement and Training.
  • Develop the FIWP tracking log to list all FIWPs
  • Conduct training sessions on the use of Navis works, (3D modeling)
  • Develop more office space
  • Create a proper meeting room.
  • Develop a procedure for the application of WorkFace Planning

3. Document Control:

  • Allow WorkFace Planners to print directly from the document control Database.
  • Develop the print function within the database to automate date stamping, for date printed.
  • Develop a training program for WorkFace Planners that show them how to use the database.

4. Engineering:

  • Validate % complete
  • Engage AKC to maintain the model with redlines and as-builts, onsite.
  • Develop a tracking log that tracks every RFI for resolution timeline.
  • Expedite the development of the chlorine storage area.

5. Material management:

  • Engage a dedicated Electrical purchaser for Construction Contractor
  • Choose a supply of choice based upon a price and availability for all un-purchased commodities.
  • Purchase all remaining material.
  • Engage an expeditor to manage the fabrication and delivery of Durlam FRP pipe.
  • Verify all of the material received against the estimated quantities.
  • Develop a system where the WorkFace Planning Material coordinator orders material by FIWP two weeks prior to scheduled execution based upon the three-week look ahead.
  • Develop a process that will confirm material readiness for FIWPs prior to their addition to the three-week look ahead.

6. Scaffold Management:

  • Develop scaffold FIWPs for scaffold erections
  • Initiate a scaffold management process that tracks all scaffolds
    • Automated
    • Manual

7. Construction Equipment:

  • Utilize the equipment coordinator as the WorkFace Planning Equipment Coordinator
  • Produce a schedule that shows a projected allocation of equipment against FIWP requirements.
  • Ensure that the first priority is to satisfy the FIWP requirements not the equipment allocation budget.

8. Schedule:

  • Finalize the level 3 schedule.
  • Have only one schedule
  • Track progress against the schedule based upon earned quantities, not spent manhours.
  • Post the schedule in the field and the offices.
  • Create and maintain a rolling level 4 and 5 schedule based upon only the next 10 weeks of work.
  • Use the FIWPs as level 5 activities.

9. Project Controls:

  • Track progress by earned value against each FIWP, then roll up the progress to level three schedule items.
  • Apply progress to the 3D model and then use this picture to validate progress.

10. Turnover:

  • Plan to utilize WorkFace Planners for the development of Punchlist packages and Turnover packages.
  • Develop a process that allows the Hydro-test coordinator to transition into the Turnover Coordinator role.
  • Develop a procedure for turnover, ready for operations, commissioning and startup.
  • Clarify the status of Turnover Systems: are they complete, who has them and who needs them?
  • Populate the 3D model with the turnover system allocation of every iso.
  • Consider the development of a Completion team.

11. Quality Control:

  • Apply system designation to isos when they become available

12. Safety:

  • Develop a system that ensure that a representative from the safety department has interacted with every FIWP.
  • Add scope specific notes and standard documents to every FIWP

13. Overall:

  • WorkFace planning procedures (expectations) are needed for The Owner, Construction Management Team and the Construction Contractor.
  • The application of a WorkFace Planning software tool (ConstrucSim from Bentley) would dramatically improve the final 30% of the project: execution, perception, and confidence in the reporting. The application of the tool is expensive, disruptive and labour intensive.
  • The office space provided for Construction Contractor is far too small and not conducive to supporting productive construction.
  • Further analysis is required to understand the Material management system and RFI process, typically these areas create major obstacles to productive performance.
  • The standards for reporting structure should be agreed upon and maintained.
    • FIWPs in development, in the field, completed
    • Progress earned against each FIWP, rolled up to level 3 schedule activities
    • Commodity installation rates: weld inches per welder, man hours per ton of steel, etc.
    • Material received
    • % complete on Engineering
    • % of revs to drawings
    • % of documents received against the total.
    • Number of outstanding RFIs and average cycle time.