Document Detail

Title: RR242-11 - Analysis Supporting Front End Planning for Renovation and Revamp Projects, Part 1
Publication Date: 2/2/2009
Product Type: Research Report
Status: Reference
Pages: 173
Howard, Gibson, Whittington, Cui, Univ. of Alabama
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Increasingly, manufacturing, commercial, and institutional owners are renovating or revamping their existing facilities in North America. Whether it is an issue of making the facility more efficient with new production technology, meeting standards and safety requirements based on new environmental regulations, or maintaining historically significant buildings, these projects present unique risks. Front End Planning (FEP) is a critical process for uncovering unknowns in existing facilities, while developing adequate scope definition and a structured approach for the project execution process. Previous research using case study analysis has supported FEP as a valuable practice for project success. The purpose of the research presented in this document is to supplement previous research efforts while focusing explicitly on renovation and revamp projects. The research presented in this report was performed in conjunction with Construction Industry Institute Research Team 242 (RT 242), “Front End Planning for Renovation/Revamp Projects.”

An initial survey was issued to the Construction Industry Institute (CII) membership to gain a greater understanding of the volume of renovation and revamp (R&R) projects. The survey was used as a validation for the research in terms of whether there are a significant number of R&R projects in the general population. Forty-one CII member organizations participated in the survey, 24 owner respondents and 17 contractor respondents. Data showed that, in aggregate, 28.5 percent of total project dollars were focused on R&R projects for all three years surveyed.

One specific finding of note from the survey was that the majority of the respondent organizations manage their R&R projects differently from greenfield projects because these projects typically contain more risk in such areas as safety, unknown site conditions, interface with existing operations and so on. The unique characteristics of R&R projects, as opposed to greenfield projects, identified by the respondents included:

  • Safety and security issues of workforce interfacing with existing operations
  • Unforeseen site conditions more prominent
  • Scope definition-estimating the amount of work more difficult
  • Scheduling intensity, higher in many cases
  • Shutdown issues occur on many projects
  • Greater need to interface with operations/tenants, maintenance, and construction personnel
  • Additional schedule constraints occur due to operational interfaces
  • Different funding sources, including both local capital and non-capital funds.


Case study data for this document were gathered from a series of questionnaires and interviews from 12 projects representing over $336 million dollars of total installed cost. The resulting case studies were written by the authors and reviewed by project representatives for accuracy and anonymity. The case study write-ups from this research as well as the cases from RT 213 “Support for Pre-Project Planning” were analyzed using a pattern-matching software program, Atlas, to sort the relevant data.

This document presents the results of the case study analysis of 25 R&R projects concerning performance metrics, critical success factors, and overarching issues. Front end planning issues that were deemed as critical success factors or overarching lessons learned for R&R projects include:

Critical success factors:

  • Stakeholder identification
  • Defined front end planning process
  • Scope definition including tools
  • Alignment and teambuilding
  • Contracting strategies and project drivers
  • Investigation of existing conditions


Overarching lessons learned:

  • Labor and material issues
  • Leadership and experience
  • Alternative execution practices


This report outlines the research conducted in more detail.