Webinar: “Using TILOS for Planning and Execution of a Pipeline Project “


December 17, 9:00 AM by GMT
Duration: 40 minutes
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/200000000027771026


Major pipeline projects face many challenges that are not typical in facility constructions. Land acquisition, seasonal construction issues, environmental restrictions, major crossings that involve HDD’s (Horizontal Directional Drills) and optimizing workface planning are key considerations. The goal is to keep the construction window as short as possible to reduce the overall cost of the project to the owner, while understanding all the key interfaces points on the right-of-way. This presentation will explore the advantages of using the linear project methodology to create a baseline and to report on progress. TILOS is a visual planning tool that serves as an excellent tool for collaboration between all the major project stakeholders.


• Challenges of Pipeline Construction
• Why use Linear Planning Methodology
• Examples of Pipeline projects
• Progress and Reporting in TILOS
• Using TILOS to integrate construction challenges
• Questions and Answers

Presenter Details:

Lorne Duncan – Managing Director of Linear project Americas Inc.
He has extensive experience in pipeline planning in North and South America. For several years he was the Senior Pipeline Planner with the Enbridge Pipeline Construction Group and has worked for many pipeline owners, engineering firms and contractors to develop baseline schedules, bid schedules and has used TILOS to track and optimize the execution of the project once construction has started. He continues to work extensively as a consultant for pipeline planning for many organizations in several countries..


Utilizing Linear Planning and Scheduling for Project Control and Claims Avoidance

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The intent of this paper is to provide a comparison of traditional CPM scheduling tools to linear scheduling software (TILOS) for alignment based projects. This overview described how to interpret march charts in the simplest form and then increased the complexity by adding constructability issues such as environmental restrictions and risk such as weather. The ability to represent non-linear activities on a march chart makes this a very powerful solution that enables one to view the entire project on one march chart.
Also described was the ability to apply speed and work profiles to connect the productivity rates to soil, timber or any other factor that will have an impact. Progressing during project execution is dependent on the input of the crew inspector daily report. Typically the start and end KP for each crew is recorded daily for progressing the march chart.
It should be apparent that linear scheduling software is very well suited for pipeline, road, rail and other similar projects. We have seen that march charts connect the schedule to the geography and risks of a project in a manner that is not simply possible using traditional CPM scheduling methods.

Lorne Duncan, Linear projects Americas
Joanna Alvord, PSP, PMP, Project Controls Manager

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Tutorial Video: What are the Benefits of Time Location Diagrams for planning infrastructure construction projects?

This is a Tutorial Video for general understanding of the benefits of time-location diagrams for planning infrastructure construction projects.

The major planning and process problems of such projects are also visualized.

Targeted audience:
All people involved in infrastructure construction, who want to get first information about planning in Time-Location-Diagrams: Estimators, planning engineers, project schedulers, controllers, civil engineers, students, teachers.

(Direct Link to the video: http://youtu.be/9sTkqqOcL-g)


The concept of Linear Scheduling (Part 1)


Traditional scheduling software for the construction industry is dominated by Primavera, Microsoft Project, Power Project and others.  All of these solutions provide opportunity to develop a series of activities that are logically connected to provide a sequence of events from project start to finish.  While these tools are very powerful, they are designed for the construction of buildings and other facilities (power generating stations, refineries, etc.) and are not adequate for the constructability issues and demands of building a linear project  such as a pipeline, rail system or roadway.  The definition of a linear project is where a series of crews move, in sequence, along a ROW (right-of-way) during construction.

March charts (also known as Time-Distance charts) have been widely used in linear projects, particularly in Europe and the U.K.  This methodology is newer to the Americas, but is rapidly gaining widespread acceptance.   March charts are often hand drawn, prepared in Microsoft Excel or in a drawing program such as AutoCAD.   Linear planning and scheduling software that automates the development of the plan and progressing is relatively recent (last 15 years or so).  Key advantages of march charts are that the schedule are connected to the geography of the ROW and any constructability issues that are important to the project.

The intent of “The concept of linear scheduling” is to provide an overview of how to interpret and use march charts with an emphasis on using some of the linear planning software tools that are currently available.  A list of software is provided at the end of this appendix.

The Basics

Differences between Gantt and March Charts

Gantt charts are familiar to anyone that has planned and scheduled a project. The planner creates a series of activities based on the project execution plan and then logically connects these activities (Finish-Start, Start-Start, Finish-Finish and Start-Finish).  Resources can be added to each activity schedule and resource loading can be easily displayed.  In order to maintain crew sequencing in a pipeline project the planner would make sure that each activity is connected to its successor by a Start-Start and a Finish-Finish relationship.  A typical Gantt chart for a pipeline job is shown in Figure 1.

Traditional Gantt Chart

This Gantt charts clearly shows each activity with the start and end date of each activity. Any progress would be shown on the Gantt chart as the percent complete for each task. The problem with a traditional Gantt chart is that reporting that a bending crew is 45 % complete is quite meaningless because these traditional tools assume that progress is from start to finish and there is no connection between progress and the geography of the ROW.  The ability to include crew moves, permitting delays, environmental restrictions and other construction issues is not possible.

