Turnaround Project Planning Primer
Bernard Ertl of InterPlan Systems, Inc
Table of Contents
• The Turnaround Organization
• Information Requirements
• Sources of Information
• The Turnaround Work List
• Turnaround Work Order
• Work Order Organization
• Work Order Tasks
• Defining Activities
• Estimating Activity Durations and Resources
• Estimating Repair Work
• Planning Extra Work
• Contractor Bids
• Critical Path Scheduling
• Shutdown Schedule (Operations)
• Pre-Turnaround Scheduling (Maintenance)
• Refining the Schedule
• Daily Project Scheduling
• Lap Books
• Measuring and Reporting Progress
• Field Observations
• Anticipating and Satisfying Information Needs
• Turnaround Final Report
The oil refining and petrochemical processing industries have their own nomenclature for
maintenance projects. For the purposes of this tutorial, quot;turnaroundquot; is intended to
encompass all types of industrial projects for existing process plants including I&Ts
(Inspection & Testing), shutdowns, emergency outages, debottlenecking projects,
revamps, catalyst regeneration, etc. where an operating plant must be shut down until
the work is completed and then restarted - thus quot;turning aroundquot; the unit/plant.
Turnaround project planning and scheduling is an important function that has a direct and
dramatic impact on maintenance costs and bottom line profitability of a process plant.
Maintenance costs are the result of the expenditure of manpower, equipment and
Keep manpower and equipment usage efficient, and you will control your turnaround
costs. Through judicious planning and scheduling, a maintenance planner / scheduler
can help his organization save on manpower costs, ensure the shortest possible
downtime, and achieve the most efficient use of equipment.
The secret to achieving the most efficient plan is to remove all wasted motion, all
unnecessary movements or transports, and minimize crew and equipment redeployment.
This handbook was prepared to help those whose responsibilities include the planning
and scheduling of process plant turnarounds. We have developed a practical approach
based on tried and proven procedures using our own project management software,
although the concepts described herein are applicable regardless of the project
management software you use.
The Turnaround Organization
The turnaround organization encompasses all personnel responsible for the planning,
scheduling, management and execution of the turnaround. It includes, among others, the
plant manager, maintenance manager, turnaround manager, turnaround
planner/scheduler and field supervisors.
Often the maintenance manager will also act as the turnaround manager. Also, field
supervisors could consist of contractor personnel.
The Operations, Safety, Inspection, Warehouse and Tool Room departments are also
key to the execution of a successful turnaround.
Making your turnaround scope and schedule visible to the entire turnaround organization
is a determining factor for success. Visibility is achieved by distributing updated reports
before and during the turnaround to all key personnel. The particular information needs
of each member of the turnaround organization will be covered in more detail later.
The Turnaround Planner / Scheduler
The turnaround planner / scheduler is the organizer; the driving force behind the effort
involved in developing, communicating, reviewing, organizing and refining a workable
turnaround schedule. No turnaround planner / scheduler can have the combined
knowledge of all the trades and specialized functions that are required to execute a
turnaround successfully. Therefore he will depend, to a large degree, upon all the other
members of the turnaround team.
The turnaround planner / scheduler's contribution is one of the most important, because
he brings about good communication between the different departments, shops, trades,
contractors, etc. Through him they will become familiar with the turnaround scope,
enabling them to establish realistic work scopes, manpower and duration estimates. This
involvement ensures their participation with (quot;buy intoquot;) the schedule, so that the overall
time and manpower objectives are met.
The turnaround planner/scheduler often leads the effort of developing the work scope.
He has the ability to prepare a detailed work order (InterPlan Systems offers project
planning software that assists the planner/scheduler in creating detailed, high quality
work orders) that can be reviewed and revised by the party responsible for its execution,
speeding up the identification of all required inspection and repair work.
Planners/schedulers are the right hand of the turnaround manager. They are the source
of the information upon which all decisions are made.
Turnarounds - A Team Effort
Turnarounds will be executed by people. These people have to accept or quot;buy intoquot; your
work order scopes, estimates, schedules and progress reports. Otherwise your effort will
be totally wasted.
The confidence of the turnaround team members in your effort is in direct relation to two
factors: the quality (level of detail) of the plan and their degree of participation
(contributing, reviewing, advising).
Participation is essential, for without their reviews and comments, they will neither accept
nor work with your estimates and schedules. In fact, when people do not participate, they
usually will work to defeat the schedule!
The quality of the estimates and schedule is equally essential. A sloppily prepared
execution plan will be ignored, rejected and abandoned early. The higher the quality
(degree of detail) of the planning and scheduling effort, the higher the acceptance and
confidence - therefore enhancing a greater adherence to the schedule.
A good way to ensure that all involved will participate with the planning effort is to have
the turnaround manager (or plant manager) invited to a meeting, where the planning
effort and everybody's contribution or role will be discussed. All should leave the meeting
with the understanding that the planner will help them develop their work orders, their
schedules, etc. This will go a long way to allay their fears that the estimates, schedules,
etc., may be created without their input, and be forced upon them resulting in potentially
unrealistic, unreachable goals.
The foundation for effective project management in a turnaround is reliable information.
The planner's basic function is to gather, develop, organize, review and disseminate
information. Through his effort everyone involved is kept informed so that nothing is left
to their imagination or improvisation. The information required to plan, estimate, schedule
and manage a turnaround is extensive and often difficult to obtain - posing a serious
challenge even to experienced planners.
The required information can be roughly classified in the following categories:
• Tools & Equipment
• Work Scope
You may notice that in order to determine the cost, all other information must be
developed first. Generally, the information is developed from the quot;ground upquot;; the order in
which the information categories are listed above does not necessarily reflect how and
when they become available, or their relative importance.
Cost estimates are developed from all the other information categories. It is the
consequence of many decisions affecting staffing, overtime, safety measures, quality
requirements, procedures, contracting, etc.
Cost, being one of the most important factors, forces the planner to consider and
evaluate alternative methods, schedules and strategies with an eye towards achieving
the lowest cost while satisfying all other requirements (of time, safety and quality).
There are, however, different cost categories:
• Direct Labor Costs - determined by the manhours estimated to execute the scope.
Direct labor can be further categorized as:
o Firm Price Costs - obtained from lump sum (fixed price) contracts (for items
such as scaffolding, hydroblasting, etc.).
o Time and Material Costs - also referred to as quot;cost-plusquot; work - calculated by
applying an agreed-to hourly rate to the manhour estimate.
• Indirect / Overhead Labor Costs - determined as a function of direct labor costs.
Ex. Time sheet clerks, expediters, etc.
• Supervision Costs - determined by the manpower staffing required by the schedule
and the turnaround organization chart.
• Tool and Equipment (Rental) Costs - determined by both manpower staffing, work
content and turnaround duration.
• Extra Work - repair work not included in the work scope (usually determined after
equipment inspection during the turnaround).
• Contingency - a quot;safety cushionquot; added to allow for extra, unforeseen work without
exceeding the A.F.E. budget. Contingency usually amounts to about 15% of the total
The above (generalized) cost categories can contain quot;hidden costsquot; which good planning
and scheduling tries to minimize or eliminate. These quot;hidden costsquot; arise from:
• Incomplete definition of the nature and extent of the repair work.
• Amount of rework caused by improper procedures, material failure, degree of
• Unintentional delays caused by improper coordination, safety considerations, strikes,
work slow-down, absence of supervisors from the work place during work hours, etc.
• Necessity to accelerate the schedule for an earlier completion.
• Changes in the methods or procedures used to accomplish the work.
Time (duration) estimates are obtained from several sources: a project template,
historical records, experienced craftsmen / supervisors, and project planning software.
As with cost, time is affected by many decisions concerning staffing, shift and work-week
length, safety procedures, quality guidelines, methods used to perform the work, etc.
Time is a more flexible variable than cost in most cases. Therefore, the planner usually
concerns himself with determining (estimating) the most realistic, workable duration for
every activity in the turnaround. The sum of the durations for all activities on the critical
path (or the longest sequence of related tasks in the turnaround) will determine the
overall length of the turnaround. The resulting time span may be acceptable to
management, or it might be too long, and ways to shorten the schedule must be
examined. In some cases, the turnaround can be extended to reduce costs (overtime,
supervision, equipment rentals, indirects, etc.) at a time when the plant can be idled for
some time. So, time and cost are closely linked (quot;time is moneyquot;).
There are different kinds of time that should be incorporated into a turnaround project
• Activity Time - the time required for a crew to perform a specific task (i.e., open a
• Lag Time - time span required for any operation not controlled by crews - such as
cooling down equipment for entry, neutralizing/acidizing, stress relieving, curing
These two (generalized) time categories above do not include time loss originated by
these unavoidable delays:
• Weather - affecting activities exposed to storms, etc.
• Safety - evacuation of the work place, lack of permits, etc.
