Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) has the power to fundamentally transform the capital project delivery process.
Early evidence suggests incredible benefits, including the ability to boost field productivity by a staggering 25 percent. Projects and organizations that have implemented AWP have also been able to bring down the total installed cost of a project by up to 10 percent, with increased savings for owners and increased profitability for contractors. They’ve also been able to:
- Deliver projects on schedule, with improved schedule performance;
- Improve safety performance, with zero lost time accident reports;
- Get better quality construction, with less rework; and
- Enjoy increased predictability, in terms of cost and schedule estimates.
These findings came out of the Construction Industry Institute’s Research Team 272. That team was the industry coalition that first proposed a recommended practice model for advanced work packaging. Full disclosure: I was a member of the team while I was writing my master’s thesis on the same subject. As I documented the benefits of AWP implementation and its potential, I went on to found the AWP Institute and, most recently, to develop the T-CON Platform to facilitate AWP-based collaboration during the capital projects lifecycle.
The fact is that when AWP is implemented properly, it drives remarkable improvements in the industrial construction sector.
But how do you get started?
AWP is still in its industry early stages, but we already have a good idea of what needs to be in place in order for it to be successful. A subsequent Construction Industry Institute report published by RT319, suggests that AWP implementation depends heavily on three pre-requisites – we’ll go over them one-by-one and show how T-CON supports these practices through enabling technology.
1 | Make sure your process adheres to prescribed AWP guidelines
If you want to succeed, start by clearly defining procedures and guidelines to regulate every stage of the project, from preliminary planning to commissioning and start-up. Use the recommended AWP flowcharts to establish specific execution procedures, and make sure all of it lines up with the contract.
You need two things to meaningfully define these procedures and guidelines: the ability to ensure consistent implementation, and the ability to collect feedback. T-CON helps you do both.
Using T-CON, an organization can specify a work process, assign project and organization permissions to various team members, and then implement the same process in a standard fashion across the entire organization. When a project has a unique context requiring a modified version of the work packaging process, T-CON allows you to set up a custom process. Once the custom process is used in a project, you can easily see whether it was effective or not. Take that feedback and roll it out to the entire organization.
With T-CON technology, more than 30 percent of the recommend AWP process steps are eliminated. This saves time, improves the accuracy of your information and helps you to manage complex projects.
2 | Make sure the project management team is aligned on AWP deliverables
It is critical to get people working together from the outset. Alignment across project discipline requirements – particularly among engineering, procurement, and construction teams – is a fundamental driver of successful AWP implementation.
Start by defining how the information will flow between disciplines throughout the different project phases. Define a coordinated and integrated plan and ensure that all team members understand how it works. You will also want to define and implement both formal and informal dispute resolution processes, so you always know when and where things are breaking down.
IR 272 recommends that the following should be finalized during Stage 1 of the project:
- Engineering Work Packages (EWP), Construction Work Packages (CWP) and Installation Work Packages (IWP) and Table of Contents
- Issuing process
- Sign-offs, and
These should be as standard as possible across the project and the organization. In fact, it is a good practice to hold an alignment workshop between the owner and general contractor to align deliverables and communication requirements.
On the T-CON Platform, you’ll define all these requirements at the beginning of the project, and you’ll be able to easily reference historical project information as you do so. The platform serves as a tool to support the alignment workshop, as well as the immediate kick-off of the project. Deliverables management through T-CON plays a critical role in the success of the AWP program. Having a clear and efficient process for these packages to route through the systems is important to the implementation process.
This involves discipline-specific leads whose job it is to develop, understand and take ownership of the timely generation of complete EWPs. Such responsibilities are powered across the project team in an automatic fashion.
3 | Make sure contracts integrate AWP procedures between key project participants
Begin by identifying who is responsible for what, not only at the company level but also at the individual level. This should be done as early as possible in your preliminary planning, so these responsibilities can be included in key participants’ contracts.
Then, define your payment schedules and control processes in such a way that they line up with your AWP deliverables. Project planning and completion should be monitored by Installation Work Packages, which provides a focus on tracking the project through physical progress, rather than through accounting metrics. Finally, develop an ad hoc project responsibility matrix for AWP implementation, so you can effectively prevent responsibility and skill gaps.
The journey to adopting Advanced Work Packaging can be daunting. T-CON was purpose-built to help companies like yours make the transition. The software will help you manage real-time collaboration in a fast, reliable and incredibly accurate fashion. We’re looking for ambitious companies that want to lead, grow fast and smart – contact us today.