I’ve survived numerous stressful outages. So, let me share seven valuable tips.
First, line up extra craftspeople that you can bring in if necessary. By this, I mean have boilermakers available from companies other than the one hired to do the turnaround, and arrange for additional scaffolders, electricians, etc. The foremen managing these extra troops shouldn’t come from your primary contractor. Your primary contractor’s foremen will be swamped meeting scheduled goals.
As an example, during a 15-year internal inspection of a low-pressure vessel, we discovered enough cracks to tie up boilermakers from the primary contractor for eight days. This was unexpected and blew our schedule. We had to postpone work on other tanks until the next outage and set aside some projects. Knowing tank inspections were involved, we should have planned to have appropriate auxiliary staff on call to handle the other tanks and projects. In this case, we should have lined up extra staff including code inspectors and dye penetration technicians as well as foremen.
We learned our lesson after one turnaround from hell; on a similar project three months later, such preplanning enabled us to finish a day early!