MRO Magazine

Making your final report on the shutdown


December 14, 2001
By PEM Magazine

The end of a shutdown or project is often accompanied by a sense of relief and disengagement. The project end should also mark a time for reflection and constructive criticism while the shutdown is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Much can be learned by reviewing what went right and what went wrong during the shutdown.

A report that documents important results during the effort also needs to be prepared. This report must capture work that needs to considered in the next shutdown. The preparation of the final report begins with a project review meeting.

Everyone that has assigned responsibilities during the shutdown should attend the project review meeting. Since this will include a good number of individuals, it is often best scheduled after regular work hours. Sometimes this review is best conducted off-site so as to minimize interruptions.

The goal of the project review meeting is to provide an open forum where general aspects of the shutdown can be discussed. In addition, it is at this review where specific assignments are made relative to written reports that will become the final report document and file.


Specifically, the project review meeting should cover the following topics that would be of general importance to the entire shutdown.

Safety/environmental performance and procedures

– Accidents. All accidents should be discussed and recommendations made to ensure no repeats during future shutdowns.

– Near misses. Any near misses should also be discussed in the final report so that such occurrences don’t become the accidents of the next shutdown.
– Permitting. Any delays or problems associated with the acquiring of clearances on machinery or entry into lines or vessels should be discussed.

Alternative plans to eliminate such delays or problems should be brainstormed. If such instances were numerous, a study group should be assigned to come up with proposals for future shutdowns.

– Environmental incidents. Discuss any environmental considerations, such as emissions or hazardous waste handling.

– Personnel protection. Identify any deficiencies in the availability or suitability of personal protective equipment. Develop recommendations for future shutdowns.

Contractor performance

– Training. Identify any additional "right-to-know" requirements or means to minimizing such training in future shutdowns by additional barricading or restricted work areas.

– Performance. Identify any contractors that did not meet expectations or performance. Identify whether such non-conformance could be eliminated through tighter contracts, additional pre-job site inspections, etc.

Schedule compliance

– Schedule breaks. Identify all instances which caused schedule breaks, interruptions, or delays. Brainstorm innovative ways to minimize such disruptions in the future.

– Logistics. Identify deficiencies in logistical areas. Propose other methods for delivery of materials, equipment, or supplies.

– Mobile equipment. Discuss problems associated with mobile equipment needs, scheduling and placement. Give special attention to alternate lift paths, or routing for heavy lifting equipment.

Work assignments and execution

– Resource allocation. Discuss any unresolved problems with resource allocation. Specifically target jobs that were left incompletely finished at the end of the shutdown.

– Execution reports. Assign report requirements to all that had specific shutdown assignments. A response date should be stipulated for these reports. Usually, two weeks is more than adequate. Allowing longer than this will invariably cause some individuals to put it off to the last minute. As time continues, the actual details of the shutdown will become clouded for such individuals.


Assign the responsibility of accounting for the shutdown costs. If a common account code or shutdown cost account was established, collecting the costs is made relatively easy. Take into account that costs will continue to come weeks after the shutdown is completed. If a final accounting tally must be made, these remaining costs can be estimated.

It is usually wise to estimate them higher than lower. If the actual costs come in lower than estimated, some department or cost center other than maintenance will be pushing to get the over-run corrected. If the actual costs come in higher than estimated, maintenance will have to exert their authority to have the corrections made.


Prior to project review meeting, assign a capable individual to keep accurate minutes of the meeting, including all discussions and recommendations. As an alternative, the meeting should be taped so that it can be transcribed later.

While the individual reports are being prepared, the project file can be started. This file should be the repository of all hard copy generated in connection with the shutdown. Specifically, the file should include:

– All work orders initiated for the shutdown. Set up sub-files for completed, unfinished, canceled, and new work.
– Contracts. Included originals on all contracts entered into for the project.
– Insurance papers. Include a file for all proof-of-insurance documents.
– Equipment reports. Include original reports prepared for the work actually done during the shutdown.
– Drawings, prints and sketches. Include copies of all documents, or a listing of where these documents exist.

All of the information gathered and assigned at the project review meeting should ultimately end up in a final report. In addition to the specific details recorded at the meeting and the equipment repair reports subsequently prepared, the final report should even include the broad description of the shutdown’s major focus.

The final report should be a cogent document that is an accurate description of what was done, what needs to be done, and what it all cost.

Michael V. Brown is part of the Milford, CT-based New Standard Institute. Founded in 1991, New Standard Institute provides maintenance management consulting and technical training services to industrial clients. For more information, visit