RPS Earthworks - Work Orders

What is a Work Order?

A Work Order in RPS - Earthworks is a “work package” that needs to be completed by on site operations.

Inside the RPS - Earthworks system you can create and manage the project work orders as they arise. The intent of the system is that the Work Order detail including Boundaries, Surfaces etc. will always be created by Trimble Business Center.

Can I Create a Work Order in RPS - Earthworks?

You can create a placeholder Work Order at the request of a manager etc. inside the RPS - Earthworks system.

From the Map Screen in Earthworks, click on Work Orders to open the Work Orders list.

Click on the Create a Work Order button.

Enter the Work Order details including the Reference ID, the Title and the Description of the Work Order.

Note: the Create Work Order function does not allow you to set the “type” of Work Order. That is done by the engineer using Trimble Business Center as they create and select the Surfaces and Boundaries for the Work Order. Creating the Work Order in the RPS - Earthworks system allows you to set a placeholder task, that can then be fleshed out from a design perspective by the TBC user.

Note: The Work Order requires that you create a Reference ID and Title for the Work Order , the Description field is optional. Because Reference IDs are set up differently in different organizations, the field is free form in how you use it. We recommend that if you do not have a standard for these items that you define a standard that you use when defining new work orders for the project.

What Comprises a Work Order?

A Work Order has a Reference ID and Title that makes it unique, a Description to aid in understanding the task to be completed. It also has a Work Order Type and that dictates the reference surfaces required (starting, design and optional capping) and a boundary that constrains the task geographically. The Work Order allows us to correlate machine generated and survey generated data to the various tasks happening around the project at any given time, allowing RPS - Earthworks to accurately report the Progress, Productivity and Quality being achieved for each task independently.

Overlapping Work Order Boundaries

While over time it is inevitable that multiple Work Orders could occur at the same location, it is unlikely that you will be executing 2 different earthmoving tasks in the same location at the same time. For this reason we recommend that concurrent work order boundaries do not overlap. If work order boundaries do overlap, data generated by Survey or Machines in the overlap areas will be counted and used in the generation of results for all of the overlapping work orders.

Work Order Types:

There are four types of Work Order

Undefined - A work order created in RPS - Earthworks will be in an Undefined State until the engineer adds the Work Order data and changes the Type to the correct type for the task in hand.

Backfill - A Backfill Work Order provides the framework for a Backfill and Capping operation. The operation requires a Starting Point surface (the current situation before Backfill and Capping), a Design surface (the top of the design earthworks) and a Capping surface (a second design surface for the top of the capping layer). The Work Order also has a boundary to limit the geographic area of the work.

Cut/Fill - A Cut Fill Work Order provides the framework for a mass earthworks cut to fill operation. The operation requires a Starting Point surface (the current situation before cut and fill) and a Design surface (the top of the design earthworks). The Work Order also has a boundary to limit the geographic area of the work.

Grading - A Grading Work Order provides the framework for a Grading operation e.g. regrading a pad or haul road. In these tasks the earthworks movement is minimal and primarily of a trimming nature. The operation requires a Starting Point surface (the current situation before Grading) and a Design surface (the top of the design surface). The Work Order also has a boundary to limit the geographic area of the work.

Work Order Management

Work Order management is accessed from the RPS - Earthworks Map screen by clicking on Work Orders.

Work Order List View

You can view Work Orders in the List View or Dashboard View. Select the option that you wish to see from the view tab selector (highlighted in above screen shot).

The work order list view shows the basic work order details and the status of the work order in terms of its status. The color of the status box is an indication of whether the work order is on schedule (green), close to schedule (orange) or behind schedule (red).

Work Order Dashboard View

The work order dashboard view shows the details of the work order in summary. The details for all active work order are continuously updated by the system so that the dashboard is showing close to current information in all cases. Here you can see the target and actual volumes and the % complete and % remaining for each task. You can click on the Burndown Chart to see the following type of chart.

The chart shows time on the X axis and volume on the Y axis thereby showing the burndown of the target volume over the duration of the work order. The color of the chart again indicates the schedule state of the work order (on schedule (green), close to schedule (orange) or behind schedule (red).

