Turnaround Project Planning Primer

The 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:


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 and rejected.

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.

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The Turnaround Project Planning Primer is an abridged version of the STO Planning Handbook.

For further reading, we also recommend Joel Levitt’s Managing Maintenance Shutdowns and Outages.