Case Study: WFP Audit Processes and Findings

Audit of Workface Planning – Mid project

$5 Billion
Peace River, Canada

Audit process:

This audit tool has been developed to support the evaluation of compliance to any single procedure from the suite of Workface Planning Procedures.

Audit objective:

The process of auditing to measure compliance to a procedure is based on the assumption that deviations from the procedure will be identified and corrected and that compliance to the procedures will give the project the best possible outcomes.


  • The auditor must have an overall understanding of Workface Planning and the contribution that each section of each procedure makes to the whole process.
  • For internal auditors (from individual stakeholder groups) this can be achieved by reviewing all of the other procedures prior to the audit.
  • The auditor will develop a plan for a series of interviews with support from the Workface Planning designate and the Project Lead from each of the Stakeholder groups.
  • The interviews will address each section of the procedure and be restricted to one hour each.
  • Each Stakeholder group is contractually obligated to provide full cooperation by making their employees available for interviews.
  • The project lead for each Stakeholder group must forward the schedule to the interviewees with the procedure attached at least two days prior to the auditor’s interviews.


  • The auditor will establish the intent of the audit with each interviewee as a process that will identify gaps and opportunities for improvement through alignment with the procedures.
  • The auditor will then ask the interviewee to describe their current reality in relation to the procedure and then supply supporting documentation.
  • Each interviewee will be asked for their optimization suggestions.
  • The auditor will record actions or efforts that are worthy of recognition.
  • Once complete the auditor will pose this question to themselves:
    • Has the intent of this section has been met?

The answer can be instinctive or computed through a % of compliance based upon this scale:

  • 0-20% Strongly Disagree
  • 21-40% Disagree
  • 41-60% Neutral
  • 61-80% Agree
  • 81-100% Strongly Agree

When all of the sections have been addressed the auditor will add up the score based upon the value of the responses (1-5) and report the final score as a % of total attainable.

The auditor will record highlights from the interviews and suggestions from the interviewees. When the audit is complete the auditor will summarize the report with recommendations that will align the processes with the intent of the procedures.

Date: July 18 2015
Project: I
Procedure: Workface Planning Construction
Auditor(s): Brett Huntley + Geoff Ryan

Project demographics
Phase: Civil and Steel
Workforce #: 125
% Complete: 12%

#Section DescriptionStrongly DisagreeDisagreeNeutralAgreeStrongly AgreeComments
2Definitions – WBS5IWPs are numbered based upon the Owner standard WBS
4Project Execution Plan1A PEP specifically for Workface planning was not developed or submitted to Owner.
5Workface Planners2Most Workface Planners do not report to their Superintendent and are not tradespeople.
6Installation Work Packages3IWPs are developed in isolation and do not have input from the Superintendents
7Removing Constraints2IWPs are checked for latest rev drawings , but do not have confirmed materials, before they are issued. Pack track is used but does not have enough detail.
8Backlog2IWPs are issued to the field as soon as they are developed and each GF maintains their own backlog, which is not tracked.
9Project Schedule2IWPs do not appear in the schedule, a list of tasks from the IWPs makes up the schedule.
10Project Controls4Planned Value is added to each IWP. Cost codes appear in eachIWP. Progress is recorded daily. There is no record of delay codes.
11Document Control5Documents are readily available for Planners online and IWPs are checked for latest rev prior to release.
12Material Management1IWPs are not checked for material availability before release. General Foremen are expected to order field materials through site procurement.
13Safety2Some IWPs have safety section populated, but most are blankwith some labeled N/A
14Quality3Most IWPs reference the ITP but not all. Quality are checking the completion of some IWPs.
15Field Execution1IWPs are not given to the Foremen and are issued to the GF by the planners as soon as they are developed. IWPs are left open for extended periods and are not returned to the planners upon completion.
16Daily Planning2Daily planning is verbal and is not connected to the IWP.
Totals35 / 90 = 39 %Attainable


Section 2: Definitions – WBS

The IWPs are numbered correctly and there is a description of the Work Breakdown Structure on the front page.

Section 4: Project Execution Plan

The procedure calls for a Project Execution Plan specifically for Workface Planning that shows the standard for Workface Planners, number and ramp up based upon the project histogram. The structure, content and development process for IWPs and the process for managing constraints. This document has not been developed or submitted to Owner.