A march chart on the other hand displays these same crews as a series of lines moving along the ROW.  Each crew is logically connected to its successor with Start-Start and/or Finish-Finish relationships.  Completed sections are easily identified with crew moves, crossings and environmental windows clearly visible on a march chart. Using same example, a march chart will clearly display what 45% of the ROW has been completed by the bending crew and how any moves or ROW access issues have impacted the progress.

A typical march chart (Figure 2) in its most basic form shows each crew represented by a different line type. Usually distance along the ROW is horizontal and increases from the left to the right. Time is typically represented vertically, increasing from bottom to top (although it can just as easily be shown increasing top to bottom). It should be noted that the orientation of the time and distance axes is a matter of personal preference and can easily be switched in the software.

The advantage of march charts is immediately obvious as you can easily determine the location of each crew at a particular point in time.  Any issues associated with crew productivity rates are also readily apparent. For example, the red arrow in Figure 2 indicates that, based on the productivity of each crew, the lower-in crew will overtake the ditching crew between KP 25+000 and 30+000. This was not obvious in the Gantt chart view (Figure 1).

Simple March Chart

In a march chart the slope of the activity indicates the relative productivity rate for the crew.  The steeper the slope, the slower the crew is moving (because more time is spent and less distance is completed). Non-work periods, such as scheduled days off or work stoppages appear as vertical segments on the crew line.  A vertical line indicates that time is passing, but the crew is not moving. Figure 3 shows an example where the grade crew is moving slower (468 m/day) than the Haul and String crew (600m/day) with each crew working a 6 day 10h shift rotation. The green bars across the march chart, and the short vertical jumps in each crew, indicate the day off each week.  This march chart shows that grading has to start about 18 days ahead of string in order to keep these crews from overlapping.

The productivity rates that are displayed are calculated automatically by the march chart software based on duration and length of each task.

For clarity and ease of explanation, all of the following examples in this guide will only show a few representative pipeline crews.  Typically each crew is assigned to a different layer of the march chart so that the planner can display one or many crews simultaneously by activating the layers.

Productivity Rates and Slope

 Constructability Issues

With a basic understanding of these march chart elements a march chart can be further enhanced to display any other critical elements of your project. These can include the ROW profile, crossings, environmental restrictions and land acquisitions.  Other elements such as vegetation type, soil type and rainfall data can also be included on the march chart.  The amount and type of information shown on a march chart is determined by the project team.

ROW Profile

The ROW profile is important in developing the hydro-test plan and to determine productivity rate changes based on elevation (discussed later in the section on speed profiles). Most profile data (LIDAR or survey) is available in a spreadsheet format and can be easily imported into a profile diagram using the import function of the march chart software to generate the ROW profile as seen below in Figure 4.

Elevation Profile and Restricted ROW Access

Restricted ROW Access

Construction of the pipeline may be hampered by periods when certain parts of the ROW are not accessible. This would include environmental windows for wildlife and rare plants, permitting issues or ROW acquisition delays.

Restricted access periods are easily represented graphically on a march chart by rectangular shapes as shown in Figure 5. Once the impact of a restriction has been evaluated it may be necessary to modify the work plan to avoid working in the restricted area.   This can be done by splitting the crews so that the work that is impacted by the restricted area will be completed at a later date once the restricted period is over.  Figure 5 illustrated a move for both the grade and string crew to avoid the restricted area.  In this example, both crews skip the restricted area (1 day lag to allow for move) and continue to the end of the ROW at 30+000.  Once this work is finished, and the environmental restriction has expired, both crews move back to the restricted area and complete it in a reverse lay.  The red dashed lines indicate the logical links between each crew segment.

Restricted Access Showing Move Around


Once the environmental or land restrictions have been established on your march chart the next step is to identify crossings. Crossing types can include foreign utilities, roads, rail or water and are important features to locate on your march chart.  The method of crossing will be dependent on the type of crossing.  Water crossings usually require an open cut (if permissible under the environmental guidelines) or will utilize a HDD (Horizontal Directional Drill). Most roads and rail crossings utilize some type of bore method while foreign utilities are exposed using a hydrovac.  Each type of crossing can be color coded on the march chart for quick and easy identification.

Figure 6 (below) shows a highway (at KP 1+793) shown in grey and a blue river crossing (KP 29+690) on the march chart.

Road and River Crossings

Stockpile locations and Valve Sites

Virtually any information that is important can be inserted into the march chart. The following example (Figure 7) shows the stockpile location (KP 26+102) and the supply zone for this pipe (KP 0+000 to KP 29+655).   It is interesting to note that stationary items (such as mainline block valves) can also be shown on a march chart.  The two valves shown in Figure 7 are represented by a series of rectangular shapes indicating different stages of installation from civil to mechanical to instrumentation and telemetry.

Stockpile Sites and Valve Locations

Weather Risk

Risks related to weather events (precipitation amounts, temperatures) are easily evaluated by overlaying meteorological data on the march chart. In the Figure 8 the different shades of blue represent average monthly rainfall amounts.  The heaviest amounts of rain occur in the lower right of the march chart (represented by a darker blue).   In this example the planner has avoided working in this area during high rainfall amounts thus reducing the risk of heavy rain impacting construction.

March chart showing monthly average rainfall data as colored backgound