Schedule for Sale | Book Excerpts


Each construction project is governed by the golden triangle of Quality, Cost and Schedule. This is a principle from the Project Management Institute that is present on simple weekend projects and multi-billion dollar projects. A Plumber once summed it up for me by telling me that I could have a project:

Good and Fast, but it won’t be Cheap.
Or Good and Cheap, but it won’t be Fast.
Or Fast and Cheap, but it won’t be Good

In a world where production is money, the industrial and commercial projects that we build cannot afford to cut the corner on Quality, so we have established Quality as the governing influence. That leaves us a choice between Schedule and Cost for the one that we will let slip. The truth is that time is money when you have to hire people to do stuff, so if you want to reduce costs then you have to minimize the schedule. So the Plumbers analogy is not correct, you can have it good, fast and cheap, you just have to keep your focus on good and fast. WorkFace Planning is a process that improves quality and reduces construction costs by minimizing schedules through improved productivity.

And it works

Table of Contents

Basic Principles
Chapter 1 – Field Installation Work Packages
Chapter 2 – Removal of Constraints
Chapter 3 – The WorkFace Planners
Chapter 4 – Summary of Basic Principles

Chapter 5 – Resources
Chapter 6 – Scaffold
Chapter 7 – Construction Equipment
Chapter 8 – Material Management

Information Streams
Chapter 9 – Information Streams
Chapter 10 – WorkFace Planning by Design
Nodes extrapolated

Total Information Management
Chapter 11 – Data -> Information -> Knowledge -> Understanding
Chapter 12 – Beyond WorkFace Planning and WorkFace Planning Software

What is WorkFace Planning?

The basic concept of WorkFace Planning, or WFP, is that we can reduce our construction schedules by improving the coordination of information, tools and materials at the work face, where the work is performed. This is accomplished by developing detailed, achievable plans that are based upon reality and experience.
The primary product of this effort is a Field Installation Work Package (FIWP).

Historically the Planners in every project organization are a long way from the workface, are overburdened and quite often lack the experience of the people who are actually doing the work. This created large plans that the workforce could not execute in an optimal way. The solution that the industry is migrating towards is to move the detailed planning function closer to the work face, develop planners who understand the work, have enough of them that they can build quality plans, (1 Planner per 50 craft) and then give them direct access to all of the project’s information.
= WorkFace Planners
These two elements are the basic principles of WFP, i.e. Planners and Plans

Constraint Removal

From birth, the FIWP travels through a series of developmental stages on the path to full maturity and successful execution. As each constraint is satisfied, the FIWP progresses to the next one and so on until we have created a current reality for that package, which allows the scope to be executed.

Organizational Chart

Header text

We have now had glimpses of what Total Information Management might look like, thanks to several well-organized projects where WorkFace Planning Software was applied.

The early adaptations of WorkFace Planning Software through Fluor (InVision), KBR (P6) and Jacobs (ConstructSim) have all shown us that the right information in the right hands can bring extraordinary results. These three software applications and the ones in development by Intergraph and Aveva are all based on the logic that the 3D model can be used to facilitate the process of WorkFace Planning and then visualize the information.

Workface Planning by Design


If you get to the stage where you have WorkFace Planners, FIWPs, a process for removing constraints and WorkFace Planning software then your construction productivity will improve dramatically. Your team’s inertia will gradually pick up and your job will change from trying to get people to do stuff to a position where you work for them. Your job will now be to run interference for your team by removing obstacles before they get in the way. Get ready to say ‘Yes’ loud and often, when your team asks for stuff.

The Return on Investment:
The application of WorkFace Planning will initially drive up the indirect costs of construction by about 2%, (1 Planner per 50 trades). The application of organized planning and execution creates cost avoidance through improved productivity at the workface. The cost of implementing WorkFace Planning is recovered when we improve the productivity of our work crews by 6 minutes a day (1%). This is based upon the accepted “Time on Tools” standard of 40%. Industry estimates have pegged the potential productivity improvements from WorkFace Planning at between 10 and 25%, this equates to a reduction in Total Installed Cost (TIC) of 4 to 10%.

On one of the projects that we established the client had a fence down the center of the project and had two separate contractors, one using WorkFace Planning and one that did not. On the WorkFace Planning side of the fence pipe was installed at 2.6 work-hours per foot, averaged across the whole project. On the Non WorkFace Planning side, the contractor installed pipe at 4 work-hours per foot. While this evidence is anecdotal, the client has since mandated the use of WorkFace Planning on all future projects.


Sounds big and impossible? Let’s take a moment and look into the future from the past.

When we compare the Gross Domestic Product of Canada to the world we see that it takes 99 people in Uganda to produce the equivalent of one person’s production in Canada. (Both countries have about 33 million people) It wasn’t always this way, Canadians use to produce a lot less 100 years ago. And it is probably not that Canadians work 99 times harder than the good folks of Uganda. There is a good chance that it is because Canadians have equipment and processes (technologies) that allow them to produce well. So if the ranking on the scale of Gross Domestic Production (productivity) is less about effort and more about technology then it makes sense that the more technology we use the higher our productivity becomes.

New Technologies = Increased Productivity

This principle is constant and applies at all levels of application.

So if we truly want to continuously improve our performance in the field of Project and Construction Management then we will need to keep introducing new technologies:
WorkFace Planning and WorkFace Planning software.

Geoff Ryan

  • Also available as: E-BookDust Jacket Hardcover
  • Published: November 2009
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 200
  • Size: 6×9
  • ISBN: 9781449041960

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