5 Benefits of Advanced Work Packaging and How to Get Started

advanced work packaging in construction

As construction projects continue to experience cost and schedule overruns, a better approach to managing and executing projects is needed. The answer? Advanced Work Packaging (AWP).

Research conducted by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) found that projects utilizing AWP decreased total installation cost by up to 10% and increased field productivity by up to 25%. In a recent ENR webcast panelists Connie McLaughlin Operations Manager at KBR and Olfa Hamdi, CEO at Concord Project Technologies Inc., shared how regardless of project size, implementing AWP aligns project stakeholders leading to better project outcomes such as reduced rework, improved safety performance, and better visibility and predictability of projects.

What Is AWP?

For those unfamiliar with AWP, it’s a project execution strategy based on approaching a project with the end in mind. Implemented correctly, it can have a profound impact on the overall health of a project. 

Fundamental to AWP is construction’s early involvement in project execution. During interactive planning sessions the team breaks down the project scope into geographical construction work areas. A construction start date is set for each area, defining the timing and sequencing for upstream tasks and the completion of deliverables. This is known as the Path of Construction (PoC). Deliverables from Engineering and Supply Chain stakeholders are then organized into discipline-specific work packages aligned with the PoC, providing visibility into their completeness and any barriers or constraints preventing their progress, such as long-lead equipment. As these work packages mature, Issued for Construction (IFC) deliverables make their way into Construction Work Packages (CWP).

WorkFace Planning (WFP) is the process of breaking down a CWP into a constraint-free backlog of Installation Work Packages which are delivered to the field and executed by Foremen. 

Creating a Positive Impact on Your Business with AWP

In addition to increased field productivity and project visibility, Hamdi and McLaughlin outlined several reasons firms are taking the leap and implementing AWP:

  1. Increased jobsite safety: Safety in the field correlates with several factors, one of them being unpredictable construction. Many safety incidents are attributed to unplanned work. With AWP, you’re able to get the right information to the right people at the right time. Having 3D models and other project documentation easily accessible at the workfront allows crews to better plan their work and keeps supervisors in the field supervising, instead of making frequent trips to the construction trailer.
  2. Better project management: The benefit of AWP is improved project management to account for changes in design earlier in the process before getting to the field. By laying out a timeline, it sets clear expectations and enables better decision making across project stakeholders.  
  3. Greater predictability: AWP reduces risk as project stakeholders agree on sequencing and project scope at the beginning of the project. By establishing front-end planning across the project lifecycle, teams can better forecast cost and schedule to optimize field execution. 
  4. Better coordination and collaboration: AWP projects create more organization and visibility into project documentation, from purchase orders to drawings to datasheets. Assigning every document with a numbering structure gives an indicator to which package the material is associated.
  5. Fewer Change Orders: With a project scope defined at the outset of the project, packages are more detailed, leading to fewer change orders as project stakeholders are aligned upfront. 

How to Get Started with AWP

By aligning with project stakeholders on the use of AWP at the beginning of the project, it creates a clear schedule and path to construction. A clear schedule leads to greater accountability and transparency between teams leading to less rework, safer jobsites, and more predictable outcomes.

AWP is a cultural change, and it’s essential to understand where your organization stands before implementing it. The first step is to understand the maturity of your firm when it comes to planning, engineering, and construction and have candid conversations with executives for their buy-in to provide resources for proper implementation and adoption. Make sure to also communicate the benefits of AWP and what’s required from project stakeholders to make the implementation of a new project management methodology successful. 

Missed the webinar? No problem. Watch the recording to learn more about AWP, how it can work for your organization, and where to get started. 

Cody Austin

Technical Solutions Executive, Major Accounts, Autodesk