Work Order Details

In either the work order list view or work order dashboard view, clicking the work order ID will open the Work Order details screen for the selected work order. When you click on a work order, the details of the work order are recalculated and refreshed so they can take a few seconds to load. The work order details are therefore 100% current when you open the work order details screen.

The work order creation process is designed to be executed in the following steps

Create Work Order Process

The Work Order can be created initially using the RPS Earthworks system or through Trimble Business Center.

The Work Order creation sets the Work Order Reference ID, Work Order Title and Work Order Description. At this point the Work Order is set to “In Design” status. It is now waiting for the Engineers using Trimble Business Center to populate the work order with design information (Surfaces, Boundaries, Tolerances).

Work Order Design Process

The Work Order design process is always executed by the Engineers using Trimble Business Center.

In this process the engineers will create the existing surface (starting point surface) as well as the design surface(s) for the task. They will define the boundary for the work order and also set the tolerances for the surfaces being constructed (grading tolerances and thickness tolerance for capping in a backfill work order.

To execute this process, the engineer will use TBC tools and the Earthworks Work Orders command.

Click Here for more details of the TBC workflow.

Work Order Scheduling Process

The next stage of the Work Order creation process is the planning and scheduling element. This process is only carried out in the RPS - Earthworks system using the Work Order details function.

The header area of the Work Order Details screen shows you the following pieces of information based on the information created in the first two steps above.

  • Work Order - Reference ID
  • Work Order - Title
  • Work Order - Description
  • Work Order - Type
  • Work Order - Created By
  • Work Order - Date Created
  • Work Order - Last Modified
  • Work Order - Starting Surface
  • Work Order - Target Surface
  • Work Order - Capping Surface (Backfill Work Orders only)
  • Work Order - Estimated End Date (Color indicates schedule status (On, Near or Behind Schedule)

In addition a snapshot of the project and the location as defined by the Work Order boundary line will be displayed.

Archive and hide a Work Order

You can Archive and hide a work order that has been completed or that is no longer required by checking the checkbox in the top right corner of the header area.

Work Order - Use machine data checkbox


The use machine data checkbox will change the work orders processing of production data to use only the data in the production model created from machine TAG files that reference the Design Surface named in the Work Order. All other machine data and all survey surface data is ignored when the checkbox is enabled. When disabled the work order will use all of the survey surfaces that affect the area and time frame of the work order as well as all of the machine data regardless of the design surface in use by the machine.

Save Work Order changes

To save a work order click the image save button in the top right of the dialog

Close the Work Order Details view

To close the Work Order Details view click the image close button

Work Order Status

There are two elements that make up a Work Order Status.

The first element is the stage of the Work Order. The work order passes through the following stages from concept / request to completion and approval

  • In Design
  • Scheduled
  • In Progress
  • Needs Approval
  • Complete
  • Approved
  • Archived

The work order details pane shows the current stage of the work order in the progress bar

The second element is the status of the work order in terms of its schedule - the following status conditions are applied to a Work Order

  • On Schedule (Green)
  • Near Schedule (Orange)
  • Behind Schedule (Red)

The colors and settings that manage the status are in the RPS - Earthworks Settings

For more details - Click Here

Work Order Performance Metrics

A work order order is monitored from three key perspectives.


Work Order progress is defined by the amount of work completed as a percentage of the total work required. So if we have a work order that has 4,000,000 m3 of material to be filled and we have completed 1,000,000 m3 then we would be 25% complete and 75% remaining. Progress is best represented as a burn down chart that shows a burn down of the total volumes over time.

Progress Metric Display



Work Order productivity is defined by the work rates being achieved in relation to the expected or scheduled work rates. If for example we have a planned work rate for Fill operations of 800m3 per hour and we are only achieving 550 m3 per hour (based on the volumes moved divided by the hours elapsed) then our productivity is 550/800% i.e. 68.75% of planned production rates.

