Well-planned work areas, an informed construction crew and clear work assignments reduce the chance of safety incidents on the work site, which is the No. 1 goal in complex construction project execution. Using the Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) process helps facilitate an improved safety culture for any construction project in a planned and systematic way.

Advanced Work Packaging and Site Safety

At the outset of a project, the AWP process uses 3D modeling of the site and overall plot plans to help identify every construction area within the project. The management team for the project evaluates the construction aspect in the field, plus the procurement and delivery schedule, to finalize work areas and designate work packages.

There are usually three to five work packages per area, depending on size of the project, site geography and layout. The AWP process consolidates requirements, linear footages and worker hours to enable managers to instantly understand the density and saturation of people in each work area.

Once the Advanced Work Packages (AWPs) are developed, the construction team and subcontractors follow a detailed flow of review and approval for each work package, built using all engineered documents for fabrication, installation and testing.

  • Each AWP is reviewed and signed off on to see that everything is included.
  • All piping and instrumentation diagrams, isometric drawings, line lists, pipe weld data sheets and other documentation go through document control to check that everything is included.
  • All allocations of piping, specialty items and associated materials are reviewed.
  • Quality and document control of the AWP is reviewed and signed off by the quality managers for the contractor and subcontractor performing the work within each package.
  • Crew review of each AWP allows workers to see the 3D model and geographic location of the specific work, including what is around, beside and in the vicinity of the work area. This critical step allows crews to get a clear understanding of not only the scope of work, but also the surrounding areas within the AWP. This step also helps each crew plan and confirm they have assigned the proper crane and support crews to minimize workarounds, which otherwise could cause disruptions in the day-to-day planning of the work and associated hazards.

Prioritizing Special Safety Provisions

A critical lift, overhead work, confined space, large equipment installation or additional crews on any given project day create an increased safety risk for workers. When examining a work area within an AWP, teams help to identify safety concerns that may not occur daily.

Because these exceptional situations arise, the process allows for special safety provisions that are listed in what is referred to as a snapshot. In each snapshot, the provisions are prioritized and listed upfront in the AWP, specifying distinct safety concerns, itemizing the unique working conditions, and stipulating particular provisions or considerations for crews in the work area.

Frontline supervision, foremen and crews assigned to an AWP understand and share the responsibility of being aware of and implementing special safety provisions.

AWPs Make Safety the First Priority

The AWP process allows site management, supervisors and crews the opportunity to drill down as teams to examine the safety needs of each work area and individual work packages. From scaffolding to man baskets, elevated work fronts to underground piping, every job site has unique challenges when dealing with people, equipment, tools and machinery.

The AWP process is a valuable safety tool, and not only utilized for production. It also is a proactive approach to make sure that safety plays the most important role in project planning. The process improves communication and serves as an excellent administrative tool, but also helps get everyone in the field home safely each and every day.

Cory Coleman is a general superintendent with more than 20 years of experience in overseeing, planning and scheduling construction activities. He uses his knowledge in team leadership, strategic planning, portfolio management and policy enforcement to lead projects and help clients overcome challenges.