Engineering Work Package Fundamentals for Capital Projects

Engineering Work Package Fundamentals

A simple guide to engineering work package fundamentals, a foundational component of the Advanced Work Packaging Process

There is a growing consensus that Engineering Work Packages (EWPs) are the most efficient and effective way to organize a modern capital project engineering team. Still, many of our clients ask how engineering work package fundamentals differ from traditional engineering models, and they wonder why we insist on adding a new deliverable to their already-overburdened engineering teams. 

Engineering Work Packages are not a new deliverable. As practitioners of Advanced Work Packaging (AWP), we simply use EWPs to prioritize, deliver and leverage the work you’re already doing. Here’s how. 


What Is An Engineering Work Package?

An Engineering Work Package (EWP) is a diverse set of engineering deliverables that are assembled to support a specified scope of construction work.

Engineering Work Packages typically form the basis of Construction Work Packages, and ideally contain everything a workface planner needs to create Installation Work Packages for the specified scopes of work. As such, EWPs are a foundational component of the Advanced Work Packaging process and must be composed with due consideration and care. It’s important for capital project teams to be aware of engineering work package fundamentals to help ensure predictable project delivery.


What’s Inside An Engineering Work Package?

The contents of an EWP vary by project, scope and package, but a comprehensive and well-designed EWP typically includes some or all of the following:

  • A concise description of the intended construction scope
  • An explanation of key assumptions
  • Related isometric drawings and connection points
  • Engineering data 
  • Bills of materials
  • Permit requirements
  • Design specifications
  • Vendor data
  • General impact plan
  • Separate documentation issues for needed support
  • Change evaluation


These deliverables have one thing in common: they are related to a single discipline. EWPs are unidisciplinary. 


Milestone vs. Engineering Work Packages

Capital projects traditionally organize engineering around milestones and estimated overall hours. When teams discuss progress, they typically express it as a percentage of hours spent or design deliverables completed (i.e. “engineering is 45% complete). This approach allows project managers to estimate how many engineering work hours are remaining on the project, which is an important metric. 

Engineering Work Packages can give you this metric, and more. 

When a capital project team embraces Advanced Work Packaging and engineers begin working with EWPs, they start to express progress as a ratio (i.e. “we have completed 45 of 100 EWPs”). Since each work package contains an estimate of engineering work hours, project managers can still understand how many engineering work hours remain.

In addition, however, project teams can also understand how engineering progress correlates to construction progress. The ratio will be different for every project, but on all projects the level of visibility will increase dramatically. Engineering teams will have a very clear idea of how their work on EWPs is directing, expediting or delaying the work in the field.


Engineering Work Packages Support Predictable Project Delivery

With AWP in place, capital project leaders who want construction to begin on time can start by making a concerted effort to ensure that engineers are delivering EWPs on schedule. This will facilitate the timely development of Construction Work Packages, the implementation of a clear Path of Construction, and, finally, the development of Installation Work Packages that actually get capital projects built. 

If you’re ready to start seeing the benefits of Advanced Work Packaging, the Concord® team is standing by and ready to assist. Contact us today.

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