According to the COAA WorkFace Planning Model, effective WorkFace Planning can result in up to a 25% increase in labour productivity.
WorkFace Planning is detailed execution planning. It`s about getting the right things to the right people at the right time to save money and improve productivity on large-scale construction projects.
The concept of WorkFace Planning is a combination of efforts and ideas, and is a blend of new and existing project planning and project management methods intended to improve construction project performance.
The initial development of a formal WorkFace Planning model was the work of the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA), in Canada. Part of the COAA mission is developing best practices to improve productivity and safety in construction.
Around 2003, a COAA focus group began reviewing productivity losses due to wait time, travel time, early break time and planning time and estimated that up to 25% of lost time on large-scale projects could be recovered through more detailed execution planning. That was the start of a three-year research project that would lead to the development of a new construction industry best practice: the WorkFace Planning model.
This COAA study identified insufficient planning as a contributing factor to cost overruns. In an internal study of a large construction project, crews were observed and the time spent actually building was only 37%.
In 2006, The Construction Owners Association of Alberta made WorkFace Planning a Best Practice, noting that it could be used to increase tool-time on projects by up to 25%.
At the heart of the WorkFace Planning Model is the concept of breaking down projects, from Construction Work Areas to Construction Work Packages to various types of Installation Work Packages, including the Field Installation Work Package, or FIWP.
The concept of breaking down projects into manageable work packages is one of the fundamental concepts behind the Project Management Body of Knowledge. The Project Management Institute (PMI) recommends using work breakdown structures (WBS) to subdivide a project into smaller manageable pieces (PMBOK 2004). These recommendations are expanded in the "Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures" (PMI 2002) and a section of this document was devoted to WBS level of detail.
PMI recommends that the WBS development process should achieve "…increasing detail until a level is reached that provides the needed insight for effective project management" (PMI 2002 page 15). To assist in applying this standard, PMI (2002) has developed 15 questions to aid in determining the appropriate WBS level of detail. The Construction Industry Institute (CII) also recommended breaking projects down into manageable work packages in their report "Work Packaging for Project Control" (CII 1988).
In 1987, the Construction Industry Institute (CII) developed a report called "work packaging for project control". It had three main purposes (CII 1987 page 1):