• Equipment - breakdown, unavailability, idle waiting time, etc.
• Manpower - under staffing / unavailability, strikes or work slowdown, etc.
• Productivity - a slowing down due to fatigue, etc.
As a rule, it is not a good idea to quot;build inquot; extra time in your estimates to take care of
delays caused by the above categories. If you do build extra time into your estimates,
then there will be a very high probability that all of the time will be spent to perform the
defined work (Parkinson's Law - quot;Work expands to fill the time allowed.quot;).
Extra time required to compensate for productivity loss should be considered when
calculating a manhour/cost summary as a global entry/factor. Work orders and schedules
should always reflect the original base time estimates.
Planning and scheduling addresses two main types of activities: productive work and
logistical / support work. The latter, being dependent upon the first, can be planned after
all inspection, repair / replacement work has been identified and planned.
Manpower information is developed from a knowledge of the trades or skills, and the
scope of the work for each work order.
Total manpower is the sum or combination of all trades/skills required to execute the
defined work. There are two basic groups:
• Plant Personnel - maintenance mechanics, electricians, instrument technicians, etc.
• Contract Personnel - scaffolders, pipe fitters, boiler makers, welders, laborers,
insulators, refractory applicators, stress relieving technicians, specialty trades, etc.
Manpower can be union (organized, along trade or skills), or non-union (open shop). If
your turnaround is going to be executed by union trades, you must secure a list of them
along with the union agreement books to see what jurisdictions each trade
encompasses. This way you can assign the correct trades or resources to every activity,
in order to avoid any disputes and potential work interruptions.
If your turnaround is going to be executed by non-union labor, you should still attempt to
correctly identify the type of skill needed to perform each activity. Even though you may
have a quot;multi-craftquot; labor force, it is useful to be aware of the labor requirements for the
different skill-sets of multi-craft labor (blinding, pipe fabrication, tower and tray work, etc.).
Safety guidelines play an important role in the planning and scheduling of a turnaround.
The safety department will issue a procedure which combines both government (OSHA
in the U.S.A.) guidelines and the plant's own rules for a safe, accident-free turnaround.
Two basic safety concerns must be addressed. These are:
• Safety of all personnel
• Safety of the plant equipment
Personnel safety that requires the expenditure of manpower involves:
• Obtaining permits
• Tagging equipment for entry to work
• Fire watch / Hole watch
• Neutralizing / Decontaminating equipment
• Installing air movers
• Cooling down equipment
• Installing temporary lighting
• Wearing protective equipment
• Insulating for personnel protection
• Installing blinds
• Testing (Hydrostatic, X-Ray, etc.)
• Stress relieving
• Temporary dust / runoff containment barriers
• General clean-up
• Evacuation due to emergencies
All of the above, with the exception of emergency evacuations, can and should be
incorporated into the work order scope, and planned along with productive work.
In addition, all activities defined in a work order should be as explicit and informative as
possible, in particular to warn against any potential hazards.
Replacing bolts and gaskets are also safety concerns, even though normally viewed as
operations / maintenance concerns. Bolts should always be placed into buckets to
prevent accidents and facilitate cleaning.
The quality of the repair work has an impact on time and cost. Quality guidelines should
be prepared and issued to establish the minimum acceptable level desired.
Poor quality can result in accidents, rework, equipment failure, higher wear and tear, and
the attendant impact on manpower safety, equipment and operation safety, plus their
Quality can be specified in the project planning by indicating the amount of testing
• Pressure tests
• Ultrasonic/infrared inspection
• Visual inspection (before and after repairs)
• Materials/compounds curing time
• Urgency in performing the work
• Quality of spares, materials, commodities, etc.
• Experience level of the workers
Four basic concerns govern the acceptable level of quality:
• Safety (preventing equipment failures)
• Production (desired productive run life span for unit)
• Cost (lowest cost for useful life span of repairs)
• Schedule (extra time needed for welding, inspection)
In work involving extensive welding, the planner must consider sufficient time for X-rays
and testing, and the amount of probable rework.
Heat exchanger testing procedures should be reviewed to ensure that testing activities
are adequately provided in every work order, with sufficient time and manpower
estimates, and indicate the testing medium, testing pressures and time required to hold
the pressure. Often, related exchangers can be tested simultaneously, which saves time
Tools and Equipment
Tools and equipment are a function of the work as defined. As technology changes, new
tools and equipment become available to do a certain job. Therefore it is important to
identify the tools and equipment that will be used to do a certain job - they have an
impact on time, manpower and cost.
Tool and equipment availability is critical to an uninterrupted work flow. Strategic
placement of tool cribs, to minimize worker travel distance (and time) is essential. Often a
tool trailer is located conveniently close to the unit being turned around.
Equipment coordinators can satisfy the requirements for cranes using two-way radios to
communicate both with equipment operators and field supervisors.
In planning to supply an adequate quantity of tools and cranes, it must be kept in mind
that a certain amount of loss and breakdown will occur. For example, if five cherry
pickers are called for in the schedule, you might consider using six to have a back-up in
case of mechanical breakdown. Tools also break or are lost/stolen, so you should
instruct your supplier to have on hand more than what the schedule requires.
A bill of materials can and must be developed for each work order. From the engineering
files (or from past turnaround purchasing requisitions) you can obtain all of the
information needed to prepare a materials list: bolt and gasket sizes, quantity, material
specifications, tray dimensions and type, metallurgy, refractory specifications, catalyst
Most materials are a direct replacement item (bolts, gaskets, valves, etc.). Some may be
refurbished and reused (i.e. valves). Catalyst may be either replaced by new or
regenerated for reuse.
Materials must be identified, requisitioned, purchased, warehoused, tagged and issued
or deposited at or near their intended equipment ahead of time. Purchasing / delivery
lead time for some materials could affect the schedule, so it is important to purchase
these long delivery items as early as practical.
As materials are received from vendors, they should be inspected (and tested; i.e.
valves) to avoid any surprises (and delays) during the turnaround.
All work orders should list the required materials to facilitate requisitioning them from the
warehouse. This will minimize or eliminate delays and confusion when the materials are
needed in the field.
In simple terms we refer to coordination as letting the right hand know what the left hand
is doing. It involves communication so that timely decisions can be made by the various
groups involved in the turnaround.
Two basic items are required to coordinate all necessary information:
• Organizational chart, detailing responsibilities
• Departmental procedures
The planner must ensure that the information needs of all those identified on the
turnaround organization chart are satisfied in a consistent, timely manner. He also should
follow-up to ensure positive feedback on his information, where needed (i.e., progress
updates, staffing level changes, extra work, etc.).
The schedules detail the participation of different crews or groups to get some work
done, i.e., unheading a heat exchanger. This means that after most bolts have been
loosened or removed, a cherry picker must be summoned to lower it to the ground. Even
though cherry picker activity is scheduled along with all other related work, its actual
usage must be coordinated in the field as the need arises, because their schedule is
usually coordinated by a dispatcher.
Coordination with contractors is very important. Examples are: Heat exchanger bundle
cleaning priority, outside shop repairs, crane utilization, etc.
Poor coordination, or the lack of it, results in disruption of the work flow, delays, schedule
extensions, and increased costs. Not to be ignored are the political consequences:
rejecting responsibility for the problems, assigning blame, a breakdown in communication
and cooperation, etc.
Rigidly departmentalized organizations run a high risk of such breakdown in coordination.
This requires the planner to make special efforts to overcome this problem. In such
cases the planner must resort to more formal transmittals of information, requests for
information, calls to meetings, etc. Of course, having to contend with added paperwork
(transmittals, memos, etc.) poses a bureaucratic burden that can detract from a planner's
time as well as slow down communication.
The ideal situation is to create a quot;task forcequot; teamwork spirit of cooperation - resulting in
an easy, rapid, informal communication. In other words, communication and feedback;
without delays, is the essential ingredient of good coordination. Coordination should
strive to bring about cooperation, safety, quality and lowered costs while avoiding delays
and duplication of effort.
The technical information required concerns the material specifications of the equipment
and spare parts, bolts, gaskets, catalyst, refractory, etc.. This information should be
available from the engineering or inspection files, or from previous turnaround material
The technical data has an impact on work order definition and estimates, as repairs on
some vessels may be very simple and straightforward, depending on the design and
metallurgy, while others might require passivating, stress relieve, etc.. Also, repair work
time varies with the diverse metals employed in the manufacture of the equipment
(carbon steel, stainless, exotic alloys, etc.).
Making this information available to the field supervisors is just as important as the
schedule, in order to ensure that the adequate resources will be at hand to make the
repairs in full accordance with the specifications.
The work scope is usually developed by the Inspection, Maintenance and Operations
(Production) departments. A preliminary work list is developed and revised. Cost of
repairs and the time required to perform them is a factor when deciding to include or
exclude work from the scope.
