SCAFFOLDING HOURS: What are they? Directs or Indirects? Part 2

080215-Scaffolding Header Part2

In the first article on “SCAFFOLDING HOURS, What are they? Directs or Indirects? Part 1”, we looked at scaffolding hours as direct hours. We observed a project progress plan that considers all scaffolding work as direct hours, thus adding 31,518 work hours to the total discipline direct hours tallied on Figure 1.

Figure 1 – Construction Direct Hours without Scaffolding

On the other hand, we underlined the fact that scaffolding hours as indirects, will result in a plan progress where all scaffolding works remain as indirect hours. The total direct remains as is without consideration of the 31,518 scaffolding hours. We then proceeded to use method number 2; i.e. equal monthly withdrawal from start of civil works to end of construction (Nov-15 to Mar-17). We pointed not only a discernible difference to the progress but a clear and visible gap.

When the project farms its scaffolding workhours in a straight line without respect to earned value through actual execution, it creates a progress and performance padding. It produces a gap (Figure 4)!

Figure 4 – Progress and Performance Padding (The Gap)

Looking on the Sep-16 Data Date (see Figure 4), it became clear that about 0.6% gap exists to the reported progress when the two are tracked and compared. The progress variance represents a progress gap, an artificial progress brought about when the project adds scaffolding hours to direct hours.

Note that the green represents actual progress based from unequal withdrawal of scaffolding hours (distribution details not shown here). The brown progress line represents a straight-line approach of equal withdrawal. The effect is fundamentally the same regardless of how the project claims their scaffolding hours.

A straight-line withdrawal however, does signify a complete disregard to true progress. It is because hours are available even during time where scaffolding does not contribute to the completion of an activity or to the timely erection of the asset.

This contributes to the risk of not knowing exactly how the project is actually doing. Take caution in underestimating this risk just because the estimated gap in our example is small because values tends to get higher when one handles larger projects with huge scaffolding components.

Figure 5 – Load Scaffolding Hours by Work Package

Projects must consider wisely how they will handle scaffolding hours more effectively. There is good reason why it is better to calculate the hours for each work package and loading the same not as a one-liner across phase but per work package as well.

Unless the scaffoldings remained in place and become part of the facilities or assets constructed, then they are just indirectly supporting construction and the hours expended should be considered indirect hours (Figure 5). There are relatively few cases of scaffoldings intentionally left attached to installed assets. They leave the scaffoldings behind temporarily for maintenance and operation’s use, usually to be dismantled a short time later right after commissioning and turnover for some good reasons. What then is our concluding reflection on the subject of scaffolding? Did the project use scaffoldings solely to complete the asset; say, a vessel?

It is very unlikely, because scaffolding erected on almost the same spot as the vessel is also used for installation, erection, painting, welding, and others, not exclusive to the vessel but for items like interconnecting pipes, insulations, electrical devices, mixers, auxiliaries, control valves, floats, meters and the like. Using this perspective, scaffolding hours are clearly indirects because expended resources are not exclusive to the vessel but associated with other different activities and assets.

The only reservation to the final verdict that scaffolding hours are better taken as indirects is how the project defines its final cost objectives. Any change to that final cost objective can change scaffolding hours to either one.

Rufran C. Frago-Author (080315)

Other articles authored by Rufran Frago:

  1. Risks Surrounding Canada’s TFW Part 1
  2. Risks as a Function of Time
  3. Project Schedule: P50, Anyone?
  4. Changing the Culture of Your Organization
  5. A Person Perceives Others Based on His Own Interest
  6. How Can Management Motivate and Empower?
  7. How Can Managers Increase Leadership Effectiveness
  8. Risks Surrounding Canada’s TFW Part 2
  9. Scaffolding Hours: What are they? Directs or Indirects?  Part 1

ANNOUNCEMENT! The paperback and Kindle edition of the book “Risk-based Management in the World of Threats and Opportunities: A Project Controls Perspective” are now available. Please follow the hyperlinks for more information.

 The book provides new/additional knowledge to project management practitioners (beginners to experts), risk management specialists, project controls people, estimators, cost managers, planners and schedulers, and for students of undergraduate courses in Risk Management. The sectional contents offer practical and common sense approach to identifying/managing risks. It is a must have for company managers, directors, supervisors, aspiring industry professionals, and even those students fresh from high school. The material is especially design to start with the foundational principles of risk gradually bringing the reader to deeper topics using a conversational style with simple terminologies.

So, if you are interested, check it out!

Source: Frago, R., 2015.Risk-based Management in the World of Threats and Opportunities: A Project Controls Perspective

About rcfrago

Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP, is the Founder/CEO of PM solution Pro, a tradename/trademark of Risk-based Management and Services Inc., a Canadian company focusing on project/business risk-based management consulting, business development, creative products, and training services. Senior project consultant, planner, scheduler, engineer, business developer, published author, with deep, diversified experience in management and controls. Hands-on work experience in engineering, maintenance, reliability program, operation, EH&S, training, and administration. Recognized subject matter expert by peers in project and Turn-around maintenance planning and scheduling, schedule quality assessment, and risk analysis. Proficient in project management framework, processes, tools, systems, and applications. Risk-based practitioner who value safety, integrity, ethics, and professionalism. Mr. Frago's personal work philosophy: "My client's success is also my own!" He has many years of international industry-related work ‎experience in Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Oleo-chemicals, Sugar Refining, Power/Utilities/Nuclear, Manufacturing, Consulting, and Education. He has worked in various parts of the world (Location: Asia, Middle East, Canada, and North Africa). Rufran has worked with Caltex, Uniman, Unichem (now Cocochem), ARAMCO-KSA, Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Arabian Gulf Oil Company-Libya, Batangas State University, Saint Bridget's College, JG Summit Petrochemicals, Halliburton-Kellogg, Brown and Root, OPTI Canada, and Suncor Energy Inc. His expertise includes risk-based project management, risk analysis, planning & scheduling, cost management, auditing, maintenance, operation, EH&S and reliability engineering. He is interested in providing solutions and innovations to all clients and stakeholders. Mr. Frago is a risk management professional. He studied at BSU graduating with a Diploma in Petroleum Refinery Maintenance Technician, and BS Mechanical Engineering. He also has a Bachelors degree in Management Engineering from UB. He took up MBA courses under UP-PBMIT Consortium. Rufran completed Computer Technician Program at ICS-Pennsylvania, USA, APM Certificate program at SAIT-Calgary, and PM Certificate program-Construction Management. He is presently taking up PM Certificate program-Risk Management at University of Calgary. He was a recipient of the Gerry Roxas Leadership Award, the American Field Service (AFS) Scholarship grant, and the CALTEX scholarship grant where he specialized in Petroleum Refinery Maintenance. The author wants to share his knowledge and leave behind some legacy to all readers, most especially to his wife, children and lovely grandchildren, Eva and Mia.
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