Case Study: Mid-Project WFP Review

Workface Planning Review and Scorecard

Audit Notes and Recommendations

Redwater, Alberta
$750 Million

Mid project review: for the purpose of developing a company standard for WFP.

The review was conducted onsite by Insight-AWP utilizing the methodology and structure contained in the Workface Planning Scorecard, which is attachment A of this report.

Scorecard Summary

1Project Definition & Planning16622/50 = 44%
2Project Controls691631/50 = 62%
3Information Management832031/50 = 62%
4Workface Planners812828/50 = 56%
5Installation Work Packages8612531/50 = 62%
6Field Execution1861227/50 = 54%
Totals15245685170/300 = 57%


The Workface Planning processes in use on Project J are consistent with the foundational requirements of the system: Workface Planners develop standard IWPs that have drawings, a Bill of Materials and Planned Value. The IWPs appear in the schedule and are given to the Foremen as an instruction to execute work. The IWPs also have a strong QC component and are utilized to mandate compliance with the need to develop exhibits for turnover. This application of Workface Planning does not have processes that manage or track constraints.

While there is a strong foundation, the process is not achieving the benefits or the audit score that we could expect due to several deviations from known Best Practices.

It is important to note that without exception everybody that I interviewed on this project is well-meaning and they are diligently trying to accomplish success. The occasional negative results that they achieve are due to the systems that have been put in place.

In particular:

  • The Workface Planners are not dedicated and are often also the Superintendent / QC/ Field Engineer.
  • The IWPs are consistently too big (4000 hrs) and the scope is developed based upon all of the work that needs to be completed in a design area, rather than a series of tasks that the Foreman can be expected to accomplish in a single rotation.
  • The Planned Value of an IWP is estimated by the Superintendent at the time of development and is not linked to the quantities, installation unit rates or the project estimate.
  • IWP completion dates in the project schedule are developed by project requirements without consideration for the IWP estimates, quantities or productivity factors.
  • There are no processes for managing or tracking constraints and it is still up to the field supervisors to order and procure materials, validate document revs, order scaffold, ensure prerequisite work is complete, manage interferences and secure construction equipment.
  • The IWPs are progressed in P6 based upon an estimate for % complete developed daily by the Superintendent, rather than the % complete from the progress database which is a quantity based reporting system.
  • The documents in an IWP are often not the latest revision and rework is common.
  • The Bill of Material for each IWP is not validated with the material management system prior to execution and often the material is not available.

Contributing factors:

The optimal path of construction was mapped but was not shared/followed by engineering. This resulted in Construction Work Packages (CWPs) that were a single commodity (pipe) for the entire project, packaged as one deliverable. In the absence of drawings, the early planning team mapped a dissection of the CWPs into 13 Design Areas (DA) and each DA became a very large IWP.

Ideally, a single commodity in a DA would have been a CWP, packaged and shipped in series as discrete deliverables by engineering and then by procurement. The Workface Planner would then dissect each CWP into many IWPs that represented the ideal flow of work within a DA. The delivery of entire project CWPs means that the early planning team had nothing until they had everything, at which point they were expected to start work, so their early planning efforts were very low value.

The optimal delivery sequence for modules was also not followed and modules consistently arrived out of sequence, incomplete and with very little notice. Ship loose components would be shipped several weeks before or after the module without documentation.

Modules were constructed on revision 0 drawings and were not reworked to support document revisions until they reached site.

No cable routing was provided by engineering. This has caused major delays and field rework. The Superintendents had to make calculated guesses at the route and then deal with the consequences if they got it wrong: abandoned cables, overfull trays, material shortages, burned hours and schedule loss.

The Document Control process (Engineer – Owner home office – Owner site office – Construction management -Owner IWPs- Field Supervisors) can delay revisions from being received by the Field Supervisors for up to 4 weeks. There were several instances where the 3D model showed changes that had not been received as drawing revisions. The storage system for documents for Construction Management does not support revision control (over-writes only). The document control database for Owner facilitates rev management and searches but Construction Management does not have access to the database. The Documents are stored on a common drive for Construction Management but the absence of a document log combined with the file structure, naming convention and file type (PDF) does not support searches, so the Planners must open drawings and manually search documents for tags. The system for updating revs to the IWPs is manual that does not always alert the field supervisors that there have been changes. The result is that there are numerous rework tasks with hours burned and schedule loss that is the result of document management practices.