The turnaround work scope usually covers two main categories:
• Inspection and repairs
• A.F.E. for engineered items (capital expense)
It may also include a third category, which consists of insurance claim work for a
While the maintenance department usually concerns itself with the former, the latter is
generally managed by the engineering department. So, in most cases, the turnaround
planner only concerns himself with maintenance inspection and repair work. But where
new equipment or piping is installed under an A.F.E. (capital work), the planner must
schedule and coordinate any tie-ins to the existing plant or unit, in harmony with the
Often, the work scope changes, and continues to develop all throughout the turnaround.
The reason for this is simply that the extent of the repair work can not be established until
the equipment has been opened, cleaned and inspected.
A cutoff date is usually established a few weeks prior to the turnaround, by which date all
known or anticipated work has to be identified and scoped. This allows for an orderly
preparation of all estimates, schedules, etc.
Sources of Information
In the course of project planning, you will need access to certain information, as follows:
• Previous turnaround work orders / scope
• Previous turnaround inspection reports
• Equipment data (drawings, specifications)
• Unit layout (equipment location drawings)
• Plot plan
• Mechanical flow sheets
• Blind lists
• Equipment lists
• Valve lists
• Instrument lists
• Turnaround work list
If available, obtain previous turnarounds' final reports and critiques, which may point to
specific problems to be avoided. If you cannot obtain such critiques, check with those
involved in the previous turnaround(s) to find out what major problems developed and
ask for their suggestions as to how to avoid them in the future.
You should establish your own planning files, organized by equipment identification tag
or number (within the unit). This will help you save time whenever you need to plan a
The planning files should contain all relevant information:
• Work Order
• Equipment drawings and specifications
• Bolting, gaskets, etc.
• Testing procedures and pressures
• Blind list
• Location drawing
• Inspection reports
In addition to these paper files, you should save in a secure place, a computer disk (CD-
ROM/DVD-ROM/etc.) containing a back-up of all your data files. Label, date and store
the media properly.
Turnaround Work List
Frequently, a turnaround work list is prepared. This list, usually a few pages long,
identifies all the known or desired inspections and work to be included in the turnaround
scope. It usually lists all of the process equipment, with a brief statement describing the
extent of the inspections and repair work. For instance, it may list:
quot;E-102 HGO Exchanger - BLIND, OPEN, PULL BUNDLE, CLEAN & REPAIRquot;
This brief scope will be detailed later in a work order, complete with durations and
manpower for every step or task involved, from scaffolding, blinding and tagging through
testing, pulling blinds, removing scaffolding and final clean-up of the area.
The turnaround work list is the natural starting point for the planning effort. We can use
the preliminary work list, and we should never wait until the final list is approved;
otherwise we will not have sufficient time to plan the turnaround. It is better to modify
early estimates and schedules than to wait and try to plan it in a hurry in a few days
before the shutdown.
Even though you may be able to estimate, plan and schedule a major turnaround in a
week's time, you would never have sufficient time left to have the work orders and the
schedules reviewed by the turnaround staff and to incorporate their changes and
suggestions. Keep in mind that all work orders and schedules that you prepare are
THEIR work orders and schedules, not yours. If the turnaround team does not become
involved in at least reviewing (and approving) the product of your efforts, it will be ignored
When there is little time left and no turnaround work list has been prepared yet - should
you wait for it? This is risky, because you could run out of time and end up unprepared -
rendering the turnaround unmanageable. The solution is to either plan using the previous
turnaround work list, or the complete list of ancillary process equipment. We prefer to
develop work order estimates for all of the equipment in a plant unit. Then, when the
turnaround work list is released, you can include all of the work orders you already
developed, and concentrate on planning the remaining necessary piping, valves,
electrical, instruments and miscellaneous work. This will save you valuable time when
you are close to the shutdown date.
Turnaround Work Order
A detailed turnaround Work Order is the basic building block of a good turnaround plan.
ATC Professional project management software organizes turnaround projects by work
order. Planners using other project management software would find sub-projects to be
the closest analogy to what we will refer to as a Work Order. A turnaround Work Order
should contain the following information:
• Owner name, plant / unit name, location
• Turnaround date (month/year)
• Work Order number (a unique alphanumeric identifier, preferable no more than eight
characters in length)
• Equipment tag (equipment identification or inventory number)
• Equipment name (from the equipment list or P&IDs)
• A unit/area/system code to specify where this equipment is
• An equipment class code to group it with other related equipment
• Activities (tasks for every step required from start to completion of the work order)
Every activity should contain the following information:
• Activity description (i.e., quot;INSTALL BLINDSquot;)
• Resources (Manpower and major equipment. Do not exceed three different labor
crafts for any given activity. If more than three different labor crafts are required, the
activity may be poorly defined and should be split up).
• Number of craftsmen (usually an even number as crews are assigned to the work.
Usually a craftsman and a helper are involved in most work).
• Tools required to perform the work
• Photographs, digitized drawings, isometrics, etc.
You should prepare a Work Order for every piece of equipment, piping item, valve, etc.
Never group several pieces of equipment into one work order, even if the equipment is
identical. Otherwise you will not be able to schedule, report, etc. each item individually,
making your task more complicated instead of easier, and scheduling and progress
reporting more difficult and unreliable.
For instance, if you have a group of six identical heat exchangers, E-100 A, E-100 B, E-
100 C, E-100 D, E-100 E and E-100 F, each one should be on a separate work order.
Work Order Organization
Work orders must be organized in such a way as to make them easy to find and use as
required. Otherwise, handling hundreds of work orders during a turnaround could
become a nightmare.
Every work order must have a unique identifying label assigned to it. This could be a
number, or some alpha-numeric code. Try to keep this label as short and meaningful as
possible. It is very difficult to remember a long code made up of numbers and letters.
In addition, every work order should also include an equipment tag (unique identifier) to
associate it with the process equipment, piping iso, valve or instrument involved. For
instance: quot;E-100 Aquot;, quot;CW-18-2011quot;, quot;PSV-101quot;, etc.
Work orders should also have an quot;Equipment Class or Categoryquot; so they can be
sorted/grouped logically. The plant equipment list can be used for this purpose:
• Heaters & Boilers
• Heat Exchangers
• Cooling Towers
• Rotating Equipment
In addition, work orders should also contain an Area or System code, to help in
scheduling and reporting.
Work orders should also display the responsible supervisor assigned to the work.
Keep the number of codes to a reasonable size. Over two dozen codes will waste time
and paper without adding any benefit when printing reports. Remember that codes are
supposed to be used to organize and summarize.
Keep It Simple!
Keep in mind that as you simplify work order numbering, coding and classifying, you will
make it easier for everyone to find what they need, improving communication and
acceptance of the planning package. One way to approach work order organization is to
examine everything we do with a critical eye: Is the numbering and coding scheme going
to simplify and speed up the handling of work orders? If the numbering scheme is
complicated, it will slow down the handling of the information.
Anyone can complicate even the simplest thing, but it takes talent to make something
complex simple to use. Remember the quot;KISSquot; principle!
Before you start planning work orders, you should make a list of all resources expected
to be involved in the turnaround. There are two kinds of resources: Manpower (labor) and
Use a code or abbreviation for every resource, not to exceed four letters. For example:
Manpower Codes Equipment Codes
• BM - Boilermakers • AM - Air Mover
• CA - Carpenters • BC - Bundle Carrier
• CO - Crane Operators • BE - Bundle Extractor
• EL - Electricians • CC - Crawler Crane (Heavy Crane)
• EO - Equipment Operators • CP - Cherry Picker
• HY - Hydroblasters • CR - Crane
• IF - Instrument Technicians • FB - Flatbed Truck
• IN - Insulators • FL - Forklift
• IP - Inspectors • HYEQ - Hydroblast Equipment
• LA - Laborers • PU - Pick-up Truck
• ME - Mechanics • SREQ - Stress-relieve Equipment
• MW - Millwrights • TT - Tractor-Trailer
• OP - Operations / Production • VT - Vacuum Truck
• PF - Pipe fitters
• PFF - Pipe Fabricators
• REF - Refractory Applicators
• SR - Stress Relieve Technicians
• SW - Safety Watch
• TD - Truck Drivers
• WE - Welders
• XR - X-ray Technicians
The above lists are not all-inclusive; you will develop additional categories and codes as
Work Order Tasks
Work order scopes are defined in activities or tasks, which are the individual steps that
are required from start to completion, regardless of who is responsible for their execution,
whether they are productive or not. That non-productive activities must also be included
where required should not be overlooked.
Non-productive activities can impact the schedule without contributing to the manhour
estimate. For example:
• Cool down / gas free
• Refractory curing time
• Concrete curing time
Non-productive activities can also contribute to the manhour estimate without any
significant impact on the schedule. For example:
• Mobilize crane
• Demobilize crane
• Set up catalyst handling equipment
• Transport bundle to cleaning area
• Set up dust/runoff containment barriers
• Haul debris to scrap yard
• Clean up area
Activities must be clearly defined, and should be measurable. This means anyone should
be able to determine if a particular activity (as defined) is in progress, or completed.
