A Simple Solution to Maintaining Productivity During Turnover
January 21, 2021
As a construction project manager, you’re tasked with juggling a myriad of teams, logistics and owner requirements in order to set up and execute a successful project. No matter what you call it, many effective project managers find it best to develop an efficient Path of Construction using an Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) methodology to optimize how your project is built.
But how do you balance creating a plan for the most efficient way to execute a project against the needs of turnover? On many complex projects, the best Path of Construction doesn’t always align with how owners or commissioning teams want to receive the completed work in order to energize the facility.
The scope of Construction Work Packages and Installation Work Packages often don’t have a direct translation to a functional system turnover. What’s worse, when a large, complex project begins, there usually isn’t a commissioning or operations team mobilized early enough to help develop and integrate a turnover plan/schedule into the Path of Construction; the negative impact is compounded amidst the chaos of all the other upfront planning, staff, logistics and execution of a project.
Since the turnover of work doesn’t happen until the end, it is sometimes not thought about until the end. When that’s the case, it can put a project that’s on track at risk of failing to deliver on time. Shifting focus from bulk construction work execution to system/turnover completion work can have a negative impact on construction rates when crews have to chase down smaller scopes to meet the turnover schedule instead of the construction schedule at around 85% project completion.
In a culture of ensuring project certainty, the optimal methodology to turn over a project on time is to “begin with the end in mind.” Let’s take a look at how that works.
Defining the Deliverables
Collaboration with the parties receiving the completed construction of work is key, and should even be something that is sought out on a contractual level. Understanding what scopes of work need to be turned over and when allows the collaborating teams to develop a turnover schedule that can be integrated into the construction schedule and Path of Construction. This sets a clear target for the project manager as they communicate when and how the work will be completed to the execution teams.
This early collaboration will establish the boundaries or scope for how the completed work will be packaged into meaningful chunks that the receiving party can use to perform their own work for that project phase, or to utilize with operations. Since construction teams have an understanding of which individual components are in the turnover packages and when they are due (as per the turnover schedule), project managers can set clear, tangible expectations for when the work needs to be completed.
Another important component of understanding the deliverables is knowing which artifacts from construction execution activities must be collected and compiled to prove construction is complete, and to provide the receiving party with the information they need to energize or operate their scope of work. When project management understands these deliverables, they can set up processes through the execution life cycle to collect and tag the information for the turnover package at the end of the job. This can be a crucial step in reducing the urgency turnover teams face when turning over completed work.
Understanding Project Status Through Deliverables Artifacts
One of the most significant items that proves completion of work from the construction project phase is the completed artifacts checklist. Every widget installed on the project will have a profile of checklists associated with it. Once the construction QC team and the receiving party agree on the checklists that indicate a component is complete, the project manager and receiving party can use the progress from their inventory of checklists to translate the project’s overall status or status of completion by turnover package.
Proving Completion at Turnover
On most projects, turnover doesn’t just happen when construction completes the last checklist for a turnover package. Being construction complete entails a whole other layer of coordination, collaboration and work process that needs to happen in order to get the work certified and transferred to the receiving party or client. The construction project team has to schedule walkdown inspections with the receiving party, assemble turnover packages and remediate deficiencies that are identified until the work is sufficiently complete to issue a completed certificate.
This process of demonstrating the completeness of the work and the paperwork can only happen after construction has fully completed their work. On a schedule-compressed project, this step can be critical to on-time delivery of the work, and it can often be overlooked or underserved.
If a completions mentality is introduced at the beginning of a job, a turnover coordinator merely needs to harvest the information for turnover inspections and packages instead of hunting for it through multiple sources, helping reduce the overall effort during that schedule-compressed period, and making the process run more efficiently.
By utilizing a completions process and an application such as InEight Completions, multiple contract parties can gain visibility into project status and coordinate needs between the different project phases. Projects that execute with a completions mindset, focused on beginning with the end in mind, are more likely to turn over scopes of work on time and efficiently.
By having a clear line of sight to the turnover goals, and the ability to measure progress against those goals, project managers can align the Path of Construction to the turnover goals and keep productivity up for their crews when starting to turn over and complete the project.