Productivity Metrics Display



Work Order quality is defined by the final surfaces created by the work order operations in comparison to the design surfaces with their High / Low tolerances applied. In addition, for a capping surface, the quality of capping is defined by the same high and low tolerances for the final surface but also by the Target Thickness and the Too Thick / Too Thin tolerances for the material being placed.

To determine the quality metrics of the surface we take the design surface area and analyze how much of that area in the constructed final surface is within the tolerance band of the design surface elevations. A surface that has 100% quality will have 100% of the surface area constructed within the tolerance band.

To determine the quality metrics for the capping surface thickness, we compare the final capping surface with the final backfill surface to determine the thickness of material that was placed on the backfill surface. The thickness is then compared to the target thickness with its too thick and too thin tolerances to determine where the surface has a thickness that is inside or outside the tolerance band. A surface that has 100% thickness tolerance quality, is one where the thickness of the material over the entire area constructed has a thickness that lies within the thickness tolerance band.

Note: Quality metrics only have any meaning as the work order nears completion i.e. as the final surface nears the design surface shape, elevation and thickness.

Quality Metric Display


Work Order Scheduling

The work order schedule depends on a number of factors as listed below.

The work order schedule assumes that the crews assigned to the Work Order will be working on the task continuously. If a crews work is split between two work orders e.g. between the 860 level and 900 level backfill operations then you need to reduce the maximum production rate in each work order to reflect the estimated split of their time between the work orders to account for that split in order to compute a reasonable estimated end date.

For example, if the crews are alternately working the 860 Level with the 900 Level, you may have a 50/50 split of their time. If their maximum work rate is 800m3/hour then enter 400m3 per hour to account for the 50/50 split of their time because they will only be working this work order for half of their available time.

Shift Pattern

The production operations are based on shift patterns. An operation can have single shift or dual shift operations. The shifts can be e.g. 12 hours in duration. The shifts have a start time e.g. 6pm and 6am. The shift pattern can start e.g. at 6pm on a Sunday evening or 6am on a Monday morning. In addition shifts may be executed 5 days per week or 7 days per week.

The options selected for the above parameters will dictate the end date calculated for the Work Order.

Select the days that will be worked each week by checking the boxes under each day of the week. The work order assumes that all days of all weeks will be available for production. If the operations have a shutdown period within the scheduled duration of the work order, there is no adjustment for that, however you can add extra days for the approval process to allow for that if needed.

You can select single shift crew or dual shift crew by checking the checkboxes beside the First Shift Crew and Second Shift Crew. You can enter the same or different production rates for each crew. For example if the night shift crew will operate more slowly because of darker working conditions you can account for that in the production rates entered.

Enter the production rate for Cut operations and Fill operations.

Production Rate Estimate

The production operation has a computed volume for Cut and or Fill operations. The crews that are applied to the Work Order will have a potential production rate (volume moved per hour in cut or fill). The production rates entered here are the production rate for either a Cut or a Fill operation (assuming that is all the crew will be doing at any given time).

If you enter a Cut Volume of 600 m3 per hour and a Fill Volume of 800 m3 per hour, this means that if the crew spent a full hour doing cut they would cut 600m3. If they spent a full hour doing fill then they would do 800m3. If however they are cutting and filling in that hour (moving cut to fill) then if we assume an even split of the time then they would be able to cut 300m3 and fill 400m3. It is clear that you cannot place 400m3 of fill if you only cut 300m3. However it is also likely that a cut operation would be slower than the fill operation so the split of time would not be equal - they may cut for 34.25 mins in the hour and fill for 25.75 mins of the hour etc. - thereby producing e.g. 342.5m3 of cut and 342.5m3 fill

The calculator below allows you look at how the calculations are working

Production Rate Calculator.xlsx (11.2 KB)

Schedule Duration Computation

The Work Order surfaces are used to compute the target volumes of cut and fill for the work order. Those target volumes of Cut and Fill are then divided by the hourly production rates for cut or fill multiplied by 12 or 24 depending on whether both shift crews are assigned or not.

