Developing your Path of Construction (POC)
The most important and one of the very first deliverables in Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) is your project's Path of Construction (POC). Simply put, the POC is the skeleton of all the AWP execution. Developing a strong POC can make the difference between success and failure of your project's construction phase.
What is the POC?
The Path of Construction is the sequencing of the optimum building of the physical scope of the facility.
In AWP terms, the POC is the sequence of your construction delivery in terms of the sequencing of your Construction Work Areas (CWAs) and Construction Work Packages (CWPs). Within the framework of AWP, your POC is developed very early during your project's front end definition phase.
Here are key characteristics and considerations about the POC:
A POC development is necessarily led by the construction management (CM) expertise of the team. This can be challenging due to the fact that CMs traditionally join the project team at a later stage of the project's definition phases. Applying AWP relies on getting the construction management's input and feedback on the POC as early as possible.
In fact, according to the CII AWP Practice Model:
"Construction management plays a key role in the early planning and execution of AWP. Usually, before construction contractors are identified on a project, construction management has the responsibility of developing the AWP execution plan, which incorporates the following:
early path of construction development
construction execution plan
preliminary construction work package(CWP) boundary definition.
The POC is centered around Construction Work Packages (CWPs). CWPs are unique deliverables that link and integrate scope, teams, engineering, estimating, field execution, safety, project controls, and materials management. CWPs translate the project's execution strategy and therefore, a POC should be an integral part of the project's classic PEP document.
A POC is NOT a constructibility strategy. In fact, constructibility is an input to the development to your POC but is no substitute to the POC. Simply put, your constructibility efforts answer the "How" question. Your POC should answer the "what, when and how".
Fig 1: The AWP Master Planning Process © The AWP Institute
Relationship to Level 2 Schedule
The POC is a key deliverable of a level 2 schedule approval gate. A key aspect of the process of developing and approving the Level 2 schedule is to have had all stakeholders involved in the development of the path of construction. In fact, during Integrated planning session(s), a Level 2 schedule is to be agreed upon by all stakeholders. The owner’s approval of the Level 2 schedule is normally a “gate” that needs to be successfully passed to advance to the next phase of the preliminary planning/design of the project.
Relationship to Engineering
A key question typically asked by Owners in AWP structured request for proposals is: "How do you ensure that timing of engineering deliverables supports path of construction?"
First, answering this question requires the existence of the POC prior to the development of the engineering schedule. In other words, if the EPC team is not staffed with a construction management representation during definition and/or detailed engineering, that can be considered an indicator of a weak AWP implementation and may even be considered a disqualifying factor in the future. A weak Path of Construction opens the door for late changes occurring during construction, engineering rework and misalignment with the field requirements. With a weak POC, WorkFace Planning (WFP) as the default process of delivering, executing and managing Installation Work Packages (IWPs) would suffer.
The relationship between the POC and engineering is practically translated in the workflow supporting the release of engineering deliverables in relationship to the CWPs. In the context of AWP, engineering deliverables are defined in Engineering Work Packages (EWPs). An engineering work package (EWP) is an engineering deliverable that is used to develop CWPs and that defines a scope of work to support construction in the form of drawings, procurement deliverables, specifications and vendor support. The release of the EWPs is a result of the POC and has to support the sequence of CWPs.