In project management, a work package (WP) is a subset of a project that can be assigned to a specific part for execution. Because of the similarity, work packages are often misidentified as projects.
It is commonly known and agreed upon that breaking down work into manageable pieces (work packages) is a process that depends on the project. Criteria for breaking down work and packaging it are mainly based on geographical area, engineering discipline and then sub-system or time (Hamdi, 2013).
In construction project management, there are three types of work packages: Construction Work Packages (CWP), Engineering Work Packages (EWP) and Installation Work Packages (IWP)(CII/COAA, 2013).
A construction work package (CWP) is a unit of the first level of a project’s scope breakdown. It defines a logical and manageable division of work within the construction scope.
An engineering work package (EWP) is an engineering and procurement deliverable that is used to form Construction Work Packages (CWP). The EWP are generally aligned with the construction sequence and priorities.
An installation work package (IWP), also known as Field Installation Work Package (FIWP), is the deliverable to a construction work crew that enables a crew to perform quality work in a safe, predictable, measurable, and efficient manner. An IWP is defined to be manageable and progressable, typically of limited size such that a crew can complete the work in about a week.
Work packages should not be confused with a project Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), which is a hierarchical representation of a complete project or program, used mostly in account control and project controls.
Although the structure and content of work packages differ per their hierarchy and type, most of work packages contain the following items: a brief statements of Activity Description, Activity Resources of Skill and Expertise, Activity Estimates of Effort and Duration, Activity Schedule, Activity Risks, and Activity Budget. Work Packages are assigned a Work Authorization or Control Account.