WorkFace Planning (WFP) is a work packaging model for organizing execution in the field of a construction project. It is “about getting the right things to the right people at the right time to save money and improve productivity in large-scale construction projects.”.
The Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) recognized it as a best practice in 2005. The purpose of the development of WorkFace Planning (WFP) was to overcome the challenges that the Alberta region is facing in executing and construction its Oil Sands projects. Those challenges are manifesting in cost overruns including in front end planning, design, procurement, organization processes, construction, etc (Hamdi, 2013).
The application of WorkFace Planning aims to provide a complete picture for successful field execution based on consistency in developing work packages and removing constraints. When properly implemented, benefits of workface planning include: improved project party alignment & collaboration, site paperwork reduced, reduced rework, improved project cost & schedule, improved safety awareness & performance, more time for supervising, decreased supervisor & craft turnover, improved labor productivity, increased reporting accuracy, enhanced turnover and improved client satisfaction (CII/COAA, 2013).
a. The process aspect of WFP: delivering IWPs to the field
An installation work package (IWP) is the core execution planning deliverable used onsite by the field crew to perform work in alignment with workface planning strategy.
An IWP contains the necessary and pertinent documentation supporting workface execution; typically this would include: a work packaging summary, quantity work sheets, safety analysis, drawings, permits, scaffolds, specifications, change documents, model shots, inspection checklists, etc.
The guideline is to have a set of all information needed to perform that work package ready before the start of that package. In an IWP, responsibilities for each IWP component (safety, quality, craft supervision etc.) are assigned following a preparatory meeting directed by a focus on work constraints.
Preparing IWPs is based on an iterative process of incorporating communication, constraint checking, validation, and final documentation. IWP lifecycle process consists of five distinct steps: (1) IWP creation, (2) Document Control Interface, (3) Issuance to the field, (4) Control of IWP in the field, and (5) IWP closeout. (CII/COAA, 2013)
b. The Organizational Aspect of WFP: The Role of a WorkFace Planner
During execution, the workface planner provides essential coordination between engineering, procurement and construction personnel, aiming to achieve timely issuance of IWPs that would support construction. WorkFace Planners develop and manage IWPs.
To ensure success in such a coordination intensive role, the Construction Owners Association of Alberta recommends these planners to be engaged at a rate of 1 per General Foreman or 1 per 50 tradespersons . The workface planner is not meant to replace the project manager or the construction manager.