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What is Turnaround and Shutdown Management?

Why is it important to manage cost and time?

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18 June

A turnaround is a periodical major maintenance event to return and/or enhance process units to their designed reliability, operability, and production capacity. This is done by performing predefined maintenance tasks, within the budget, schedule, without accidents, and at minimum risk.

All maintenance activities to be performed must be planned carefully and also comply with equipment specification standards. When clearly defined, downtime can be minimized. When the plant is revitalized, a unit should operate reliably and safely at design capacity with total operational control. Any changes to its operation or performance should be clearly documented and personnel properly trained and informed.

Turnarounds are planned in cycles of two to six or more years, depending on conditions and legal inspection requirements of equipment and machinery. Continued operation of underperforming process equipment might lead to uneconomical and unsafe situations. Different conditions impact the period between turnarounds:

  • Diminishing production
  • Decreased reliability
  • Process improvements
  • Health, safety, environment

Turnaround management

A dedicated turnaround team is often responsible for estimating, budgeting, planning and scheduling the work to a level of detail that a baseline for control can be developed. A total turnaround plan includes risk and resources analysis, cost control processes, procurement, QA/QC and safety plans. Especially safety is paramount in such a complex maintenance project. Safety measures and awareness can prevent incidents causing delays, contamination, illness, or worse.

Managing cost and time

Turnaround delays are detrimental to a company’s profits and losses. An extra day of downtime might have an impact of a million euros on revenue alone. As turnaround maintenance work is done primarily on equipment that does not have redundancy or back up, the process units need to be taken (partially) offline.

Limiting equipment to be intervened during a turnaround to those that do not have redundancy or backup is one of the major sources of scope reduction, time saving and cost reduction.

Further time saving can be obtained by optimizing the logic and sequencing of activities. The more effort put in defining and planning maintenance work, the less time equipment needs to be offline for maintenance. This means that for an execution window of a month, a period of up to 2 years might be needed to come to an adequate level of preparation. An early start also ensures experienced resources allocation and long lead items ordered well in advance.

Cost savings are obtained by estimating work packages in detail and having strong control of allowances and gold plating. Contingency reservations should be risk-based and not standard percentages. A strict scope change procedure with pre-approval financial delegation should be in place for quick an efficient handling of field changes during execution.


A turnaround is a critical part of an asset’s life cycle. Proper management can lead to significant cost savings, as turnaround performance has a direct impact on the company’s revenue and profit and losses. Get educated now and improve your skills and knowledge to bring your turnaround to the next level and compete with the best of industry.

About Cleopatra Enterprise

Cleopatra Enterprise is a digital, fully integrated solution for shutdowns, turnarounds and technical projects. Cleopatra helps companies through the entire turnaround project life cycle by combining scope management, work planning, estimating/budgeting, contract management, tendering, scheduling, field change management, cost control, benchmarking and TA knowledgebase.
For over 20 years, Cleopatra has enabled more than 500 industry-leading companies in 75 countries to control STOs and large technical projects and improve their project performance.

If you want to know more about the Total Turnaround Management solution of cost Engineering, Please contact our experts and don’t forget to subscribe for our Newsletter by filling in the short form on the right side of the page.

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