The inception of Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) can be traced back to around 2011, during the collaborative efforts of the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) and the Construction Industry Institute (CII). This period marked the second iteration of joint research initiatives between the two entities, following earlier work on the publication titled Enhanced Work Packaging.

During these collaborative sessions, the term “AWP” emerged as a fitting descriptor for the innovative methodologies under discussion. This marked the beginning of a transformative journey toward redefining project management paradigms.

Workface Planning: The Precursor to AWP

The genesis of AWP can be attributed, in part, to the pioneering work on Workface Planning (WFP) conducted by the COAA in Alberta. Introduced in the early 2000s, WFP aimed to streamline project execution by meticulously planning all prerequisites before commencing work activities.

WFP introduced a novel approach to project planning, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive pre-work preparation to minimize disruptions and optimize resource utilization. By containerizing work activities into manageable units tailored to fit within specified time frames, WFP laid the groundwork for enhanced project efficiency.

This concept was involved in a way that a block of work or a scope of work which is for a 10 man crew working 10 days shift for 10 hours. So the concept started with containerizing working 1000 hours approximately. But this much hours can be done because we used to have 10 day shifts, and in 10 day shifts there are 10 people in a crew approximately and everybody’s working 10 hours. So let’s find a work enough that you can begin and finish in that much time before you go back to.

You can begin and finish whatever you started without any interruptions, etc. Only bring the planning to that level, was Workplace Plan.

Forging a Path Forward: The Core Tenets of AWP

The evolution from WFP to AWP marked a paradigm shift in project management methodologies, with a renewed focus on integration, optimization, and discipline specificity. Leveraging a construction management platform can facilitate the seamless integration of AWP principles into project workflows, enabling real-time collaboration, data-driven decision-making, and enhanced project visibility.

Connectivity emerged as a central theme in AWP, emphasizing the seamless integration of engineering, preconstruction planning, and site execution activities. By establishing robust linkages between these domains, project teams can ensure alignment and collaboration across all project phases.

Sequencing, another cornerstone of AWP, entails strategic prioritization of project activities to optimize resource allocation and minimize delays. Through meticulous planning and foresight, project teams can align engineering work packages with construction and installation scopes, thereby streamlining project execution.

Discipline specificity represents the third pillar of AWP, advocating for tailored, discipline-specific work packages that cater to the unique requirements of each project discipline. By adopting a discipline-specific approach, organizations can enhance clarity, coherence, and alignment across all project activities.

Charting the Course Ahead: AWP Implementation and Beyond

As organizations continue to embrace AWP as a cornerstone of modern project management, the need for standardized implementation guidelines becomes increasingly apparent. Industry bodies such as the CII have played a pivotal role in codifying best practices and establishing frameworks for AWP adoption, underscoring the growing significance of AWP in today’s project landscape.

In conclusion, AWP represents not merely a methodology but a mindset—a paradigm shift in how we conceive, plan, and execute projects. By embracing the core principles of connectivity, sequencing, and discipline specificity, organizations can unlock new levels of efficiency, collaboration, and innovation, propelling them towards success in an increasingly competitive marketplace.


Back in Alberta, before the implementation of Advanced Work Packaging (AWP), workface planning faced significant challenges. Adverse weather conditions exacerbated the situation, leading to ballooning costs and frequent delays if all necessary preparations weren’t made in advance.

The concept of workface planning became crucial due to these challenges. Limited resources, manpower availability, and weather conditions restricted the work window, reducing productivity. In such environments, productivity was already low, compounded further by missing information and the need for frequent rework, especially evident in Northern Alberta.

Productivity levels were alarmingly low, with approximately 3.6 out of 10 work hours being truly productive, equating to over 60% of wasted time. This figure includes breaks, idle time, and miscellaneous tasks. Foremen, responsible for overseeing operations, were often tied up in meetings or fetching information from various trailers, leaving workers without proper guidance and exacerbating field execution issues.

As a result, work quality suffered, as experienced personnel were often unavailable due to administrative tasks. These challenges underscored the necessity for improvements in work planning and management practices.

When considering the path of construction, the focus isn’t solely on Construction Work Packages (CWPs); it has to also involve the logic of engineering, materials and commissioning aspects. This broader perspective on construction planning encompasses various considerations and evolves over time.

Path of Construction versus Constructability

The concept of constructability often intertwines with the path of construction, but it’s essential to distinguish between them. Constructability primarily focuses on assessing the feasibility of implementing engineering designs, typically during model reviews at 30%, 60%, and 90% completion stages. It addresses issues such as access, egress, safety, and lifting requirements.

In contrast, the path of construction involves strategic planning from an early stage, determining the sequence and approach to executing the project. This strategic thinking encompasses decisions like where to begin construction, whether to start from one end and progress linearly or to adopt a phased approach, among other considerations. It requires experience from past projects and a deep understanding of the site’s conditions and external factors.

Key aspects of the path of construction include logistical challenges like road width for transportation, bridge reinforcement, proximity to amenities like hospitals, and environmental considerations such as dust production and neighboring communities. These factors influence decisions about the most feasible construction approach.

Path of Construction and the consideration for the Logic of Engineering

Despite the increasing prominence of the path of construction, it’s crucial not to overlook the engineering logic that underpins it. While strategic execution planning is essential, it must align with engineering principles to ensure feasibility and effectiveness. This alignment becomes especially critical when delays or revisions occur in engineering work packages due to discrepancies between the path of construction and engineering requirements.

Moving forward, validating the path of construction against engineering feasibility and resource availability is essential. Unrealistic expectations regarding workforce availability or material requirements can hinder project execution, highlighting the need for thorough validation and adjustment of construction plans. By integrating engineering logic and validating construction plans, projects can achieve greater efficiency and success.

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