Spotlight on Project Definition Rating Index– Small Industrial Projects

By Mike Davidson, Director, Global Consulting Capital Projects, PTAG

Is smaller better? When it comes to the Small Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) tool for industrial projects, it just might be. CII Research Team 314 has developed an effective, simple, and easy-to-use scope definition tool for small industrial projects that incorporates the best components of previously developed PDRIs. This new implementation tool was released this fall, and presented at the 2015 CII Annual Conference in Boston.

If you are already familiar with CII’s PDRI implementation resources (the Building PDRIInfrastructure PDRI, and Industrial PDRI), and have successfully implemented them within your organization, you will find the Small Industrial PDRI to be a very useful addition to your tool kit. The PDRI tools—if correctly implemented, facilitated by a third party, and used as part of your gated process—can tremendously improve your Front End Planning (FEP), and enhance project scope definition completeness prior to detailed design and/or project execution.

None of the existing PDRI templates was designed to address the specific requirements of smaller less complex projects, which comprise more than 70 percent of completed projects by number. Therefore, the Small Industrial PDRI tool fills a critical gap in construction industry resources. The tool was designed to be implemented on projects with a value of less than $10 million, and a three to six month construction duration. Typically, younger and less experienced staff are assigned to these small projects which makes the Small Industrial PDRI an effective tool help your young talent grow into the larger, more strategic assignments. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that the cumulative effect of poorly defined and planned scope on small projects has a major impact on your bottom line.

Examples of small industrial projects include the following:

  • Installation of gasoline cooler in pipeline (oil and gas industry)
  • Addition of hydrogen plant within existing refinery (oil and gas industry)
  • Replacement of injection molder (chemical plants)
  • Plant upgrades and retrofits such as elevators or HVAC equipment

Implementation Resource 314-2Project Definition Rating Index–Small Industrial Projects, contains 41 scope definition elements as compared with the original PDRI for industrial projects, which has a total of 70. While the original tool is more comprehensive, the Small Industrial PDRI captures all elements required for a less complex project, adding value to project scope definition development. This is a tremendous benefit for organizations, as it encourages regular use and ensures that small project scope definition achieves the same rigor as is expected for larger, more strategic projects.

I and a number of my colleagues have had the opportunity to review the new Small Industrial PDRI in detail, and we have also run a pilot to demonstrate its capability. Having personally facilitated more than 70 PDRI sessions using the other PDRI templates, my assessment is that the new tool is agile, intuitive, thorough, expedient, and very effective.


Date posted: December 15, 2015

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