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Topics: Construction, Estimating, Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)
structural welding projects
I have been handling exploration projects in the upstream oil and gas industry. However recently I have been placed to manage a project which involves welding, fabrication and erection of structural beams. 90percent of the project involves cutting of beams and welding them together.
In all my previous projects I used to have a performance indicator to estimate the schedule and track the performance of the project. E.g in pipeline related projects I based all my calculations on inches of the pipe fit and welded in a day. In this way I was able to track the performance.
Now since I am going to manage a structural project for the first time, I was looking for some suggestions about the ways to estimate schedule and track the performance of a structural project. I was thinking to consider the "inches of beam" welded per day as a good way to measure it. However that seems to be too time consuming. Can someone please guide me? Or can someone please share some related paper? Thanks
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I agree, inches of beam welder per day is very time consuming and works well in a factory or manufacturing process.

In your case, I would do No. of Beams or Elements (i.e. Columns, Plates, etc) per day and that would give you a more realistic KPI. I understand some elements might be more difficult to weld than others but still, I find this as the only efficient way to measure your progress. I used to manage a precast yard in a huge Oil & Gas Project and upon completion of the pre-cast element offsite, it was transported to site, ertected and welder to the colums through insert plates so more or less the situation that you are describing is similar.

Hope this helps !
I am in a similar position at the moment. When I hand over the drawings to the workshop, I tally up total steel tonnage and split it into heavy members and walkways and handrails. Then over the course of fabrication, I can compare actual tonnes/week throughput to historical data. This metric includes cutting, prepping, drilling, welding, straightening etc.

I have found that tonnes/week is a good metric as data is not difficult or overly laborious to collect.
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1 reply by Omer Farook Malik
Sep 05, 2019 4:20 PM
Omer Farook Malik
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Hello Kristian,

Thanks for the suggestion. I ran some basic google search and I found that tonnage/wk is a very common way of handling structural projects. Thanks for the lead there. I have also found that many design softwares like Revit etc base their calculations on tonnage too.

I will be asking you more questions if I come across some challenges. I hope you are ok with that.
You can only estimate and track what you can measure. Can the finished goods be broken down into smaller components that you need multiples of? For example, if a house was being framed and you had a team building trusses, you could track the number of trusses being built. Do you have any projects like that, or do the deliverables vary?

Maybe not the best example for your situation, but hopefully it helps.
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1 reply by Omer Farook Malik
Sep 05, 2019 3:06 PM
Omer Farook Malik
...
Hi Aaron,

The complete project has a large quantity of similar components. The project is actually about the structural supports for pipelines and they all are quite similar.
Do you use internal work orders, and do you have specific work stations in-house for the fabrication process? If so, then it should be fairly easy to manage progress if hours are assigned to each work order/ work station. In a typical project schedule, you should have a WBS with tasks/ activities linked to each "deliverable", and of course resources assigned to each. On-site, from what I have seen personally, typically vertical beams are installed first and in stages with respect to the rest of the structure, and then they are connected with the horizontal beams, with that sort of pattern repeating. The schedule is the "plan", and performance needs to be measured against the plan. Actual vs planned.
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1 reply by Omer Farook Malik
Sep 05, 2019 4:16 PM
Omer Farook Malik
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We have internal work orders. I have separate stations for cutting, fitting, welding and QC. However comparing planned vs actual time seems a little vague to me. No? I think performance should be measured against some concrete performance indicator and time itself is not a good indicator.
Sep 04, 2019 2:52 PM
Replying to Aaron Porter
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You can only estimate and track what you can measure. Can the finished goods be broken down into smaller components that you need multiples of? For example, if a house was being framed and you had a team building trusses, you could track the number of trusses being built. Do you have any projects like that, or do the deliverables vary?

Maybe not the best example for your situation, but hopefully it helps.
Hi Aaron,

The complete project has a large quantity of similar components. The project is actually about the structural supports for pipelines and they all are quite similar.
Sep 04, 2019 3:54 PM
Replying to Steve Ratkaj
...
Do you use internal work orders, and do you have specific work stations in-house for the fabrication process? If so, then it should be fairly easy to manage progress if hours are assigned to each work order/ work station. In a typical project schedule, you should have a WBS with tasks/ activities linked to each "deliverable", and of course resources assigned to each. On-site, from what I have seen personally, typically vertical beams are installed first and in stages with respect to the rest of the structure, and then they are connected with the horizontal beams, with that sort of pattern repeating. The schedule is the "plan", and performance needs to be measured against the plan. Actual vs planned.
We have internal work orders. I have separate stations for cutting, fitting, welding and QC. However comparing planned vs actual time seems a little vague to me. No? I think performance should be measured against some concrete performance indicator and time itself is not a good indicator.
Sep 04, 2019 12:58 AM
Replying to Kristian Soini
...
I am in a similar position at the moment. When I hand over the drawings to the workshop, I tally up total steel tonnage and split it into heavy members and walkways and handrails. Then over the course of fabrication, I can compare actual tonnes/week throughput to historical data. This metric includes cutting, prepping, drilling, welding, straightening etc.

I have found that tonnes/week is a good metric as data is not difficult or overly laborious to collect.
Hello Kristian,

Thanks for the suggestion. I ran some basic google search and I found that tonnage/wk is a very common way of handling structural projects. Thanks for the lead there. I have also found that many design softwares like Revit etc base their calculations on tonnage too.

I will be asking you more questions if I come across some challenges. I hope you are ok with that.
In my opinion, the first thing you should do before choosing the best metric to measure the progress of the project is to define 2 basic characteristics of it: 1) if it is a project of unique tasks that are executed sequentially from project start to end, or, in the other hand, is a group of basic tasks that are executed in batches and then repeated a high number of times, and 2) the project time scales. For characteristic 1), in both cases the use of tonnage welded or processed should be carefully used to avoid schedule misunderstand (i.e, there is a big difference for a project with 20% of batchs 100% completed compared with 100% batchs 20% completed). Personally I prefer to use a KPI that gives a more comprehensive overview of the schedule evolution or complement tonnage with other KPI's. I understand that your case corresponds to the second type, that is to say that you have a series of relatively similar activities that are executed in a production batch (eg, welding of structural subsets of similar characteristics) and then each batch repeats a large number of times. In this case, you could use quantity of 100% processed batchs + WIP instead of use tonnage. Regarding the timeframe, in your case there would be two scales to consider, a) the time or the time scale to manufacture each set of structural elements (batch), and b) the time or the time scale to manufacture the totality of the elements required by the project. The schedule measurement technique to be selected must be suitable for both timeframes and must have a logical relation between both scales (for example, if each batch is manufactured in one day, and the total project lasts 1 year, it makes no sense to measure the manufacturing progress of each batch hour by hour unless the daily quantity to be manufactured is very high).

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