Turnaround Kick-Off

Article by Gordon Lawrence CEng FIChemE

Gordon Lawrence explains how to get your maintenance turnaround off on the right foot

THIS article is the fifth in a series of six discussing various aspects of maintenance turnaround preparations. It discusses the value of setting up key foundation documents at the kick-off of the preparation and planning phase for a maintenance turnaround.

Most firms recognise the need for a turnaround premise document, describing the objectives and targets for the turnaround. But not all firms use the premise to full advantage. In addition, very few firms take the opportunity to set up the other key foundation documents at that time, even though this would stand them in good stead as they progress further into the planning and preparation phase. The other documents include

  • the project/turnaround integration plan;
  • the turnaround estimate plan;
  • the turnaround schedule plan; and
  • the turnaround controls plan.

The turnaround preparation and planning kick-off meeting

For any maintenance turnaround, it is universally accepted that there needs to be a period of planning and preparation, prior to the start of shutting down the plant. The planning and preparation phase is used to develop the scope; plan and schedule the work; procure the materials; award contracts; and prepare the logistics on site for the influx of workers.

That planning and preparation is usually kicked off by appointing the overall turnaround event manager; issuing them with the turnaround premise document; spelling out the targets for the event (in terms of scope, safety, cost and schedule); and by laying out the plan-to-plan (ie the plan of activities that need to take place to prepare for shutting down the plant and executing the turnaround. This includes developing the scope list, the work packages, the logistics plan, enquiring and awarding contracts, procuring materials, and much more.)

Most sites have some form of plan-to-plan available as part of their turnaround preparation procedures. However, at many sites, not only is the premise not used to its full advantage in that kick-off, but in addition, a number of other documents, which are useful in helping to fundamentally shape the planning and preparation work are not even prepared.

This article will discuss those key foundational documents. It will highlight why preparing them is so valuable, and discuss why it is useful to draft them as part of the kick-off activities.

The key foundational documents

There are several documents that are useful to a turnaround event team as part of their basic foundation for planning and preparation.


The premise document is the root document for any turnaround. It spells out the targets for the event, in terms of scope, safety, cost and schedule. However, as I discussed in an earlier article in this series1, if used properly it can also act as a useful tool in ensuring that only the necessary scope is included in the turnaround event, thus helping to keep the event size as small as possible. By keeping the event as small as possible, the team then reduces the risk of cost and schedule overrun.


The project/turnaround integration plan was also the topic of an earlier article in this series2. Whilst most teams do recognise the need for an integration plan, far too many of them only begin to put that plan together once the turnaround event preparation is well under way. But as was discussed in the previous article, leaving it to this late stage means that the project manager likely already has funding, is already well advanced with engineering and procurement and already has their own schedule of activities prepared. If the plan is not already in place at the turnaround event kick-off or very soon after, it is highly unlikely that any of these issues line up with what the turnaround team would like.

The consequence of not having this plan in place early is that the projects are likely to be late, compared to the turnaround’s desired target dates, and that the project field work will clash with turnaround field work, causing progress inefficiency and delay.

Article by Gordon Lawrence CEng FIChemE

Regional Manager for Turnaround and Project Assurance at Becht

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