Article #200 Using Project Management Information System to Digitize Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) Process in EPC Projects: The Need for Real-Time Request for Information Solution

One of the key requirements for all types of capital projects delivery and in particular those adopting the Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) best practice is to have a real-time Request for Information (RFI) process. For projects where AWP is adopted, the project team involved in delivering the Engineering Work Packages (EWP) need to have a real-time RFI process to address and respond to all needed design clarifications which could result from conflicts and incomplete plans and specifications, requests for design changes due to errors in construction and sequencing problems, requests for substitutions as a result of value engineering, material availability and ease of use, constructability issues, differing site conditions among others.

PMWeb Project Management Information System which was used to manage the many other Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) processes comes ready with the needed Request for Information (RFI) module. In addition to the standard fields of RFI number, description, type, category, priority, from, to, WBS, status, date among others, additional user-defined fields can be added to address the needs of AWP. Those fields will become part of the RFI header and will include the fields of Construction Work Areas (CWA), Discipline, Construction Work Package (CWP), Engineering Work Package (EWP), Procurement Work Package (PWP), and Installation Work Package (IWP).

The RFI detailed section includes the fields for the query, proposed solution, and answer. The section also includes fields for Response Date Required and Actual Date Answered, Affected Project Schedule Activity if available, whether the response to the raised query entails a change in scope, has a cost and/or schedule impact. In addition, links to other possible related PMWeb records like meeting minutes, daily reports among others can be added.

The attachment tab for the Request for Information module will be used to attach all supportive documents for the raised query and sent a response which should be uploaded and stored in the relevant EWP folder in the PMWeb document management repository. Those documents could be drawings, specifications, pictures, BIM module snapshots among others. In addition, links to related PMWeb records as well as imported MS Outlook emails will be added.

To ensure real-time notification of all raised RFIs to their intended recipients, a workflow will be assigned to the RFI module. The RFI form workflow will ensure that the form is reviewed and approved by the right project team members. The workflow will identify all needed steps, the duration for each step, responsibility for each step, actions that can be taken for each step, and the sequence for performing those steps. The workflow steps will be aligned with the permissions set in the RFI form to ensure that designated project team members provide the information they need to provide. PMWeb also allows adding conditions to the workflow steps to ensure that the RFI is sent to the right project team member depending on the RFI discipline attribute.

The project team members that are part of the RFI workflow process can select to receive online or email notifications to advise them of the raised RFI. The email notification can be designed in the desired format with the option to include the RFI template and attachments to the RFI. In addition, email notifications can be set to be sent to other project team members if selected to do so.

In addition to the project team members who are part of the RFI workflow, sometimes it might be necessary to share the RFI with other project team members who although have access to PMWeb but are not part of the workflow as well people who do not have access to PMWeb. In those cases, the notification command will be used to share the RFI with those individuals. PMWeb RFI notification tab will keep track of all those issued notifications.

The data captured in the RFI model will be used by PMWeb Business Intelligence (BI) report writer to create the RFI Status Report for which it will report the details of all issued RFIs. The real-time report could be designed to include visuals to report and analyze the captured RFI data by reason for the RFI among others.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with more than 35-year service record providing project management and controls services to over 100 projects with a total value over the US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication, and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker on topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 35 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 250 articles on project management and information systems featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.


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