Planning a pipeline project is never an easy process. ROW (Right Of Way) selection, land acquisition, environmental constraints, crossings, access to the ROW and seasonal considerations all come into play when trying to optimize the construction execution plan. The traditional approach has been to incorporate all this into a CPM planning tool such as Primavera™ or MS Project™ to develop a Gantt chart representation of the execution sequence of the project and then progress against this plan. Unfortunately, these typical planning tools do not give a project team any indication of where and when the work was completed. Often, it is left to the construction manager to keep track of completed sections by marking alignment sheets.
A major benefit of Monte-Carlo schedule analysis is to expose underlying risks to a specific project execution plan that may not be obvious. There are additional benefits that can be realized through applying Monte-Carlo schedule analysis that can be a great value to owners, engineers and construction contractors.
March charts (also known as time-distance charts) have been widely used in linear construction projects such as heavy civil, rail, pipelines and tunnels. Historically these march charts have been hand drawn, prepared in Microsoft Excel or in created in a drawing program such as AutoCAD™. In recent years the development of software such as TILOS™ to plan and control linear projects, with the ability to create critical path schedules, has made this task much easier.
Traditional scheduling software for the construction industry is dominated by: Primavera, Microsoft Project, Power Project and others. All of these solutions provide opportunities to develop a series of activities that are logically connected in a sequence from project start to finish. While these tools are very powerful, they are better 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 linear project such as a pipeline, rail system or roadway.