Activities must be defined every time there is a break or change in work content, and/or
by changes in the work crew. Activities that are overly broad in scope are difficult to
estimate, schedule and measure/report progress against.
If you have a good degree of detail, your activities become easy to estimate, schedule
and control. Your entire planning effort will be credible and usable. ATC Professional
project management software was designed to handle large, detailed schedules quickly
and easily. Estimating, scheduling and tracking a turnaround project with little detail is
more difficult than with a great amount of detail. Summary level schedules are useless
for managing turnarounds.
Also, watch the resources needed for any given activity. If you require five or more crafts
to execute an activity then it is in all likelihood ill-defined. In that case, break it up into
better-defined tasks. This will save you many headaches when it comes to scheduling
and manpower staffing.
Types of Activities
There are four general categories or types of activities:
• Safety (Permits, Testing, Gas Freeing, Neutralizing, Fire and Hole Watch, etc.)
• Inspection (Preliminary and after repairs are made)
• Repairs (on-site and off-site, or outside shops)
• Support (Scaffolding, Lighting, Hauling, Painting, Clean-up, etc.)
All can have an impact on budget and schedule, so be sure not to overlook any of them!
Project planning is based on an analytical process, a process that investigates, verifies
and organizes relevant information about the work scope. The process can be illustrated
Let's assume we have to develop a work order to replace a valve. The steps involved
require the planner to ask all relevant questions:
• What valve is to be replaced? (tag or I.D. #)
• Where is the valve located? (at grade, at elevation requiring scaffolding?)
• Is the valve safe? (is blinding and/or decontamination required?)
• Is the valve insulated?
• How is the valve to be replaced? (it is screwed or welded?)
• Who will replace it (owner or contractor?)
The answers to what, where, how and who will give us the necessary information to
prepare an adequate estimate.
Knowing the type of valve to be replaced is important, since there are many types: block,
control, safety, slide, motor operated, etc.
How the valve is to be replaced also plays an important role. If it is large, a crane my be
needed. If it is welded, then the line may have to be purged and/or blinded, unless it is a
utility line (air, steam, water). Testing procedures may call for x-ray, hydrostatic or both.
The new valve may have to be shop tested before transporting it to the site and installing
it. The line may have to be touched up with paint or re-insulated. If there is steam tracing
it may have to be repaired or reconnected before re-insulating.
Where the valve is located will dictate whether to erect a scaffold, use a ladder, a crane
with man basket or a hydraulic personnel hoisting platform; whether the area needs to be
decontaminated or the workers are to wear protective equipment.
Who will replace it may have an impact on your labor costs.
Keep every valve work scope on a separate work order. There is no such thing as
unimportant work. A single valve that is missing can prevent the unit from starting up.
Heat exchangers require more definition. These are some of the considerations:
• What kind of heat exchanger? (u-tube, floating head, reboiler, fin tube, air cooler?)
• What service is the heat exchanger in? (heavy crude, light product, etc.)
• Where is the exchanger located? (at ground level, in a structure, etc.)
• Is this a vertical or horizontal exchanger?
• Is the exchanger insulated?
• Must remove any piping in order to unhead?
• Is scaffolding required?
• Is the exchanger to be acidized?
• Is the exchanger to be neutralized?
• Blinding required? (If in a bank, perhaps the first and last ones are blinded only)
• How many tubes are there in the bundle?
• Clean the bundle in place?
• Pull bundle and clean at site?
• Remove bundle to slab for cleaning?
• Tube bundle to be scrapped and new one inserted?
• Tube bundle to be cleaned and returned to site?
• Tube bundle to be retubed? (If yes, retubing and testing at shop?)
• Shell to be cleaned and repaired?
• Heads to be cleaned and repaired?
• Baffle plate to be repaired?
• Sacrificial anodes to be replaced?
• Entire exchanger to be replaced with a new one?
• Gasket surfaces to be machined?
You may find additional questions as you start developing the scopes for the heat
exchangers. If you cannot answer these questions then seek out someone familiar and
experienced to get his input. He will be glad that you respect his experience and will be
more receptive towards accepting your estimates and schedules.
Remember to include steps to transport equipment, materials and scrap on and off the
site. This also requires manpower and equipment (and time). Any electrical equipment
must always be locked out and tagged out. There is no need to include an activity to
remove the tags and locks, because this is done during start-up.
Also remember that, generally, when something goes up, it also has to come down
(scaffolding); if something is installed, it has to be removed (blinds, air movers, temporary
lighting, runoff and dust containment barriers, etc.). Also remember that you should
schedule a hole watch for every crew or individual(s) entering a vessel, for the entire time
these are inside the vessel. Also, hot work (welding) in the unit must have a quot;holequot; watch
(or fire watch if you prefer, but they are usually the same person). Every repair should be
followed by an inspection. Sometimes more than one group must inspect. Sometimes the
Government inspector and/or the Insurance inspector need to witness the repairs and/or
A good way to prepare a work order is to review the safety and maintenance/repair
procedures. These will usually dictate how the work orders should be prepared. You
must also review inspection and testing procedures, as these are equally as important. If
no written procedures exist, then you will have to turn to the respective departments and
interview those in charge of determining how all of the activities are to be carried out. DO
NOT ASSUME TO KNOW - consult those in charge - that way you will avoid surprises.
Keep in mind that procedures can change as well.
Remember that there are two kinds of procedures: general and specific. Some work
orders are affected by general procedures, others by procedures specific to a piece of
equipment. For instance, general procedures call for installing unit battery limit blinds, but
a specific piece of equipment may require to be fully blinded before opening and entering
(due to hazardous conditions), and at the same time another piece of equipment may not
require any blinds (for instance, steam drums, utilities, etc.).
When contractors prepare to make major repairs, they should furnish a highly detailed
plan showing all the steps involved in the execution of the work. A work order should be
developed from the contractor's plan, and included in the overall turnaround scope.
eTaskMaker® project planning software lets you create work scopes rapidly and
consistently. Consistent activity descriptions facilitate the correct interpretation and give
your work orders a more professional look.
Sometimes an activity becomes redefined (duplicated) inadvertently. For instance, one
work order calls for scaffold erection to install blinds. Another work order may require a
scaffold at the same place for some piping work. Or, on a bank of identical heat
exchangers, every one of the individual work orders repeats the steps for scaffolding,
blinding and testing, instead of scaffolding, blinding the inlet and outlet of the entire bank
of exchangers at one time, and testing all together at the same time.
This duplication not only results in inflated estimates and manpower requirements, but in
a very confusing schedule which will cause a loss of credibility and confidence in the
Be sure to cross-reference work orders to indicate activities common to both. This will
also facilitate scheduling, by indicating where a logic tie or relationship is to be defined
between work orders. For instance: quot;BLINDING ON W.O. # 17045quot; with no durations or
crafts, will direct the attention to work order 17045 which does have the time and
manpower to install the blinds. Or: quot;ERECT SCAFFOLD - SEE W.O. # 45315quot;, etc.
Estimating Activity Durations and Resources
There are three ways you can estimate activity durations and the required resources.
1. You can consult with those in your organization that have estimating experience.
Never be ashamed about revealing a lack of knowledge in an area. It is far worse to
make a blunder and be found out. And by asking those who know, you will not only
pay them a compliment, but also make their experience and knowledge yours at the
2. You can use the project file of previous turnaround as a project template, if available.
Unfortunately, such historical records are usually not available, or are incomplete, or
are unreliable for a number of reasons. When using a project template you must be
careful not to blindly copy previous mistakes (see Refining the Project Planning
Process for more on this topic).
3. Or you can use project planning software, which has proven estimating formulas
built-in (recommended over the use of a project template).
Most estimating know-how is empirical, which means it has been gained through first-
hand experience. As you start estimating, you will gain experience and confidence in
your ability. You will also become aware of whether the estimates are consistently on
target, or whether you need to adjust them. This will allow you to gradually improve them
to arrive at the most realistic estimates that will generate confidence and acceptance of
your planning effort.
The correct way to estimate an activity is to define the steps involved, assign the
necessary manpower and equipment, and then add a duration (in whole hours) sufficient
for its execution.