The material management system is tracked in excel which does not allow IWPs to be vetted for material availability prior to release. The Owner and Construction Management Material management teams function as two separate entities, transferring data between them rather than everybody accessing the same data source. Materials are not shipped as components that belong to a specific DA or unit and are often identified as the container that they are in: a crate, a skid, a pallet, so they are stored as such and not broken out into areas. The naming convention used to receive the components (Control #) often does not match the drawing language (Spool #) so the field supervisors don’t trust the material system and send their workforce to the unlocked yard to search for components. This has a negative impact on productivity because the hours being used to search for materials are being charged against installations.

RFIs that require an engineering change are routed through Owner to the Engineer, who are not onsite so a typical RFI can take several iterations over several weeks before the question is answered. Field Change Notices (FCNs) are generated for ‘found work’, field runs and RFIs that require changes. The scope and hours are added to the IWP which adds complication and duration to the IWP and complicates the process for closing them. Construction Management did state that given their time over again they would create a separate IWP for each FCN and have it appear as a separate item in the schedule.


Considering that the overall target of the review is to capture good practices and opportunities for improvement and then develop a model for Workface Planning for future projects, the following recommendations are targeted at the development of a ‘Fit for Purpose Workface Planning system’ and are not a list of changes recommended for this specific project.

Engineering Deliverables:

The foundation for an effective Workface Planning system is the sequential delivery of Engineering Work Packages that support Construction Work Packages that support the Optimal Path of Construction. As evidenced by this project when engineering and procurement are not sequenced to support the PoC the productive execution of construction becomes very difficult. Ideally, the PoC should be used to create a map of CWPs which is then used to create a map and schedule for EWPs. This effectively becomes the engineering schedule which then becomes the procurement and module schedule. The element missing from this project that is an opportunity for improvement is that the Construction team did not have a presence or influence during engineering, procurement or module development. My recommendation from this (based upon

industry Best Practices) is that construction should have a full-time presence in the Engineering, procurement, and module assembly teams and that they track and report progress against EWPs, Procurement activities and Module assembly. (This can be facilitated with ConstructSim).

Workface Planners:

The use of Workface Planners to fill other requirements within the Construction team (Superintendent, QC and Field Engineering) has had a significant detrimental effect on the quality and effectiveness of the IWPs. This is evidenced by the size of the IWPs (too large) and their inflexible nature. (No scope changes, hard to progress with any level of accuracy and very difficult to close). The lack of Workface Planning resources is also directly responsible for the complete absence of constraint management and tracking. (Which is probably the highest value component of WFP).

My recommendation is to assign dedicated Workface Planners at a ratio of 1 per Superintendent and that their only role is to develop and manage IWPs for that Superintendent and that trade. On the surface this may look like a resource that will be underutilized, however, if this one planner can keep meaningful work in front of up to 50 tradespeople every day and free up the field supervision to manage the work in the field, then the investment will have a very high return.

Structure of the WFP department:

The Workface Planning department on this project reports directly to the Quality department, which works very well for the management and execution of Quality requirements but does not support the authority or responsibility of the Superintendents to execute construction. The result on this project is exhibited in the presence of the hold point that has been placed on work that requires QC to validate that the material is correct prior to a crew starting work. This has created another obstacle to productivity, stripped accountability away from the field supervisors and has added very little if any value.

My recommendation is that the Workface Planners should report directly to their Superintendent, this will ensure that IWPs address the needs of Quality, Safety and Project Controls with equal emphasis and that the field Supervisors retain their accountability for a safe, well built, cost-effective project.

Installation Work Packages:

The IWPs on this project has several elements that should be carried forward into the Owner model for WFP: The structure of the tabs and general layout of the template is very good. The contents of the QC section are very good: (bulk scope and a list of the systems that are included) The structure of the Safety contents is very good: JSA as a high-level view of the safe practices that touch the scope and then blank forms for the daily FLRA. The scope statement was typically very detailed and explanatory.

