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Turnaround Project Planning Primer - Pre-Turnaround Scheduling


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 down.

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 manpower.

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
 Rigging
 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 equipment.

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

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

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 turnaround execution.
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.

Turnaround Project Planning Primer - 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 scheduled.

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

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, "COOL DOWN / GAS FREE" can have as successors

 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 "fill-in" 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 critical path.

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 "multicraft".

Start by sequencing the "hard" 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 sequenced.
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 overrun.

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.

Turnaround Project Planning Primer - 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 plant.

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

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.
Turnaround Project Planning Primer - Lap Books

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:

 "Percent complete", 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 encountered)

All activities that were completed during the shift should be marked 100%. Those activities which are in
progress should receive the best estimate of "percent complete", 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

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.

Turnaround Project Planning Primer - 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

 Repair refractory at plenum
 Repair cyclone refractory
 Repair north wall refractory
 Repair bottom head refractory
Of course, "repair refractory" 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 REPAIRS" 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.