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Part #64: 3D Planning of an installation of piping in a nuclear power plant

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I carried out an expertise mission very recently on a project of installation of piping in a nuclear power plant, the power plant of Flamanville in France.


At the beginning, that seemed complex, since the power station integrates some 15 buildings, 150 zones, and 2300 rooms. There were supports to be installed and pipes, knowing that each pipe belongs to an isometric line, I mean that it takes part of a functional system. Moreover, to install a pipe, about ten activities must be deployed, like the boarding, welding, control, etc. Same thing to install the supports.


Very quickly, one could arrive to a huge schedule, in terms of number of tasks, therefore unmanageable. Let’s imagine: 15x150x2300x2x10, i.e. more than one million tasks if one wants to plan all !


The complexity of this kind of project, it is that the pipes pass in all the zones: on the first floor, then the second, then they return to the basement, then on the first floor, etc

The goal of this schedule was to be able to make it possible to know:  “What is the progress at such place of the factory? In terms of activity and concerning the installations of the supports and the pipes”.




From data established beforehand under EXCEL (the tree structure of the zones), we used the 3D WBS methodology and the prototype software “WBS matrix”, and we carried out a schedule of quality PRIMAVERA P6 of 1700 tasks in 3 hours only!


Not question of isometric in the construction phase (contrary to the tests), but of geographical zones. We limited ourselves to the Zones of levels 2 in the WBS, we defined the two products installed, i.e. the supports and the pipes, then we deployed activities on these products. The rooms were modelized like steps on schedule’s task, making it possible to measure the physical progress. Then, we defined the logical sequences in terms of Zones, Products and Activities, since the 3D WBS method tells us that there exist three natures of logical links. This way of structuring the project thus makes it possible to answer the essential question: “What is the progress is at such place?”.


Finally, and in a few hours, 80% of schedule was generated. There remained small things to be made of course, like the adjustment of the durations, various finitions, and these 20% of things to complete the schedule can take time, but the performance was there.


With the 3D WBS method and the prototype software “WBS matrix”, one can create schedules 10 times more faster and better done than with a standard method, it is a revolution in the world of project planning! That made already several years that I implement it on big project.


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