Section 5: Workface Planners

There are 6 people in the WFP department of which only two are trades people with supervision experience. 3 of the 6 report to the Lead Planner and not to a superintendent. The two trades people report directly to their Superintendents (as per the Owner procedure) and have the best quality plans and field utilization. Steel is the key commodity being erected and there are no steel planners.

Section 6: Installation Work Packages

The structure of the IWPs is mostly compliant with the Owner procedure, but the content (from the 3 planners not reporting to a Superintendent) is developed in isolation from the Superintendents and does not reflect the field execution strategy. The result is that the Superintendents remove the drawings from the IWPs and use them to execute work based upon their own strategy. The size of the IWP is also inconsistent with the procedure with one example of an IWP that contained 24,000 hours.

Section 7: Removing Constraints

Of the two critical constraints: Documents and Materials, only documents are checked to ensure that they are available and correct. Materials are listed in the IWP but it is still up to the foreman to request them and then locate and get them. This creates IWPs that have been issued with incomplete materials available. The General Foreman is also responsible to order field materials from the site procurement team in the home office, this has already caused work to be delayed due to the material being missed and not ordered.

Pack Track is being used at a high level which does not track or show which constraints are being removed.

Equipment and Scaffolds are not being tracked as constraints.

Section 8: Backlog

The Owner procedure calls for a backlog of workable IWPs to be developed and maintained by the Planning group, with IWPs issued to the field as they enter the three-week look ahead. The as-found state of the backlog is that IWPs are issued to the field as soon as they are developed and the GF is expected to maintain their own backlog. This has created a situation where the Field supervisors are cherry picking the IWPs for available work and the IWPs are started early and completed late, which undermines the purpose of scheduling work.

Section 9: Project Schedule

The IWPs do not appear in the schedule and therefore cannot be scheduled or progressed. The schedule activities are tasks that sometimes appear in a collection of IWPs that are not grouped by IWP. This has created a disconnection between the schedule and the work that is being executed and a very complex schedule that takes more resources to manage and does not serve its purpose.

Section 10: Project Controls

The IWPs contain:

  • Accurate Planned Value that is generated by Project Controls in Prism software.
  • Cost codes specific to the work that is identified in the scope
  • Progress sheets that are populated and collected daily.

The IWPs do not contain:

  • A standard for tracking barriers.

Section 11: Document Control

Document Control is set up online so that the planners have direct access to the latest revision documents. Documents are updated with latest revisions as they are received and the planners are sent a notification to show which IWPs are affected. The IWPs are checked for latest revs immediately prior to release to the field.

Section 12: Material Management

The Workface Planners create a Bill of Materials for each IWP and the list is sent to the material management team (Contractor then Owner) but the availability of the material is not confirmed or reported. It is then the General Foreman or Foreman’s role to request the material, often then supplying the resources to locate and pick the components from the laydown area. (These hours are not included in the estimate for the Bid to Construct, therefore create a negative PF). It is also the General Foreman’s role to identify and order field issued materials through their home office procurement team. This will create many hundreds of orders for small consumable type items (bolts for cable tray) and has already caused a delay in execution due to mistakes in ordering.

Section 13: Safety

The Safety section for the two Workface Planner who reports to their Superintendents is well populated and contains information that helps the Foremen develop their field level safety documentation. The IWPs from the other planners

Section 14: Quality

Most of the IWPs that were reviewed had the Quality section populated with relevant data from the ITP with only a couple of examples where the page was blank or there was too much information (The entire ITP). For some of the IWPs, quality control personnel were checking the end result for compliance.

Section 15: Field Execution

With one exception the IWPs across the project are not distributed to the Foremen or utilized in the field, The IWPs are issued to the General Forman or Superintendent who then store them on their desk and verbalize their instructions to the field, or use the drawings from the IWPs to instruct the field labour.

Section 16: Daily Planning

The daily planning process is verbal from the GF or Superintendent to the Foreman and does not reference the IWP.


Our general assessment from this short review of the project is that the project is suffering from the project typical delays caused by the absence of Information, Tools and Materials and the project as a whole is not getting very much benefit from this version of Workface Planning.

The single biggest issue with the system as-found is that the IWPs are not issued to the foreman. There are several contributors to this state which include: Planners do not report to the Superintendents so the IWPs do not reflect their strategy or logic, this is complicated by the Planners being unqualified to develop IWPs due to a lack of field experience.

The next biggest issue is that the IWPs do not appear in the schedule so they are not scheduled, tracked or progressed. On top of this the IWPs are not cleared of the critical constraint of material availability before they are issued so the Superintendents don’t know if the work can be accomplished.

