Front End Planning For Renovation/Revamp Projects (Best Practice)

RT-242 Topic Summary
RT 242


Front end planning is focused on creating a strong, early link between the business or mission need, project strategy, scope, cost, and schedule and maintaining that link unbroken throughout the project life. This challenge is increased when modifying or renovating an existing facility due to unique characteristics of such projects.

A renovation and/or revamp (R&R) project is defined as a project that is focused on an existing facility. It includes the act, process, or work of replacing, restoring, repairing, or improving a facility with capital funds or non-capital funds. This may include the addition of structures and systems to achieve a more functional, serviceable, or desirable conditions, including improvements in the following areas; profitability, efficiency, reliability, safety, security, environmental performance, and compliance with regulations. R&R projects represents approximately 30% of all project spending by CII member companies. 

R&R projects bring unique risks to the owner and contractor, requiring planners to address the interface with existing building uses or operations, unforeseen project conditions, and safety challenges. In some cases, R&R projects are being executed during a high intensity period of a shutdown/turnaround/outage (STO) requiring possible co-ordination with other projects, maintenance, and operating activities. 

RT-242 research concluded that front end planning will improve the performance of R&R projects. Tools such as the Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI), Front End Planning Toolkit, and Shutdown/Turnaround Alignment Review (STAR) Tool can help in this regard. Technologies and techniques outlined on the Project Condition Investigation (PCI) cards will enhance the ability to discover potential issues causing risk. However, these tools and techniques alone will not ensure successful projects. When combined with sound business planning, alignment, and good project execution, the project team can greatly improve the probability of meeting or exceeding project objectives. 

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Identify and Engage Key Stakeholders

A stakeholder is defined as any person who has influence on the course of an event and/or a material interest in that event’s outcome. The number of stakeholders for R&R projects is generally larger than for Greenfield projects.

Clear definition of what is in and what is out of scope of a project should be made early in the Front End Planning (FEP) process. It is extremely important to have all key stakeholders involved in project decisions, but even more important to have alignment between these stakeholders so that the parameters of the project can be agreed upon. For R&R projects in particular, individuals involved may be tempted to increase scope to fix issues with the existing facility as part of the R&R project when these might be more appropriately dealt with under the facility budget. (RS242-1, p. 16)

Reference: (RS242-1)

2 : Ensure Alignment and Conduct Teambuilding

CII defines alignment as the condition where appropriate project participants are working within acceptable tolerances to develop and meet a uniformly defined and understood set of project objectives. For R&R projects, there are increased requirements to interface with local engineering, operations, and maintenance staff, making alignment more difficult. Key site stakeholders can be distracted by other duties during project planning, but later may invoke unexpected requirements during project execution. All key stakeholders need to feel involved as contributing members of the project team and participate in front end planning to help ensure project success, alignment around project plan and goals.

One way to achieve alignment on a project is through teambuilding. Teambuilding is a technique used on projects to establish trust and cultivate relationships among stakeholders. This is especially valuable when the project team is new or from outside the facility where the R&R project will take place. (RS242-1, p. 17)

Reference: (RS242-1)

3 : Follow a Defined Front End Planning Process

The front end planning process is characterized by a formal progression that guides an organization through various planning efforts with regular gate checks, using checklist to identify deliverables. Since many R&R projects are smaller, shorter in duration, and performed by local staff that may not typically oversee larger projects, there can be a tendency to skip some or all of these planning steps by project team members. (RS242-1, p. 18)
Reference: (RS242-1)

4 : Define Critical Scope Issues and Project Drivers

The scope of a project has a large impact on cost and schedule. A well-defined scope for R&R projects should include early identification of project elements and risk factors so that project team members can develop mitigation strategies. Of special importance for R&R projects is the identification of what scope items are not in scope of the project, as there can be a tendency during project execution of such projects to inappropriately allocate non-value or maintenance items into the project.

Project drivers need to be clearly defined and understood by the project team in order to choose the proper contract strategy. A project driver can be defined as the why of project execution. Project drivers, which are normally identified in the front end planning phase of the project life cycle, can affect a R&R project in terms of a specific design solution, funding, and contract strategy. (RS242-1, p. 19)

Reference: (RS242-1)

5 : Define Existing Conditions

A thorough definition of existing conditions is one of the key factors in R&R project risk mitigation in that it reduces the possibility of surprises or discovery issues later. A relatively small amount of work in this area can yield large savings later. (RS242-1, p. 21)
Reference: (RS242-1)

6 : Choose Contracting Strategy for Project Constraints

Risks to a project are increased if the chosen contract strategy is not a good match to the project’s drivers and goals. R&R projects often involve requirements specific to a site or facility regarding preferred suppliers, specific labor force to be used, hours of work, unions to be used, requirements for pre-purchasing of material, remediation contracts, demolition contracts, and others. Close coordination with the local purchasing organization, operations and maintenance staff, and between contractors is required to ensure the correct strategy has been chosen. (RS242-1, p. 22)
Reference: (RS242-1)

7 : Implementation Tool #1

IR242-2, Front End Planning of Renovation and Revamp Projects

This implementation resource includes:

  • Development of a new tool: STAR (Shutdown/Turnaround Alignment Review) for addressing STO projects during front end planning. (p. 23)
  • Development of Project Condition Investigation (PCI) cards outlining tools and techniques to enhance front end planning risk management. (p. 31)
  • This research also revised several existing PDRI tools to support R&R Projects.
    • Revised the Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) tool for industrial projects to reflect the unique characteristics of R&R projects. (IR113-2)
    • Revised the Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) tool for building projects to reflect the unique characteristics of R&R projects. (IR155-2)
    • Updated the Front End Planning Toolkit. (IR213-2)
Reference: (IR242-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved project cost performance, Improved project schedule performance, Improved risk management

Research Publications

Front End Planning of Renovation and Revamp Projects, Version 1.1 - IR242-2

Publication Date: 10/2014 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 111 Status: Tool

Analysis Supporting Front End Planning for Renovation and Revamp Projects, Part 1 - RR242-11

Publication Date: 02/2009 Type: Research Report Pages: 173 Status: Reference

Analysis Supporting Front End Planning for Renovation and Revamp Projects, Part 2 - RR242-12

Publication Date: 02/2009 Type: Research Report Pages: 183 Status: Reference

Front End Planning for Renovation and Revamp Projects: An Overview - RS242-1

Publication Date: 02/2009 Type: Research Summary Pages: 43 Status: Supporting Product

Supporting Resources

Education Materials

Front End Planning of Renovation and Revamp Projects - Instructor's Guide - EM242-21

Publication Date: 12/2010 Type: Education Module Pages: 0 Status: Supporting Product

Front End Planning of Renovation and Revamp Projects - Participant Handbook - EM242-21A

Publication Date: 12/2010 Type: Education Module Pages: 0 Status: Supporting Product

Presentations from CII Events

Plenary Session - Git R&R Done!

Publication Date: 06/2008 Presenter: Number of Slides: 20 Event Code: AC08

Session - Tools for Front-End Planning

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 19 Event Code: PIW907