For example: quot;UNHEAD EXCHANGERquot; will require two Boilermakers, one Equipment
Operator, one Cherry Picker and an Impact Tool. Let's analyze the component steps in
order to estimate the duration for the activity:
Detailed Procedure Duration Estimate
Loosening and removing bolts 45 minutes
Positioning the Cherry Picker 15 minutes
Rigging head for removal 5 minutes
Removing remaining bolts 15 minutes
Lowering head to the ground 10 minutes
De-rig & remove Cherry Picker 10 minutes
Total 100 minutes
We prefer to round upwards and convert into hours (for a total of 2 hours). Loosening
and removing bolts could take less or much longer, depending on the condition of the
bolts. Also, an extra hand (laborer) could be assigned to gather studs and nuts and place
them in buckets for cleaning and to maintain workplace safety (to prevent workers from
tripping over scattered bolts and sustaining injury). The crew can experience delays of all
sorts: emergency evacuation of the area, tool and equipment failure, accidents, etc. This
is the reason for rounding off all estimates on the high side - it tends to compensate for
those unplanned events that can extend (delay) a job.
Another way to approach this - also rounding off durations to the high side - is to try to
assign (add) at least 15% (fifteen percent) to every duration with manpower to cover
personal, fatigue and delay factors. Personal factors cover items such as lunch, smoking
and bathroom breaks. Fatigue factors cover the productivity loss experienced as workers
become tired as the day progresses. Delay factors are all unplanned events such as
equipment and tool failure/unavailability, accidents, etc.
But at no time should you include productivity adjustments in the estimates above and
beyond the rounding up procedure outlined above. You should always estimate durations
as realistically as possible: any adjustment for productivity loss should only be made
against the total turnaround scope estimate. At that time you will be able to establish a
realistic manhour budget.
The frequent temptation to quot;padquot; the estimates is to ensure that there is sufficient quot;fatquot; in
them to avoid overrunning the budget. It is better to be realistic, and include extra
activities, wherever appropriate, to avoid overrunning the budget. These activities
• Worker sign up (hiring)
• Worker safety orientation
• Welder qualification testing
• Deliver blinds and tools to job site
• Repair / replace as necessary
• Clean up work area
• Return tools and blinds
• Haul off ___ to scrap yard
If the estimates are padded, and then someone adds a hefty contingency on top, you end
up with so much waste that it will become obvious to the trained eye. This built-in
inefficiency will result into a net cost overrun. The reason for this is the tendency to
spend the available budget, or not to become alarmed unless it appears that the
(padded) budget will be exceeded. So, if the resulting budget (padded with quot;fatquot; and
contingency on top) is approved, in most cases hiring and manpower staffing will be
higher than necessary. So, if you quot;padquot; your estimates, you are assuring a certain
amount of waste beyond what could be expected and/or tolerable. It's easy to see why:
having more workers than necessary results in having them standing around waiting on
In addition, you cannot saturate the area and expect good productivity. Scheduling more
people than the number that can move about safely and efficiently only causes grid lock
and slows everybody down. When that happens, morale is lowered, causing further
deterioration of productivity. Also, rescheduling to alleviate such a grid lock results in
extra movements (mobilization / demobilization) of personnel for the work involved.
One way to ensure sufficient elbow room for a smooth execution of the work is not to
allow manpower density to exceed one worker per 150 square feet. This area is to be
calculated adding up all surfaces (grade and platforms). This does not apply to work
inside equipment, where the density is higher.
Estimating Repair Work
Repair work is usually the most difficult task to define and estimate. Repair work is
usually identified after inspections of the equipment. Some repairs are known
beforehand, from previous shutdowns or from inspections while the plant is operating
(infrared, ultrasonic, etc.).
Often we can estimate the extent of the repairs based on the history (previous inspection
reports, repairs) and the type of service for a particular piece of equipment. After the
equipment is inspected and repairs are recommended and approved, then we can revise
the original estimates as necessary.
Of all of the possible repairs, the most difficult to estimate is refractory work. Even after
refractory repairs are underway, the extent or scope of these repairs usually change. It is
best to have several activities defining refractory work, each dealing with a specific area
or part of the equipment. For example:
• Repair refractory at plenum
• Repair cyclone refractory
• Repair north wall refractory
• Repair bottom head refractory
Of course, quot;repair refractoryquot; is not a very good definition of the work. Refractory repairs
should always be detailed showing all necessary steps:
• Erecting scaffolding
• Chipping out the old refractory
• Removing the old hex steel or bad order anchors
• Sandblasting or grinding the walls
• Cleaning out the debris
• Installing new hex steel or anchors
• Installing the new refractory
• Removing scaffolds
• Refractory curing time
• Clean up
Even if you decide not to include any repair estimates in your work order, you should at
least have an activity labeled 'MISCELLANEOUS REPAIRSquot; with no manpower. This
way you can later add duration and manpower, and it will help in reminding you to be
alert for the inspection reports, so that the repairs won't be overlooked.
Of course, some prefer to include a time duration to provide a convenient time span in
case repairs are needed. This also works well. The method you choose will depend upon
the prevailing philosophy within your organization.
It is important to keep all estimates (particularly repair work estimates) current. The
reason is that the estimates will establish the required manpower staffing and the
remaining schedule time span to get the work accomplished. Otherwise both budget and
schedule will be overrun.
Planning Extra Work
Most extra work is originated from inspection reports during a turnaround. Sometimes the
extra work originates from other sources (Operations / Production, Engineering, Process,
The scope of the extra work should be developed, with all necessary steps, including
inspection and testing if required. You can then add this work order to the schedule, and
report progress against it. Even if the work has been done by the time you learn about it,
go ahead and develop the scope and include it into the schedule. Then you can post
progress against it, and your reports will reflect the increased manhours for the
turnaround and the impact on overall progress and earned value analysis.
Be sure to code the extra work as such, to sort out the costs after the turnaround is over.
The extra work order should also contain a reference to the main work order that covers
the equipment being repaired. This will help in scheduling, and later for historical
After all manhour estimates have been reviewed, revised and approved, total manhours
by labor resources (crafts / skills) should be calculated. These total manhours become
the base estimate. You can calculate an adjustment for the base estimate for an
expected productivity loss according to your expected parameters.
ATC Professional project management software generates an Executive Summary report
that automatically calculates an adjustment for productivity loss depending upon the
working calendar (shift basis, days per week and expected duration) of the planned
turnaround. If you change the above parameters, ATC Professional will instantly compute
the productivity degradation based on the new conditions and adjust the manhour
Shift length has a great impact on productivity:
• Eight-hour shifts fail to motivate workers as there is no overtime incentive. Plus, a
standard shift fails to convey a sense of urgency to keep a high pace of activity.
Whenever eight hour shifts are kept, it becomes imperative to watch the schedule
very closely to keep the work on track.
• Ten-hour shifts seem to be the most productive as there is overtime pay incentive
and a sense of urgency. A convenient two-hour gap between the day and the night
shift allows difficult or hazardous work to be performed (X-ray, sandblasting, etc.), as
well as time for all supervisors to attend a turn-over meeting.
• Twelve-hour shifts appear to be the most inefficient. An extra lunch period at a time
when the workers are most fatigued, coupled with end-of-shift preparations, result in
very little, if any, extra gain at a much higher price. Two twelve hour shifts per day do
not allow the time for meetings or special work such as X-ray or sandblasting (which
usually causes all work to stop in its vicinity - increasing productivity loss), plus other
logistical problems such as clocking in/out and parking lot congestion. When
supervisors attend meetings while working in this fashion, work slows down for lack
of supervision in the field - more productivity loss. Also, twelve-hour shifts causes
workers to grow more tired and increases the likelihood of accidents.
The work week also has an impact on productivity:
• Five days per week fail to offer overtime pay incentive, and workers may be
tempted to quot;drag their feetquot; hoping to cause delays which will, in turn, motivate
management to authorize overtime work in order to recoup lost time.
• Six days per week provide both overtime pay incentive plus one day of rest per
week. This is significant for turnarounds lasting several weeks, and provides make-
up days (Sundays) to avoid delays.
• Seven days per week provide sufficient overtime pay incentive, but after some time
you may suffer a decline in productivity caused by the lack of rest days. This works
well for shorter duration turnarounds, but offers no quot;safety cushionquot; in case of
Sometimes you may elect to solicit fixed price bids for some or all of the work. If this is
the case, you should still go ahead and prepare all of the work order estimates. Then
prepare bid packages including copies of your work order task definitions (minus the
manhour estimates). ATC Professional project management software offers a quot;Bid
Packagequot; report for this. This package will show the work scope, indicating which
portions are to be bid on, but does not show durations, manpower or manhours for any
Issue a set of these Bid Package forms to all bidders. This will ensure a uniform
approach to the contractor selection process, and allow you to compare prices in a
rational manner. After a contractor has been selected, and before awarding the contract,
you should make the complete work order information available to the successful bidder,
so that he can review them to agree or revise the time (and manpower) estimates. This is
important for two reasons:
• The durations will determine the schedule (which the contractor must accept and
adhere to), and:
• To prevent any major surprises / misunderstandings with respect to the extent of the
work scope (repairs) and the manpower staffing requirements.
