Defining Advanced Work Packaging

Defining Advanced Work Packaging

Comprehensive definitions for teams that are new to Advanced Work Packaging

Early in the journey to implementing Advanced Work Packaging, many companies struggle to find a clear, easy-to-understand explanation of key concepts. In a previous post we explained the most important new roles in an AWP team, and here we’ll define key terms. We’ll start with the basics and get more in-depth as we go. 


i. Advanced Work Packaging

Advanced Work Packaging is a construction-driven planning and collaboration system for building capital projects that is sharply focused on creating a constraint-free work environment in the field. It requires that detailed work packages be created early in the project life cycle; i.e., in advance. These work packages must be informed by a Project Execution Plan and a detailed Path of Construction, and supported by a comprehensive and disciplined stakeholder integration. Removing field constraints — ensuring that people have the equipment, materials and instructions to complete their work — reduces idle time, increases labor productivity and improves project outcomes. For these reasons, AWP is currently considered a best practice in the field of capital construction.

How is AWP different from standard work packaging?

Standard work packaging is not construction-driven. Standard systems bring in construction leaders just before the shovels go into the ground, whereas AWP requires that construction leaders be involved in planning from the outset. Standard systems organize work packages around engineering, design or a myriad of other drivers, whereas AWP requires that work packages be organized solely around the Path of Construction.

ii. Construction Work Package (CWP)

A Construction Work Package is comprised of roughly 40,000 hours of project work, but different companies may set this benchmark higher or lower, depending on the size and scope of the project. The CWPs are created by the project and construction management teams in collaboration with the project Owner, and then delivered to the Workface Planners in accordance with the established Path of Construction. The Workface Planners then divide the work into Installation Work Packages (IWPs).

iii. Installation Work Package (IWP)

An Installation Work Package is the smallest type of work package on an AWP project. It contains a scope of work that allows a specific trade crew to operate independently for a specified period of time. The length of time is flexible: Some companies size their packages at a week, others size them to a day. Workface Planners aim to create a constraint-free work environment by ensuring that crews have all the materials, equipment and information they need to execute an IWP. Achieving this requires a highly integrated project delivery system in which engineering, procurement, and construction professionals are working in concert.

iv. Workface Planning (WFP) 

The workface is the point at which the project execution plan evolves into executable tasks. Workface Planning is the process of breaking down the high-level Construction Work Packages into discrete Installation Work Packages for execution in the field. The goal of the Workface Planner is to ensure that field crews have everything they need to complete their work, including tools, materials and construction specifications. The role of Workface Planner is critical to AWP and typically executed by a civil, structural or mechanical engineer with field experience, or a tradesperson with engineering experience.

v. Integration Management (IM)

Integration Management is the work required to standardize data collection and streamline information sharing between project stakeholders, in service of project goals. The overarching objective of IM is to improve stakeholder collaboration by breaking down information silos and facilitating timely access to accurate, up-to-date information. This work involves all data (engineering and non-engineering), extends across all stakeholder organizations (from owner to contractor to supplier), impacts operations in all areas (office and field) and continues through the entire project lifecycle. Integration management is sometimes called information or knowledge management.

How is integration management different from document control?

Unlike document controllers, integration managers have the mandate and authority to question, redesign, assess and improve everything from established data flows to the organization of unstructured data. In other words, integration management goes well beyond the identification and storage of key records, and works to improve the company’s knowledge architecture and collaborative systems. Integration management is about sustainable knowledge management across all stakeholder groups..

Got questions about Advanced Work Packaging definitions? Send them to us and we’ll try to answer them in a future blog post! 

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