There are also many other smaller issues that when combined with these major obstacles are preventing the project from realizing the benefits of Workface Planning.

The single biggest issue is that the execution of Workface Planning has been left up to the Construction Contractor, who refuses to seek or accept guidance from the Owner’s Subject Matter Experts.


  • Construction Contractor have developed a solid foundation for the execution of Workface Planning and there exists an expectation that work will be planned and executed as planned.
  • There are pockets of conformance that have shown that compliance with the Owner procedure is both beneficial and desirable for the field labour.
  • The Document Control system is simple and effective with Planners having direct electronic access to the latest revision drawings.
  • The Material management database has the capacity to sort materials by IWP and produce reports that show materials received by IWP.
  • The two Workface Planners that are tradespeople who are reporting directly to their Superintendents are creating plans that are beneficial to the field labour and are having a positive impact on field productivity.
  • The Quality Control department have embraced the process of WFP and are expanding the value of the IWPs.


Our key recommendation is that Owner should manage the application of Workface Planning and have a dedicated Workface Planning Champion. It is the absence of this position that has allowed the contractor to deviate from the Owner procedure and underachieve. The WFP Champion can then support the reorganisation of the WFP team and conduct training and coaching sessions with the field supervision that will demonstrate the correct way to fully utilize the IWPs.

Another major issue is that the process of creating and approving a ‘Bid To Construct’ estimate for CWPs is not functional and this is impeding the contractors ability to develop IWPs. We recommend that the process be mapped and managed and then developed into a procedure.

A draft process and flow chart is attached.

When we look at the key issues for the contractor the solution must start with the appropriate number of qualified Workface Planners who are then placed in the right position in the organisation to be fully utilized, reporting directly to the Superintendent. (As evidenced by the two WFPers who achieving success in the existing model) The Procedure clearly states that Workface Planners must report directly to their Superintendent, with their secondary line of reporting to the WFP department lead.

To calculate the appropriate number and mix of Workface Planners we developed this chart from the project schedule which shows the burn rate for hours by discipline. Extrapolated into the number of IWPs that will be required to support the work and the number of Planner that will be required to develop and remove constraints from the IWPs.

The most urgent need is a Structural Steel Planner, who is needed immediately. The cladding planner who has been approved and is scheduled to be hired is not required. (3 cladding plans per month can be easily covered by the steel planners). The WFP Coordinators (engineering students) currently employed can work as administrative support and cross-shift support for the Workface Planners.

IWPs in the Schedule:

At the present time, the level 5 construction schedule is very complex and does not reflect the reality of work fronts in the field. (This is evidenced by the almost complete lack of use or reference to the schedule, even in schedule meetings). We recommend that the tasks in the schedule are rolled up to reflect IWPs and that the IWP is the lowest level activity in the schedule. This will simplify the function of managing the schedule and potentially reduce the need for more scheduling resources. The Schedule will then be directly related to field level activities that can be accurately progressed. The presence of IWPs in the schedule will also simplify and clarify the process of developing the three-week look ahead.

Material Management:

The Matrix database that is being utilized by the Material Management team is known to be able to group components by IWP. The infrastructure of developing the IWPs in a consistent format with the production of a Bill Of Materials for each one will lead to the Matrix database being populated with IWPs against components up to 4 weeks prior to the request for materials. This will allow the Material management team to bag and tag materials in an organized environment that will ultimately deliver the right materials on time and minimize the number of warehouse personnel required.

Reports from Matrix showing the availability of materials against IWPs are then utilized by the Workface Planners to manage the critical constraint of materials that ultimately leads to IWPs only being released when the work can be executed. (which has a major positive influence on-field productivity).

Scaffold and Equipment as Constraints

As the project comes out of the ground and we step into the complexity of steel, pipe, and electrical, the need for scaffold and construction equipment to be managed as a constraint will become evident. The construction process being utilized at present does not support the enhanced management that will be required to ensure that scaffold and construction equipment do not impede execution. The Owner procedure clearly states that scaffold and construction equipment must be managed as a constraint. The processes required to effectively manage these two areas should be a topic of discussion with the Construction Contractor at this time.

Path Forward:

The Project Management team are responsible to review these audit findings and develop a list of actions and accountable individuals. The Workface Planning Champion will manage the action log and report progress against each item back to the PMT within 30 days from the generation of the action items.