Mike Johnston, CMRP
Senior Consultant, T. A. Cook
You’re preparing to conduct an STO and want to determine if the job packages generated are accurate before field execution. Good idea, but how can you accomplish that? Conducting a field Walkdown of the job packages is a way of reviewing the work and obtaining agreement with the affected parties. A Walkdown is a joint effort after the preliminary job package has been completed, and prior to the package being exported to the site’s scheduling software.
This practice provides an opportunity to make any adjustments to the job plan early in the process. It guarantees a more accurate job package for a schedule review, field execution, and provides a more accurate outage duration, schedule and resource requirement. It ensures each job package is reviewed and agreed by the stakeholders as fit for purpose for execution.
The focus of the Walkdown is to review the steps, sequence, assigned resources and work estimates provided by the planner in the job packet and determine whether the work can be completed as described in the package. However, the prime driver of the Walkdown is to review and reduce the durations assigned to the work.
Every contractor and subcontractor should participate in the Walkdown of the work assigned to them for their respective crafts. Participants of the field Walkdown would be the execution lead(s), main and sub-contractor supervisors, and the planner.
Items that would be utilized during the Walkdown are a plot plan clearly identifying the equipment in each unit involved. A clear indication on the plot plan of staging areas, location of trailers, personnel gates, sanitary facilities, first aid stations, hydro-blasting/cleaning slab, other disposal areas, etc. should be noted. A detailed work scope, including mobilization, demobilization, supporting tasks that clearly define all activities associated with the work scope being reviewed is required.
Additional objectives of a field Walkdown are to fully understand and be familiar with the area where the work will be performed by identifying any physical constraints in the work area such as confined space that will impact cranes, bundle pullers, etc. The Walkdown should also pay attention to obstructions, traffic congestion, or deterioration of the facilities that have a potential to delay or complicate the work flow. Examine any density planning that will dictate how many people or crews can safely work at one time in the area, and identify if special PPE is required.
Work orders should be reviewed by physical area to capture opportunities to cluster Work Orders and increase efficiency of craftsmen, and taken into account for the scheduler when assembling the schedule.
Notations should be made on the physical work package as/if discrepancies in the plans are identified. All stakeholders must concur to the package being fit for purpose, or agree to the alterations required to make the package accurately executable.
Any alterations requested by the stakeholders should be noted on the package by the Execution Lead, who should have final approval, and determine if the requested changes are viable and applicable to the job scope. If the job package meets the expectations necessary it can then be progressed through the system.
When changes are applicable, and the planner has made any required changes, it will be up to the stakeholders to determine if a second field review is required, or simply an assessment of the updated job plan to make certain the requested changes have been implemented.
It is anticipated each job Walkdown will last on average one hour. Smaller jobs will require less time, while more complex jobs may require more. While this may seem excessive, if a 5% reduction is made in the work estimates, this more than returns the time investment for the Walkdown.
Such an exercise was recently performed with a client for a 650K manhour STO. The client was able to identify upwards to 15% reduction opportunity in work estimates. Steps are presently underway to remove 97,500 hours from the schedule.
What will drive such a reduction is a desire to lessen STO duration by ensuring the estimated work times are accurate and have been agreed to before execution begins. Time is truly money.