Here’s a simple four-step guide to the process of creating a Path of Construction (POC)
The most important thing to remember about building a Path of Construction, also called POC, is this: start as early as possible. At the very latest, you’ll want to make it part of your Phase 3 front-end definition. If you’re already in detailed engineering or execution, you’ve missed your chance, and a PoC will yield little or no benefit for your project.
If you’ve still got time, and you’re ready to get started, keep reading for a step-by-step overview of what a PoC design and implementation process looks like.
Step 1: Commitment
The first thing you need to build an effective Path of Construction is a buy-in into the importance of construction-driven planning and construction-driven engineering, and the key to buy-in is understanding. That means everyone from leadership all the way down to front-line members of the project team must have a solid understanding of Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) principles and protocols. If you’re not there yet, you’ll need to take a step back and work on getting started with advanced work packaging.
Why? Because your team won’t understand the benefits of a PoC unless they first understand the benefits and value of AWP. Understanding is the precursor to commitment, and commitment is critical to the success of your PoC. Remember that the PoC is a formal deliverable, and putting it together will require extensive preparation followed by a series of collaborative meetings — your team will have to be dedicated to do it well. If your team isn’t on board with AWP, and doesn’t understand why a PoC is necessary, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Step 2: Preparation
The length of the preparation phase varies, depending on the size and scope of the project. Preparation for building a path of construction begins with collection of relevant data, constraints and project execution information, from across the entire project, including but not exclusive to:
- Scope Statement
- Plot Plan
- Project Execution Plan (PEP)
- Construction Management Plan (CMP)
- Constraints Assessment(s)
- Heavy lift requirements
- Long leads
This and other multi-disciplinary information will be used to prepare a list of the Construction Work Areas that are right for your project. To make sense of it all you will need to have a scheduler on board, with an early Level 3 schedule in hand. With this preparatory work in place, you’ll have all your key data, a resource-loaded schedule broken out by weeks, and a sense of your Critical Path — all of which is required to develop a comprehensive Path of Construction.
Step 3: Collaboration
Here’s the key to meaningful collaboration: Get the right people in the room. Your construction team will lead the discussion, and your engineering team must be there, too. Your project manager, scheduler, estimator, procurement representative and AWP champion must be in the room, too, along with anyone else who plays a critical role on your unique project. If the right people aren’t in the room, you’re setting your PoC up to fail.
You’ll also want to ensure that these collaborative planning sessions are facilitated by someone who understands interactive planning. At Concord, we’ve developed a standard agenda that moves project teams from zero to first draft as quickly as possible. On a small project, that might take three days; on a megaproject, it could take three intensive weeks. The key determinants are the size of the project, and the quality of data available to the team.
Step 4: Communication
The final, critical step to building a path of construction is to put it all together and communicate it to the entire project team. A Path of Construction document does little good if it’s left to gather dust on a shelf somewhere, and it’s useless if the people who receive it don’t understand what it’s for.
The construction manager owns the Path of Construction, but it’s leadership’s responsibility to make certain that anyone who is expected to leverage the PoC has a solid understanding of what it is and how to use it. At the very least, your team will need to revisit the PoC each time there is a major change to scope, design or project objectives. It is a living document, and should remain so until handoff.
Having a Path of Construction in place is like having a GPS in your car — you know your Critical Path, but the PoC shows you precisely how you’ll get there. If you’re ready to level-up your project execution by building a path of construction, we’re ready to help.