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 is a practicing Professional Engineer (APEGA), a PMP (PMI), a CCP (AACE) and a RMP (PMI). He has published more than 100 articles. He is the author of the book Risk-based Management in the World of Threats and Opportunities: A Project Controls Perspective He studied at Batangas State University and University of Batangas graduating with a Diploma in Petroleum Refinery Maintenance Technician (1979), Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (1984), and Bachelor of Science in Management Engineering in 1987 respectively. He was in his senior year taking up Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, needing only one semester to complete, when he took a break to concentrate on married life. Rufran has never stopped academic learning after getting his degrees in the University. He continues his education by taking up some MBA courses under the University of the Philippines-PBMIT Consortium (1987-1988). He completed Computer Technician Program at International Correspondence School, Pennsylvania, USA in 1994, Applied Project Management Certificate program at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in 2009, and Professional Management Certificate program specializing in Construction Management in 2014. He is now completing the Professional Management Certificate program specializing in Risk Management. He was a recipient of the Gerry Roxas Leadership Award (1976) and the American Field Service (AFS) Scholarship in 1976-77, studying in America for a year. Upon his return in 1977, California-Texas Philippines (Caltex Philippines Inc.), one of Asia’s biggest oil and gas refineries at the time, awards him with a two-year national college scholarship, specializing in Petroleum Refinery Maintenance. He went on extensive training in various maintenance disciplines for the next two years. Caltex hired him upon his graduation in 1979. He has spent more than 38 years of his life working in the Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Oleo-chemicals, Sugar Refining/Manufacturing, Consultancy, High School and University Education industries in 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, St. Bridget’s College, JG Summit Petrochemicals, Halliburton-Kellogg, Brown and Root, and OPTI Canada. He works with Suncor Energy Inc at present. He has wide range of expertise that includes problem solving, project management, training and mentoring, programs and projects planning and scheduling, cost management, risk-based management, construction management, project review and auditing, estimating, engineering and design, fabrication and module management, maintenance, operation, material selection, warehousing, EH&S and reliability engineering (predictive and preventive maintenance). He wants to share his knowledge and leave behind some form of legacy to all specially his wife, children and grandchildren, Eva and Mia.
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