The schedule is then adjusted for the Inspection and Approval Time Required (see below). The number of days selected in that setting can include the following elements

  • Time to inspect the completed work order and carry out necessary tests or survey work
  • Time to get management sign off and approval for the work order and complete any paperwork
  • Additionally, if you know that in the time span computed for the Work Order that you will have an operational break (e.g. Christmas Shutdown etc.) you can allow for that also here.

The Estimated Work Days to Complete Work Order is then computed and displayed.

You can enter a scheduled start date for the Work Order which will then be used to determine the scheduled end date for the work order.

Inside this area of the Work Order details window, if you change the days of the week that you work, the production rates for Shift Crew 1 or 2, if you enable / disable Shift Crew 1 or 2 or change the number of Inspection and Approval Days the schedule will update automatically to reflect the new computed end date.

Work Order Tolerances

The design surfaces for the work order have assigned tolerances. Tolerances are used to determine the quality metrics for a work order. For example if we have a Backfill Work Order we have two design surfaces, one for the backfill operation and one for the capping operation. There are two types of tolerance for this type of work order

Design Surface Tolerance

Specify a High and Low tolerance for the surface construction. When the surface is completed, any point on the surface that falls within the range of the high and low tolerance will be considered “in quality” and all other points will be either High (requires Cut) or Low (requires Fill). The % of the surface that is within the tolerance band is your quality indicator for the surface that you have constructed.

When setting tolerances, select values that are appropriate for the operation being executed. The settings should reflect what will / will not be accepted on completion of the task. Do not set tolerances too tight for the task or equipment / work methods being used. Do not set tolerances too loose so that the entire surface is in tolerance but fails to meet your design objectives.

Tolerance values currently are both entered as positive values - the low tolerance is below the design and the high tolerance is above the design. We are modifying tolerances so that a tolerance can be entered as either a positive or negative value. Once implemented, the High Tolerance must always be greater than the low tolerance value.

The Design Surface tolerances can be entered via the TBC work order creation process, or via the work order details pane here in the RPS - Earthworks Manager application.

Capping Surface Tolerance

The capping surface design has its own high and low tolerance setting. In addition the capping surface has a target thickness e.g. 3m and the thickness can have it’s own tolerance for “Too Thick” and “Too Thin” that can also be monitored.

Capping surface tolerances can only be entered via the TBC work order creation process.

Actual End Date and Work Order Completion

In the scheduling area of the Work Order Details pane you can set the Actual End Date for the work order to document the end of the process. When you set the end date, you can add a reason for the end date and then click Complete Work Order to complete the field operations portion of the work order and move it into the approvals phase.


Work Order Approval / Acceptance

When a Work Order has been completed, inspected and approved by management, you can click the Approve / Accept button to complete the approvals process.

On clicking Approve / Accept, the button will change to show Remove Approval and the text beside the button will show the person and the date and time of the approval. The work order status bar will also change to show Approved.

If you click the button a second time the approvals are removed and the work order set to needs approval once again. The button then says Approve / Accept once again and the text beside the button shows Pending Approval.

Cancel / Suspend a Work Order

If for any reason you need to cancel or suspend a work order, you can click the Cancel / Suspend button. A history log record of who cancelled or suspended the work order is captured and the button changes to UnCancel/Activate. When the work order has been suspended, the work order details pane is “Greyed Out” indicating that it is in a suspended state.

To reactivate the work order click the button again

Work Order Notes

You can add notes about the work order into this field. All notes that you add are added to the History Log for the Work Order. For example you can capture key dates and times where things happened during the Work Order or you can capture e.g. Bad Weather or Production Outages caused by maintenance or equipment failure etc.

Work Order History Log

The work order history log keeps a track record of all activities that affect the work order throughout the life of the work order. If you upload design information from Trimble Business Center, those activities are logged as if they were done inside the RPS Earthworks system. The log events are dated and timed and are all associated with the user that made the changes. The history log provides traceability on all activities executed regarding the work order from its initialization through to completion and approvals.

Delete Work Order

If you wish to Delete a Work Order click the Delete Work Order button.

Update Work Order

If you have made changes to the work order settings, click the Update button .

Close Work Order Detail View

If you wish to close the Work Order Details view, click the Close button.

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