There are opportunities for improvement in the project controls portion of the IWP: Each IWP should have the Planned Value in work hours, on the front cover, that is developed from the quantities x unit rates (from the original estimate). There should also be a progress matrix in each IWP that allows the foreman to track progress against individual components on a scale that maps the Rules of Progress. Each IWP should also display on the front cover the crew mix and size and the expected duration of the work. A snapshot of the three-week look ahead can also be beneficial to the Foreman to show where this IWP sits in relation to other work fronts. The scaffold and construction equipment sections should be utilized (On this project the Field Supervisors manually manage these outside the IWP).

The document section of the IWP was well populated with an index that showed revisions.

The material section of the IWP typically showed a Bill Of Materials but did not always separate shop and field materials (what is available and what needs to be procured) or show materials received. (Due in part to the inability of the material management system to support this function). My suggestion for additions to the IWP would be a section that shows the work that was not completed and the reason why. This will allow the Planners to close plans on time and transfer leftover work into a future IWP. Another observation was that the 3D model is readily available to the Field Supervisors but was rarely used in the IWPs, with some basic training the planners can be shown how to highlight work and add 3D snapshots to the IWP, most notably on the front page. (ConstructSim can facilitate this).

Plant Coordinates:

The model coordinates (Northerly, easterly and elevations) were not marked on the columns, which caused some confusion. This is a simple task that can be accomplished by a survey crew in several days and should be a standard work practice.


The scaffold management process that is in use on this project is very good. It is a simple excel spreadsheet that tracks every request, every scaffold, every hour spent and every component installed. The data has been formulated to produce meaningful summaries that are ideal for managing scaffold on this project and can also be used to accurately estimate the scaffold requirements for future projects. My suggestion would be to develop the spreadsheet into a database, develop a procedure for its application and then utilize it across all future projects.

Information management:

The ratio and effectiveness of Workface Planners is heavily influenced by their access to project information. On this project, their access to information has been made very difficult due to the absence of very simple, very inexpensive databases for Document Control and Material Management. It is not enough to say that the project has the latest revisions or the right material, the constructors need to know where it is and have simple direct access to the data that tells them exactly what they have and what they don’t have.

Information management starts with a plan that establishes a standard for the Work Breakdown Structure and the Project Nomenclature so that all documents and materials have a standard naming convention. The next step is to establish databases and processes that will manage, store and communicate project data for all of the Project Stakeholders. The ideal platform for this standard is the fully attributed 3D model which can then be used to populate online databases for Documents and Materials and the in-house database for project controls. This will lead to an alignment between Work, Time and Cost and provide a data centric environment that facilitates the creation of very accurate, extremely useful IWPs. However, it is totally reliant upon the quality of data from Engineering and Fabrication. This can be addressed by developing a comprehensive list of attributes for the 3D model and then identifying the fully attributed 3D model as a weekly deliverable from Engineering.

Project Controls:

The alignment of Work, Time and Cost is very difficult to see on this project. Ideally, the IWP (Work) would appear in the schedule as an activity with a set duration based upon quantities and installation rates (Time). Then as work is completed the same segment of work in QRS would accumulate Earned Value and Burned Hours (Cost). The culmination of this data would then show Construction and Project Management a very accurate and clear picture of what got done, how much it cost, how much there is to go and how long it will take. There are a number of factors that prevented this from being possible on this project and they are all tied to the lack of information management: Work – The IWPs do not represent a discrete portion of work that will be executed in a specific duration because it is too difficult for the Planners to consistently gather all of that information. The IWPs appear in the schedule but their duration is not based upon quantities or performance and the database cannot be progressed at a component level because the Foremen do not track components that have been installed. So this means that it is very difficult for the Construction or Project Management teams to get a clear picture of what got done, how much it cost, how much there is to go and how long it will take, hence the need for an Information Management plan.

Project Management and Construction Management (Owner and Construction Management)

There is a general transition in the industry towards a project management model that integrates all of the key stakeholders on a project into a cohesive management team. The team members from different organizations then use their expertise to manage their departments and also function as members of the Project Management Team. Material Management is a good example of this where the department manager would be responsible to manage Procurement, Module construction and Onsite Warehousing. This creates a holistic view of the project and breaks down the silo mentality of Engineering then Procurement and finally Construction. This was not the model in use on this project, as evidenced by the data exchanges between Owner and Construction Management in the field of Document Control and Material Management. With Construction Management being a subsidiary of Owner it would seem to present an opportunity to develop a ‘One Team’ environment where there was no overlap of duties and the creation of a single source of project data for Document Control and Material Management.