Applying PMBOK to Manage Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages


Project Risk Management


Turnarounds usually entail a high degree of risk. Because the scope of work is only partially known, managers must prepare for the possibility that the effort to clean or repair equipment may exceed estimates and expectations when the equipment is opened and inspected for the first time.

In general, it is not practical to attempt to model all potential risks within the project schedule. There are virtually infinite possibilities for required repairs on the more complicated pieces of plant equipment like compressors, heaters/furnaces, towers, etc.

It is recommended that risk analysis be considered for critical and near critical path work in the schedule as they have the greatest likelyhood for impacting an on time completion. Managers must balance the costs for maintaining any specialized parts or materials for identified risks against the costs for a possible schedule delay should they need to be procured at the last minute.


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Authored by Bernard Ertl, Vice President, InterPlan Systems

Bernard Ertl has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and extensive field experience planning and managing turnarounds in the oil refining and petrochemical process industries.

Applying PMBOK to Manage Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages was also published in Maintenance and Asset Management Journal Vol 20, No 3, Autumn 2005.