After the successful bidder has reviewed and agreed (or revised) the work order
estimates, you can award the contract. Be sure, however, to stipulate in your contract all
terms and conditions for adhering to the schedule and reporting progress.
Time and Material (quot;Cost-Plusquot;) type contracts should require all contractors to furnish
detailed time sheets coded with the correct work order number and kind of work
performed, name of worker, skill code, etc. A copy of this daily time sheet should be
furnished to the turnaround planner so that he can prepare a productivity evaluation
(earned value analysis) and manhour projection to determine if there will be a variance
with the original manhour budget.
Critical Path Scheduling
After all work orders have been prepared and reviewed (approved), you will be ready to
prepare a schedule. If more work orders are issued after you create the schedule, you
can and should incorporate them into the schedule. This is a constant process, as you
will get additional work orders for repairs arising from inspections. They must also be
Remember the importance of maintaining the schedule constantly, as the number of
changes to the work scope, progress or the lack of progress could otherwise render the
schedule obsolete. The schedule must be updated at the end of every shift. This is
usually twice a day. Failure to update the schedule with this frequency will impair the
ability to make critical decisions, such as adding, maintaining or reducing manpower,
reassigning crews, call on specialty contractors, etc.
Critical Path Scheduling
Critical path scheduling is the act of applying a logical sequence (by defining constraints)
to the activities defined in the work orders. Most project management software employs a
PDM (Precedence Diagramming Method) interface for defining the logic network. The
sequence of activities which have no float or slack (Float = 0 hours) is called the critical
path. It determines the remaining duration of the turnaround.
The first step to turnaround scheduling is to define all 'hard' constraints. These are
constraints that must be honored. For example, you cannot inspect the interior of a
vessel until the manways have been opened. eTaskMaker® project planning software
automatically generates hard constraint logic for you. ATC Professional project
management software automatically generates 80-90% of this logic for you as well when
creating the initial schedule.
It is not necessary (although it is not detrimental) to add redundant constraints such as:
• A --> B
• B --> C
• A --> C (this is redundant and unnecessary)
Activities can have multiple predecessors and/or successors. Activities can be started as
soon as all of their predecessors are completed. For instance, quot;COOL DOWN / GAS
FREEquot; can have as successors quot;INSTALL TEMPORARY LIGHTINGquot; and quot;INSTALL
ENTRY LADDERquot;. Also, quot;CLOSE MANWAYSquot; can have as predecessors quot;REMOVE
ENTRY LADDERquot;, quot;REMOVE TEMPORARY LIGHTINGquot; and quot;REMOVE AIR MOVERSquot;.
• Predecessors - the activities that must be completed before the next one can start
• Successors - all activities that follow a specific task.
Activities can start as early as desired, or can be delayed until they run out of float or
slack, thus becoming critical. At that point they are identified as the critical path. Any
delay of the critical path activities will cause an equal delay for the entire schedule.
Most activities will have float or slack, which is the amount of time they can be delayed
until they become critical (Float = 0 hours) and impact the unit's start-up date.
Realistically, activities that have very little float or slack should be treated as critical
simply because there may be a degree of error in the estimates. A sequence of activities
with float = 5 hours could easily be critical if their combined durations were
underestimated by five hours (or the critical path was similarly overestimated).
Be sure to schedule all equipment inspections early. This is very important, because
some findings could require major repair work that might impact the schedule. All high
manhour work orders should be started as soon as possible.
Some equipment will merit a lowered priority, if the past experience indicates little or no
repair work will be required. Consult the inspection reports to identify the extent of the
repairs during past turnarounds.
Low priority work is usually classified as quot;fill-inquot; work. It usually includes all kind of small
jobs - mainly piping and valve work. You can spread out this work over the duration of
the turnaround, to help smooth out the manpower requirements. The scope of these
small jobs seldom grows into a larger one, and has no probability of showing up as the
They may, however, in the aggregation of several jobs, result in a critical mass of work
(that can not be finished with available resources within the current critical path
timeframe) and therefore eventually cause a delay in the schedule (overtaking the critical
path). Critical mass develops when the rate of progress is insufficient to complete the
work before the critical path end date. It is usually due to insufficient manpower. This is
the reason for keeping a close watch on the actual number of workers, every shift, and
comparing it with the schedule requirements.
Sequencing the Work
After the basic schedule has been created, and the work prioritized (sequenced)
according to an Operations / Production equipment availability schedule and the other
considerations discussed earlier, you should sequence the work in such a manner as to
enhance the utilization of manpower, tools and equipment.
In sequencing the work, we have to consider the type of job, the resources or skills
involved and the physical layout of the unit or plant.
The first step is to determine the number of crews. We do this by reviewing a resource
histogram (utilization) report for all resources and record the peak leveled number of
craftsmen. So, we divide by two to arrive at the peak leveled number of crews, and add
ten or twenty percent. This is a good rule of thumb for preliminary manpower planning.
The reason you need to hire more men than scheduled is to compensate for
absenteeism, dismissals, and additional work arising from inspection.
You may have several crews of any particular resource; even if you only have one
generalized resource/skill designation such as quot;multicraftquot;.
Start by sequencing the quot;hardquot; crafts that perform most of the mechanical work. These
are usually Boilermakers, Pipefitters, Welders and Mechanics. If you sequence these
crafts properly, all support crafts will follow accordingly and may not need to be
Activities that are critical or near critical (having little float) should not be delayed, as the
manpower required to accomplish them must be supplied as dictated by the schedule.
We can sequence the work that has float or slack by tying or restraining activities
together, in such a fashion as to cause a crew to go from one job to the next as soon as
the first one is completed.
The best way to this is with the help of a plot plan or equipment layout drawing of the unit
/ area. When sequencing the work, try to keep the movement or travel between jobs to a
minimum. Causing workers to continually move from one end of the unit to the other is
inefficient and can result in a significant waste of manpower.
Every time you tie or restrain activities to sequence manpower, check to see if that action
resulted in making the activities critical (or near critical). Near critical activities have very
little float or slack. If the activities have become critical, then it is best to undo the tie or
restraint, otherwise you may be scheduling too tightly - increasing the probability for an
This is a trial-and-error method, but it is not too difficult to achieve, and the result will be a
workable schedule with a realistic manpower utilization.
Efficient Manpower Utilization
Effective manpower use is achieved by eliminating:
• Wait time
• Movement (travel time)
The best way to achieve high efficiency is to sequence the work as described above, and
then issue Shift Schedules that list fifteen (15%) percent or more work than can be
accomplished. This keeps the schedule sufficiently flexible to accommodate the changing
conditions that cause some work to not be available as scheduled (lack of permits, lack
of equipment, etc.). Field supervisors will then always have sufficient work scheduled to
keep everyone busy at all times.
Shutdown Schedule (Operations)
Operations / Production shutdown and start-up schedules, usually in bar chart (bar
graph) format, detail the procedures for shutting down and starting back up a unit or
Shut-down work is carried out by the unit/plant operators. Generally, no maintenance
work is allowed to commence (with the exception of scaffolding and blinding) until all
product has been cleared from the process equipment and piping, and the unit is no
longer running and has been made safe for entering.
The shut-down schedule can determine the priority or availability of equipment, the
amount of pre-turnaround scaffolding and blinding, and any other preparatory work such
as staging of equipment, tools and materials.
The start-up schedule is also prepared by the operations / production group, and follows
their procedures for bringing the unit / plant back on stream.
The start-up schedule usually involves - in addition to the operations personnel - Pipe
fitters, insulators, scaffold builders, electricians and instrument technicians. These crafts
stand by to assist and fix last minute leaks, insulation repairs, scaffolding removal, clean
up, etc. Many of these activities are included in the turnaround budget, and are listed in
the work order scopes and schedules.
Pre-Turnaround Scheduling (Maintenance)
Scheduling pre-turnaround work must take into account the restrictions imposed for
conducting activities in a unit or plant that is running or in the process of being shut
Sometimes the extent or scope of the pre-turnaround work exceeds the time allowed and
causes a portion of this work to spill over into the turnaround. This means that pre-
turnaround work must also be monitored, as it can impact the turnaround schedule and
Pre-turnaround activities usually fall into these categories:
• Erection of scaffolding
• Staging of equipment, materials
• Tagging of valves to be replaced, leaks
• Removal of insulation
• Demolition / removal of idled equipment
• Testing of valves at the shop
• Fabrication of piping spools, sandblasting, painting, testing
• Mobilization of equipment
• Mobilization of contractors (hiring, drug testing, safety orientation)
• Mobilizing and rigging cranes
• Installation of battery limit blinds
Check your work scope to ensure that all work that can be done ahead of the turnaround
is properly identified and flagged as pre-turnaround. Ensure that all the pre-turnaround
work is scheduled within the specified pre-turnaround time span. If some activities extend
into the turnaround, you should check if the logic is correct or allows improvement to
bring it back into the pre-turnaround time span. If the extending activities cannot be
pulled back, then you should try to add more pre-turnarounds days (to start the pre-work
earlier) until the work fits within the pre-turnaround period.
