Using 3D modeling alongside the Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) process has helped complex construction projects become more streamlined, easier to visualize and simpler to construct. By marrying technology with existing high-quality project planning practices, AWP offers the potential to integrate teams, improve collaboration and deliver more predictable project outcomes.

The true power of AWP is its ability to visualize, manipulate and monitor work package requirements and progress using 3D modeling that is near real-time and accessible to project stakeholders.

Work Packages and Project Efficiency

Complex projects can be overwhelming to manage, particularly during construction. Breaking work scope down into manageable and clearly defined subsets helps to provide a direction that is easier for front-line supervisors, like foremen, to manage on a daily or weekly level and allows for more productive construction work progress.

The AWP process flow is used to dissect large and detailed project scope into discrete work packages that can be implemented using prescribed and detailed instructions, the right tools, and a set time frame that drives focus and action.

Work packages are typically broken down into increasingly granular levels:

  • Construction Work Areas (CWA) are large sections of the project usually defined by the purpose of area (boiler/heater, water treatment, process area, cooling tower, etc.).
  • Engineering Work Packages (EWP) are subsets of CWAs that contain engineering data, drawings, specifications and scope of work for the construction team.
  • Construction Work Packages (CWP) mirror EWPs and data to define construction requirements generally into geographical subsets of project work.
  • Installation Work Packages (IWP) are used to direct field workers on precisely what needs to be accomplished and provides drawings, model shots, and consideration for materials, tools, equipment and access to get the job done. IWPs are generally created through collaboration with the foreman or superintendent responsible for installations.

Project Benefits and Results

The digitization and integration of data and documents — in conjunction with 3D models that visualize progress — come together in the AWP process. The overall benefit of work packages is that direct activity brings the process to life to deliver greater efficiencies for complex projects and facilitate more “time on the tools.” Specific benefits include:

  • Job clarity. The work packages provide explicit instruction of field activities required, areas of work, tools, materials to be used and time frame for completion.
  • Material management. Tagging of each component to a work package is represented in the 3D model, the design documents and, ideally, physically on the component. Advanced software can integrate the work packages with material management solutions, provide the component’s location automatically in the laydown yard and provide a work readiness assessment to begin the work productively without constraints.
  • Prioritized design and fabrication. For engineer-procure-construct (EPC) projects, utilizing construction-driven work packaging helps engineering prioritize the same path as construction and assists in expediting equipment and materials with the project sequencing in mind. The 3D model progresses with materials required for work and checked against materials received to visually show any missing components that may require expediting or otherwise require the resequencing of construction. Work packaging assists with alternate work being available and planned when conditions change or deliveries require resequencing. Work can be quickly reprioritized to use available materials for other activities.
  • Reduce sequencing complexity. Planning work in the field is easier with defined activities and areas that everyone understands and can plan around. Alternate work becomes more readily available and is already planned when conditions change or deliveries require resequencing.
  • Guesswork removed. With projected skilled labor shortages, work packages help improve execution efficiency with clear, easy-to-use instructions, with fewer constraints plus reduced searching for tools, materials or drawings to complete a job.
  • More time on tools. Discrete, pre-described work activities, coupled with easy-to-locate materials and equipment, result in foremen managing crews instead of preparing for work or reacting to an unplanned event.
  • Increased safety. The insight provided by upfront AWP helps prevent work areas from being overloaded in the field, leading to reduced risk and increased productivity. Safety is planned into the packages during package development instead of immediately before the start of work.