Bridging the Gap between Engineering and Construction Piping 3D Models to Support Advanced Work Packaging

RT-TC-01 Topic Summary
RT TC 01


Although the procedures and implementation guidelines for Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) have been well defined by previous research, the industry still recognizes an issue with deploying AWP: a gap exists between the Engineering and Construction disciplines. This gap has especially been identified in the Piping discipline, which is often one of the most problematic and inefficient functions in an industrial project.

The piping 3D models currently provided by engineering are often extensively reconfigured in later stages of the project to suit construction needs. This extra work frequently results in delays and cost overruns for the project. The objective of this research was to better understand this gap, and to provide guidelines for more mature and construction-ready 3D models.

The research team conducted semi-structured phone interviews with subject matter experts from various backgrounds (e.g., contractors, owner representatives, consultants, and employees of software companies). Information was collected in three domains: disconnects between engineering and construction, software systems, and outcomes of poor 3D piping models.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Current Limitations of Piping 3D Models for AWP

The research team detected major issues on current piping 3D models (FR-TC-01, p. 5), which included:
  • Lack of perception of the 3D model as a deliverable to be used downstream in the project – for fabrication and construction 
  • Lack of uniformity in the 3D model attribution 
  • Lack of organization on the 3D model by CWP or CWA 
  • Lack of consistency between the attribute naming in the 3D model and in other deliverables such as purchase orders
  • Lack of pipe spools and field weld determination by the engineering
Reference: (FR-TC-01)

2 : Alignment of 3D Models Goals and Expectations

Too often, the owner, engineering, and construction are poorly aligned on their expectations and goals for the 3D model. The project team needs to outline an AWP model execution plan during the FEP stage of the project, to enable all parties to have a clear understanding of the expectations and goals for 3D modeling: what the model should include, and who has each role and responsibility. The Construction and Fabrication disciplines’ contributions are important to the development of the AWP model execution plan, because their inputs address WFP issues up front.

The following sections represent what, at a minimum, should be included in an AWP model execution plan (FR-TC-01, p. 14):

  • Overview
  • Project Information and Key Project Contact
  • Goals and Uses of the 3D Model
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Collaboration Procedures
  • Project Deliverables
  • Specific Modeling Requirements
  • Naming Conventions


Reference: (FR-TC-01)

Key Performance Indicators

Research Publications

Bridging the Gap between Design and Construction Models to Improve Advanced Work Packaging - FR-TC-01

Publication Date: 03/2019 Type: Final Report Pages: 23 Status: Tool