Case Study: 40 Day Shutdown and Pre-shutdown Scope

Project Overview

Series of sustaining projects
Fort McMurray, Alberta
$300 Million
40-day shutdown with pre-shutdown scope.

Key Outcome: Completed one day early with a perfect safety record.

Project -E was the construction Contractor’s first application of Workface Planning. This document captures the lessons that were learned around the application of Workface Planning.

Project Summary:

The project consisted of an outage and then a 40-day turnaround where the train 1 crusher and conveyor where dismantled, moved to the north side of the surge pile and then reassembled. The work scope for the Construction Contractor was primarily steel and mechanical with oversight of the electrical scope executed by a 3rd party.

Workface Planners were appointed by the Construction Contractor (1) to develop steel FIWPs (Field Installation Work Packages) and the 3rd party (1) to develop electrical FIWPs.


5 FIWPs for the Outage and 41 FIWPs for the Turnaround.

A typical FIWP encompasses 5 to 10 schedule activities that were grouped based upon the Workface Planner’s best guess of the execution plan. Schedule activities were generally at a level 6 or7 (day/ hour).

Deviations from the Workface Planning model:

Due to time and resource constraints, the following deviations were tolerated:

  • A detailed schedule was developed by the Owners Construction Management Team, with only last-minute input from the constructors.
  • Material was not a hard constraint
  • JHAs were developed by the Workface Planner (this would normally be executed by the Superintendent and safety reps)
  • The Superintendent did not have a formalized execution plan.
  • The Workface Planner grouped tasks into logical associations of work (This would normally be directed by the Superintendent).
  • FIWPs were not field checked (dimensions)
  • Some drawings were 10 years old and were not checked or updated.
  • FIWPs were not returned to the Workface Planner upon completion
  • FIWPs appeared in the schedule but were not progressed

Lessons Learned from the field:


  • FIWPs worked well as a communication tool Superintendent to Foreman to Craft. Foremen were not chasing down information
  • Format gave instruction without being condescending. Bolt tightening procedure helped
  • Owner support for WFP and SFM encouraged the field supervisors.


  • Old drawings should be “As-Built” so that the weights are correct.
  • Do a physical walk-through of every package with the Foreman one-week prior.
  • QC: Did not have weld procedure for wire feed so had to stick weld. – Required more time to check the details of project scope.
  • QC: Need more detail and quicker follow up on activities. Superintendent needs to own the plan
  • SFM needs structure and training. (purpose). What is a barrier: Needs a written definition.


9 FIWPs were constructed for the Outage and then 115 for the Turnaround. Most activities in the electrical schedule were detailed at level 7 (hourly), FIWPs were constructed as a daily group of schedule activities that were logically associated.

Deviations from the Workface Planning model:

Due to time and resource constraints the following deviations were tolerated:

  • The schedule was driven by steel activities and so electrical activities were based upon support for the removal and erection of bents.
  • Material, Equipment and scaffold erection were not constraints on FIWPs.
  • The Workface Planner was not dedicated and also had to purchase and receive material, administrate SFM and record progress.
  • The Workface Planner was pulled from the position and utilized as a Foreman during the peak period of construction.
  • QC requirement were not included in the FIWP

The project management team placed a major obstacle in the path of the Electricians by hard linking electrical activities to steel activities in the project schedule. Electrical contractor developed a schedule that would support the steel schedule and be productive for them but the schedule links were too complex to change so the schedule was realigned the day prior to the start day and the electrical schedule was thrown into disarray.

QC did not interact with the FIWPs and as a result there were several days added to the schedule for the clean up of a large punchlist. (The project was still completed ahead of schedule).

Lessons Learned from the field:


  • 3rd party, acting as a subcontractor were fully cooperative
  • FIWPs worked well as a communication tool Superintendent to Foreman to Craft. FIWPs were given directly to the craft workers by the Foreman.
  • Foremen were not chasing down information Strong support from Owner enabled the process.
  • The process of detailed planning minimized delays even when the plans were not executed as planned (Due to the schedule realignment).
  • FIWPs were very well utilized on nightshift.


  • Early engagement of the Constructor would have significantly improved the schedule. Set expectations for the field supervisors and conduct training prior to craft engagement. Superintendent needs to own the plan.
  • SFM needs structure and training. (purpose).
  • What is a barrier: Needs a written definition.
  • QC must utilize the FIWP to identify requirements and then validate compliance.

Project Summary:

The project was well planned with a detailed schedule developed by the project management team. However the late interaction of the contractors did not allow them to vet the activity dependencies. This would have further enhanced the schedule.

The last minute applilast-minuteorkface Planning did not allow the contractors to accurately record or report progress. The scope was divided into good quality FIWPs but the logic was not synchronized with the application in the field so the field supervisors utilized their traditional methods for execution.