The AWP framework proposes an enhanced set of practices performed in the construction industry for work packaging with a lifecycle orientation; expanding the scope of traditional work-packaging methodologies which have been focused on the construction phase. AWP is the overall process flow centered around the development of work packages and representing a planned, executable process that systematically aligns the work on engineering, procurement, and construction. AWP was first formalized and documented by the research joint venture between the Construction Industry Institute (CII) and the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA), resulting in the publication of the 2013 practice model: IR272.
Since then, a diverse group of companies have applied and used AWP in many forms with the same common methodology of building construction driven plans and more detailed field execution planning.
As shown below (Hamdi, 2013), the AWP framework enables more focus on the early planning stages and provides a holistic process for work-packaging execution by explicitly considering the breakdown structure of project scope into three main stages: 1) Preliminary Planning/Design, 2) Detailed Engineering, and 3) Construction.
The first stage (Preliminary Planning/Design) emphasizes the development and use of critical planning information elements in the early stages of project definition such as the construction sequence and the release dates for engineering deliverables. The project is initially broken into a set of Construction Work Packages (CWPs), which define the logical and manageable division of work within the construction scope. CWPs are aligned with the project execution plan and with engineering deliverables called Engineering Work Packages (EWPs). A major portion of the design process is driven by the identification and minimization of project constraints, which are monitored throughout the project lifecycle. The identification of EWPs is accomplished by system, eventually crossing CWP boundaries.
The second stage (Detailed Engineering) includes the detailed specification of EWPs. The different plans are continuously aligned to ensure consistency. Engineering and procurement specifications are delivered to support construction and allow for estimates to be further defined into more precision and less uncertainty. The latter is achieved with detailed resource loading and schedule definition. Resource loading is prepared for engineering (by discipline), for procurement (by commodity and by construction field delivery dates), and for construction (by crew, forming work areas).
The third stage (Construction) involves the development of a set of ready to install work packages, or Installation Work Packages (IWPs). These IWPs contain all needed information to deliver a safe and efficient installation of a specific portion of a system. Each IWP is issued to the field with all the necessary resources in place which is translated into a constraint-free environment. Flexibility is ensured by the IWP “governance” process in the field, which enables a collaborative examination of the status of IWPs and associated constraints, enabling the field leaders to make decisions on work packages to be issued to the field.
For larger project scopes, CWPs can be grouped in areas which are called Construction Work Areas (CWA).