Advanced Work Packaging for Improved Performance on Smaller Projects (under $100M)

With the introduction of the WorkFace Planning (WFP) model in the mid-2000s, the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) put forth a construction performance best practice that addressed some of the key construction-phase productivity issues facing owners of industrial megaprojects. Since then, the Construction Industry Institute (CII) has collaborated with COAA to introduce Advanced Work Packaging (AWP), a more expansive model that includes WorkFace Planning and Front-End Planning. The AWP best practice has been shown to improve labor productivity by up to 25% and reduce total installed costs by up to 10%, resulting in safer, more predictable projects.

From its humble beginnings in Alberta as a productivity enhancement initiative, AWP is now the methodology of choice for nearly all of the leading construction project owner companies in North America and globally. AWP is quickly spreading around the world. It’s a fact that AWP is being used on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of projects by many of the Fortune 500 companies doing large-scale construction today.

Seeing this, and recognizing the opportunity for broader adoption and implementation of AWP, industry began to demand a version of the AWP model for projects smaller in scope and with different requirements and processes than megaprojects. Many have expressed great interest in a scalable model, in part to address a shift in the market from megaprojects to projects valued at under $100M (such as maintenance projects and debottlenecking projects, for example). In response, COAA recently formed a committee tasked with the goal of extending and adapting the AWP model for the benefit of non-megaprojects, which cannot simply be treated as mini-megaprojects.

The COAA AWP Committee has been discussing this topic for over 2 years. Now, with the creation of the AWP Scalability committee, over 40 of the best and brightest from some of the top owner companies, local and global constructors, engineers and supply chain experts have been recruited to tackle this challenge.  Their findings will be the new standard for how smaller projects are planned and executed; this is a natural extension of the current Advanced Work Packaging model.

A special invitation-only meeting was held in May 2017 with industry leaders from the owner and construction communities. At this meeting, the AWP Scalability Committee identified the AWP principles that apply to all construction projects and identified a number of recommended practices that need to be developed. Ultimately, the committee is working to create a guidance document for owners, engineers and construction execution specialists, with recommendations for AWP implementation on smaller projects within North America and all over the world.

Members of this project’s steering committee will present the first draft of the scalable model at the AWP Conference 2017 this October in Houston, TX. The model is targeted for publication in spring 2018, and will be officially released at the COAA Best Practices Conference in May of that year. If you are interested in staying on the leading-edge of project planning and wish to stay competitive in an increasingly difficult marketplace, you need to be at the AWP Conference and the COAA Best Practices Conference.

For more information about AWP, the AWP Scalability Model and the AWP Conference, visit or More information about COAA and CII best practices can be found at and Know of a project that could benefit from AWP and want to start the conversation? Contact today.

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