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Why Integrated Planning Remains Critical For Successful Project Delivery


Garrett Capellen
Integrated Project Planning Operations Manager

Man presenting Project Working Schedule

Increasingly, project owners demand more clarity from their engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) partners. Level 4 schedules are critical in keeping stakeholders updated on a project's progress and performance. Developed and maintained by an integrated EPC team, the detailed level 4 planning schedule monitors and controls day-to-day work activities promptly for successful project delivery on time and within budget.

Commonly, the schedule ties into an EPC contractor's proprietary planning tools, providing a look ahead of three to four weeks. S&B recently revamped its planning tools to quickly measure key performance indicators and assign components to advanced work packages using expected early start and early finish schedule dates, which are tied to the Critical Path Method or CRM Schedule.

S&B’s planning tools integrate data visualization. The visualization clarifies the project by enabling everyone (no matter where they sit) to see the construction progress and results in real time on a wireless device or desktop. Most importantly, the advanced level 4 planning tools provide target dates for activities out in the field, enabling better management of craft professionals.

What is level 4 planning?

Level 4 schedule, also known as a Project Working Level Schedule, presents the detailed plan of the work to be done in the correct sequence at the correct time. Typically, the program outlines the project team's necessary activities to meet the expected project start and completion dates. Based on the complexity of the project, there may be multiple level 4 programs that can cover the entire project or part of the project. Level 4 planning helps keep EPC activities easily managed, updated, and validated.

The benefits of transparency

Level 4 planning and tools provide greater clarity to craft professional and materials management. Via S&B's proprietary software, clients can immediately see the bulk materials received on-site and when the work or work package will be complete.

Supervisors have real-time access to vital information, such as total percent complete, work remaining, materials received, and welds remaining, divided out by craft disciplines and work packages for better field productivity. Supervisors can quickly identify challenges and develop solutions for complex projects. The schedule IDs are integrated into S&B’s proprietary construction modeling tool that provides a status visualization feature that color codes pipe components received, erected, tested, and posted in real-time to keep a project on schedule and budget.

The transparency also allows EPC auditors to meet the goal of maintaining 100% audits daily instead of weekly, providing visibility and more opportunity to manage the project better by reacting to required plan revisions quickly. In years past, auditors shuffled through drawings to determine a project's progress. Today, they can access 3D modeling and instant data at their fingertips in the field for greater accuracy.

Enhanced craft crew management

Advanced level 4 planning ties to the expected project start and completion dates, enabling greater craft professional management. EPC teams can take those level 4 schedules and assign a crew to the activities with a target completion date within those expected project dates. The program also flags tasks that will fail to meet deadlines so a supervisor can review options to prevent schedule delays.

Planning and execution confidence

Most project execution difficulties result from a lack of proper planning. S&B ‘begins with the end in mind’ and draws on the team's extensive construction expertise to develop an execution plan that optimizes construction means, methods, and sequencing and integrates the plan back through procurement and engineering. S&B’s construction-driven project delivery process with the latest data visualization and management systems gets projects done. Learn more about S&B's expertise here.


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