All of the scaffolding needed to install unit / plant battery limit blinds should be erected
pre-turnaround. If the operation of the unit / plant allows it, all other major equipment
blind scaffolding should also be erected, so as not to slow down the blinding of the
Demolition of idled equipment may be allowed in some cases during the pre-turnaround
period, depending on safety considerations and possible interference with other work in
the unit such as scaffolding, blinding, etc.
Insulation removal may also be dependent upon blinding. Asbestos removal requires
special handling, so be sure to review the procedures to allow sufficient time for this task.
Staging and rigging can occur mostly at any time, since these activities seldom interfere
with other work.
Rigging a large crane usually involves placing mats, positioning the crane, assembling
and rigging the boom and testing. In a congested area, this may take a little longer to
accomplish due to safety considerations.
Staging is an important logistical function. How and where temporary buildings, power,
air, tool cribs, field parts and materials warehouses, fabricated pipe spools, new
(replacement) equipment, cranes, conveyors, drums, temporary structures, dust and
runoff containment barriers will be located will have an impact upon the efficiency of the
Shop fabrication of piping spools is usually scheduled according to pipe type, size or
schedule, to minimize material handling. It is best to let the shop schedule the fabrication,
unless there is some high priority work identified on the critical path turnaround schedule.
The ideal situation is to have all shop fabricated pipe completed, primed and painted (if
required), tested and delivered to a shake-out area near the unit or where it is to be
installed before the turnaround starts.
All testing of replacement parts should also be completed before the turnaround starts. In
particular long delivery items should be tested or verified early to allow sufficient time for
replacement or repair, should they prove faulty. Most testing involves valves.
Refining the Schedule
After creating the schedule, you should plot it out for review. Gantt chart (bar chart) plots
of the complete schedule allow you to see the big picture and analyze the schedule for
Critical Path Refinements
One of the first things you may want to do is to verify that the critical path ends at or near
the desired turnaround completion date (expected or dictated by management). Is the
overall duration reasonable, defensible? Or is it different from the expected/mandated? If
so, why? Review the entire sequence of activities to ensure sound logic. Review the time
estimates, in particular the large ones. If you need to trim back time, have every
supervisor involved review, revise or agree with every change needed to improve the
schedule. Never make any duration changes on your own without the field supervisor's
approval, this could cause big problems if the schedule is rejected or ignored and the
blame for an extension falls upon you for not getting their input!
Include in your review and analysis all near-critical work as well. Some of it could
become critical at any time. Just like the critical path review, request input from the
For these initial scheduling reviews, it is advisable to only plot a bar chart limiting the float
(slack) to a shift or two (8-24 hours). After the critical path has been reviewed, revised,
and agreed upon, then you will be ready to check the rest of the schedule.
Filter the schedule to display all heavy lifts, so that they stand out. Are all lifts properly
sequenced or are many scheduled to take place during the same shift? If too many lifts
are scheduled for a shift, you could delay less important work (which has a larger
float/slack value), so that the crane may used more efficiently, and the total time span for
crane rental can be better managed.
When scheduling several lifts in different locations or at different heights, you need to
determine if it is necessary to re-rig the boom, or move the crane, as this requires time
and reduces the effective utilization of the crane. If a few heavy lifts are scheduled early
and there is a gap or waiting period until more lifts are scheduled, then you might want to
delay the initial lifts (float/slack permitting) to eliminate paying for idle crane rental time.
Some considerations to evaluate for specific equipment types include:
• Towers - Tower work should be scheduled to start immediately after the unit/plant is
shut down. Check to see how many crews can be working inside, and if the timing
looks workable. Segregate the activities at every level where crews are working, to
group the work logically. In other words, organize your tower work in sections
according to how the work should flow.
• Heat Exchangers - Use a plot plan or unit equipment layout to verify that the bundle
pulling sequence is not causing interference with other work in the immediate
vicinity, or vice-versa. The schedule should not allow a bottleneck of cherry picker
activity to happen.
• Air Coolers - Check that air cooler work is scheduled after all major work
underneath is done, to avoid having water washing interrupt more important work. If
you have a gap between shifts, you can schedule this work at that time to prevent
this problem from happening.
• Pumps - Pump work should ideally be started after heat exchangers have been
unheaded and bundles pulled, if they are in their immediate vicinity. Pumps are
frequently located in a bay under pipe racks. This work is seldom critical or high
• Control and Safety Valves - Control valves and safety valves should be scheduled
for early removal. Reinstallation is usually not critical, but they need to be sent to the
shop early in case there are some requiring major repairs.
• Piping - Generally, piping and valve work can be scheduled at any time after all
blinding is complete. Piping work involved with tie-ins has priority. There may some
piping work that involves equipment; in this case you must coordinate to make sure
you have good timing to correspond with the equipment work, testing, inspection,
insulation, etc. Tie-ins are usually scheduled during a short time period when all
utilities (steam, water, air) are down. Any utility outages should be scheduled after all
preparatory work is complete and ready, to avoid delays.
• Electrical - Electrical work can be scheduled at any time except where certain
equipment is de-energized for a short time within the turnaround span. This
schedule is dictated by the electrical department.
• Instrumentation - Instrument work can likewise be generally scheduled at any time,
with the exception of instrument control panel replacement/rework. Be sure to
include operator training in you activities if the control panel is changed.
Day/Night Work Activities
Some activities, such as heavy crane lifts, must be scheduled for the day shift only. This
is due to safety considerations, as good visibility (illumination) is required. Ask
supervisors to identify all day-only work.
The same applies for night-only activities, such as air cooler washing, x-rays,
hydroblasting or grit blasting, etc.
Revise / Update the Schedule
Mark any schedule changes on the plotted bar chart schedule, showing all logic
modifications, additions or deletions, day/night shift changes, etc. Then make the
changes in your project management software and reprint the bar charts. It could take
two, three or more reviews and editing sessions to produce the final, workable
Preliminary Schedule Studies
Often it becomes necessary to prepare a schedule in order to determine the total
duration of the turnaround, even if not all work orders scopes have been defined. The
main objective is to determine the critical path, and near-critical activities.
This can be done as long as the most important work orders have been scoped out,
which consist of the greatest amount of work for major equipment.
The best way to accomplish this is to first review the work order scopes suspected or
expected to be involved in the critical (and near critical) path(s), to ensure their
completeness and reasonable time estimates.
After these work order scopes have been reviewed, inactivate (or filter out) all other work
orders on file. Keep active only the ones that have a high probability of being the critical
path. Then, create a schedule with only these few work orders, and plot the schedule out
for review and comments. Incorporate any logic changes as necessary, and re-plot the
schedule. You will need it for the final scheduling effort.
You should continue developing the additional work order scopes until the entire
turnaround work scope has been defined. After all work order scopes have been
reviewed you will be ready to prepare your final schedule by merging the remaining
scope with the existing schedule.
Daily Project Scheduling
Conditions change very quickly during a turnaround. Sometimes schedules become
obsolete almost as soon as they are issued (due to safety, equipment and manpower
availability, inspections, etc.). Because of this, project scheduling should be an ongoing
process every shift, and reissued to the field at least once every day.
You should examine your updated schedules for significant changes with respect to the
previous (or original) schedule. A few questions you should ask:
• Has the mechanical completion (or start-up) date slipped?
• If yes, then by how much? Is the slippage significant?
• Can the slippage be averted (overcome)?
• Has the critical path changed?
• Did critical mass develop? If yes, in which area?
• Is the float / slack for all other activities realistic?
• Should other activities appear on the Shift Schedule?
• Is the overall work flow continuous, without major fluctuations in manpower?
Any major deviations from the schedule should be carefully analyzed, and the logic
changed where necessary, to ensure that the desired time objectives can be met.
This updating / re-scheduling has to take place before the start of the next shift, so that
any changes (in manpower or priority) can be made before the next shift begins. This
means that reporting progress should start sometime before the end of the previous shift
(usually about two hours before the shift end). This may provide enough time for
disseminating all required and recommended reports at shift change.
A time gap between shifts is usually sufficient for complete manual distribution. If there is
no gap between shifts (as is in the case of two twelve-hour shifts per day), then updating
and reporting should start much earlier, perhaps three to four hours before shift end,
depending on the volume of work and number of copies involved. The size of the
schedule, and the number of Lap Books issued will usually determine how much time is
needed for updating and reporting.
Updating the schedule requires timely and objective feedback on all progress achieved at
shift end. To achieve this, Lap Books must be prepared and issued before the turnaround
starts. Lap Books contain all of the detailed activities or tasks defined in the Work Order
scope and the resulting schedule.
