Last edited 25 Mar 2022

Construction work packaging


[edit] Introduction

Packaging is normally associated with general contractors who split a large project into a series of work packages suitable for obtaining tenders and placing orders with the subcontracting and goods supply chain, thereby transferring risk for delivering some elements of the works to others.

However, the design team, generally advised by the cost consultant, may elect to preempt a general contractor by selecting specialist systems required for early inclusion into the evolving design. This creates a built in package requirement.

A package can include any or all of the following activities:

[edit] Package contracts

The conditions of the package contract will vary depending on the main contract arrangements.

Under a traditional contract the main contractor will split tender documents into subcontractor packages that are geared to the most competitive returns, which are then included in the main contractor’s tender offer to the client.

Under a management contract the client’s cost consultant and the management contractor, in co-operation with designers, decide how to package the works and direct the team as a whole to produce package designs suitable for obtaining subcontracts under the terms of the management contract. This method of procurement allows parallel working on design and construction. For example, work on the foundations and superstructure can commence before the design for the whole building is complete.

A construction management contract follows the procedure of a management contract except the package contractor enters into a direct contract with the client, administered by the construction manager.

The adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) is likely to lead to an increase in the early appointment of specialist package contractors by design teams to avoid having their model unravelled by appointments that might otherwise have been made at a later stage. This suggests that in traditional tendering, main contractors will be forced to adopt the specialist without any freedom of choice. This may lead to some interesting legal wrangles in respect of non-performance or delays caused by the imposed specialist subcontractor.

[edit] Package definition

For contractors to successfully transfer risk for elements of the works there are a numbers of issues to consider:

If the project is split down into too many packages it becomes confusing and unmanageable. As a very general rule of thumb the following might apply:

[edit] Typical breakdown of packages (excluding preliminaries) on an office development

[edit] Association for Project Management definition

Earned Value Management Handbook, Published by the Association for Project Management in March 2013 suggests work packages are: ‘…the lowest level at which performance data is normally analysed. It is therefore important to balance the length and scope of the work package against reporting cycle lengths, and to consider when and how to earn ‘value’. Each work package must have a clearly defined start condition and finish point, with all deliverables defined. The scope of each work package must be unambiguously defined with the procedures to be followed identified. Each work package comprises a number of activities to be performed.’

See also: Planning package.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings


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