Objectivity is achieved in great part by a well-defined work scope. The greater the detail,
the less guesswork is required to estimate percent complete for each item in the
schedule and the more objective progress will be.
Approximately a couple of hours before the end of the shift, all supervisors that have Lap
Books should record their daily progress against all work orders that are in progress. Two
types of information should be recorded by the field supervisors:
• quot;Percent completequot;, an estimate of the relative amount of work accomplished
towards completing every activity
• Time remaining to complete an activity in progress (if problems or delays are
All activities that were completed during the shift should be marked 100%. Those
activities which are in progress should receive the best estimate of quot;percent completequot;,
plus a fresh re-estimate of the remaining clock hours needed to complete them.
The Lap Books are then delivered to the turnaround planner, who updates the schedule,
and returns the Lap Books to the field. The Lap Books are shared between the
supervisors covering the same areas on different shifts. This promotes better
communication between the day shift and night shift crews.
Lap Books could be organized by area, supervisor or type of work. Every field supervisor
must have a Lap Book containing all of the work orders for which he is responsible (even
if he is responsible for only one or a few of the activities listed).
The Lap Books, plus the daily Shift Schedules provide field supervisors with all the
information they need to organize, schedule and control their work.
Measuring and Reporting Progress
At the end of a shift, some activities that were worked will be complete. These will be
posted as quot;100 %quot;. For activities that were not completed, the field supervisor will usually
use his best judgement to estimate progress and how much time it will take to complete
it. For example:
MISCELLANEOUS REPAIRS, progress = 30%, remaining duration to complete = 20
Usually, most of the reported activities will be complete (100 %). Less than half of the
reported activities should be still in progress (not completed). If the opposite is true, then
the work scope has not been sufficiently detailed, and the degree of error in reporting
progress will be high.
It is near impossible to measure progress exactly, since it takes an educated guess -
which is influenced by many variables beyond the control of the supervisor (inspections,
rework, etc.). Re-estimating the time required to complete a task is very important, as this
can have an impact on the schedule (particularly activities on the critical path, major
repairs, refractory work, etc.). For a well-defined scope, the overall degree of error in
reporting progress seems to be approximately two percent (2 %) less than the actual
After the progress information from all Lap Books has been recorded and updated, print
a new Shift Schedule for distribution to the field before the next shift begins.
Note: The following text describes reports that are generated by the ATC Professional
project management software that was specifically designed for shutdowns /
turnarounds. Other software may not offer comparable reports.
You should also analyze the Critical Path and Critical Mass to determine if there are any
slippages (delays), and the area or group of activities involved in the slippages. Check all
critical and near critical activities for any errors in logic or durations. It's best to do this
with the supervisors in charge, to get their input. Sometimes it may be necessary to
consult with the inspectors as well.
If a slippage is detected, and turns out to be real and would require management
intervention, then you should alert the Turnaround Manager immediately. He will need to
study the critical (and possibly the near critical) activities to determine what corrective
steps should be taken, if at all possible. Any changes to the schedule in logic, durations
and/or manpower should be made immediately, and a new set of reports printed and
Periodically print and review the Manpower Usage report to determine if the manpower
requirements have increased, decreased or remained unchanged. This must be done
every time there are significant changes to the scope, such as adding extra work orders.
Whenever there are major revisions to the scope, after making all revisions/updates, you
should always print a complete set of reports for your files. As a matter of standard
practice, you should keep a binder or file folder to save a copy of all reports issued, for
reference. You may have to prepare a report at the conclusion of the turnaround, and
such a history file will make it easier to reconstruct the scenarios as they have occurred.
The Turnaround Progress report is an important one. It is calculated in the following
manner: first, all progress expressed in quot;percent completequot; is posted against every work
order. That percent is applied towards a quot;relative weightquot; which is a percentage
calculated on the basis of the manhour estimates for each activity against the total
manhours for that work order.
So, the quot;percent completequot; for a work order is a calculated figure, which is called a
quot;weighted percentagequot;. This individual quot;percent completequot; for every work order is then
applied to a quot;relative weightquot; now calculated on the basis of the total manhours for every
work order included in the report. The overall quot;percent completequot; is likewise a quot;weightedquot;
It is easy to see that any errors in reporting progress would be normally small enough as
to not influence the overall progress in any significant manner. At any given time during
the turnaround, anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of the work orders may be active (being
worked). Of these, less than half have activities in progress (in other words, not
completed), which may be incorrectly evaluated and reported. The impact of such
inaccuracies in progress evaluation are generally negligible: a twenty percent error
against an activity which weighs in at 1 percent or less of the overall scope is
But when an error against a major activity for a large work order occurs, the impact can
be noticeable. This can happen in situations where the work scope changes (for
example, refractory repairs in heaters or large vessels such as an FCC
After every update, be sure to check the progress made against every major work order.
If the rate of progress appears to be unsatisfactory, check the Lap Books for any (lack of)
reported progress, and the manhour estimate as well. You can also check the Schedule
Compliance report to verify that all critical path and near critical work that was on the
schedule was worked. The Critical Mass reports can help you detect any potential
problems creeping up as a result of insufficient overall progress. For a detailed analysis
of the rate of progress, print the Progress Trend report.
The Progress Summary is a chart showing, in both graphic and tabular format, the
planned and actual progress, by shift. The planned progress curve indicates the
minimum amount of progress by shift required to meet the schedule deadline. Actual
progress should be within two (2 %) percent of the planned progress to be considered
quot;on schedulequot;. The two percent difference accounts for inaccuracies in scope definition,
estimating and progress reporting.
The amount of inherent error in the estimates and progress reporting decreases as the
turnaround advances. The error in both schedule and physical progress reported are
greatest at the beginning of the turnaround, before inspection of the equipment and the
full extent of the repair work has been assessed. After all inspections are completed and
major repair work is underway, the degree of error decreases substantially.
During the turnaround, the planner will have the opportunity to verify the quality of his
work order estimates and planning logic.
Since it is not practical, possible or worthwhile to check on every activity (or a majority of
activities), field observations should be limited to certain items which fall into these
• Critical path work
• Problem equipment (high repair history)
• quot;Samplingquot; different types of equipment (i.e., one tower, one U-Tube heat
exchanger, one floating head heat exchanger, one heater, one reactor, etc.)
The planner should prepare a special booklet containing copies of the work orders, and
copies of the equipment vendor (engineering) prints, if available.
Every day, with this special book (to make field entries as necessary), the planner should
make three or four rounds, observing any activity around the selected work, and soliciting
information from the supervisors in charge to gain a better understanding of the events.
There are three basic things that should be noted during the observations:
1. Are all activities as defined correct? Are activities missing? Unnecessary? Out of
2. Are the time duration estimates adequate? Too generous? Too tight?
3. Are the manpower estimates adequate? Too generous? The right skills? Have any
support crafts been omitted?
You may obtain some of this information from the Lap Books (updated by the field
supervisors), but you should not rely on that entirely as they may not be updated as
scrupulously as desired.
When making daily rounds, you should also avoid alerting the workers of your intent.
Otherwise, they will become self-conscious and may change their pace (or cause
intentional interruptions), which will distort the performance (and affect the validity of your
One way to achieve this low profile is to pretend to be interested in something else, and
not stare at the work in progress or directly at the workers involved. Also, avoid writing in
your book where you can be seen doing so by those you are observing. And by all
means, do not let the supervisors know what you are doing, as they may try to expend an
extra effort to look good at the expense of other work.
If you are suspected of spying on workers, it will affect their behavior (performance) and
sabotage your effort. Keep in mind, also, that you are interested in the work - not in the
individual workers, crews or supervisors involved.
In making these field observations, you will gain a better quot;feelquot; for planning and
estimating work order scopes for the work having been observed. These observations
will also help you in the preparation of the turnaround final report.
Additionally, the observations will increase the visibility of the planner in the field, which
contributes to an improved morale and higher quality of progress reporting by the field
Anticipating and Satisfying Information Needs
As the information center of the turnaround effort, you must anticipate and satisfy the
information needs of all departments and functions.
To this effect, you must obtain or prepare a list of the names of all those involved in the
turnaround; preferably an organization chart showing the names of those assigned to this
Most individuals may not be aware of the kind of information available to them. You will
have to print out a report sampler and consult with the team members to determine their
specific information needs. Be sure to make a list of their requirements.
Some individuals might prefer to get as little paper as possible. This may work as long as
they do not miss any important information that could affect the outcome of the
turnaround. If in your judgement you feel that certain individuals should be alerted to
some potential problem, then you will have to give them copies of the appropriate
Turnaround Final Report
At the end of every turnaround, you should prepare a final report for both historical
reference and to justify the results (time & cost) to management. Keep one copy for your
file and distribute extra copies as necessary to upper management.
You may download our sample Turnaround Final Report (Microsoft Word format) to use
as a model or template.