Monthly Archives: March 2015

Where do we file all our procedures…?

This may seem like a silly question but where to file some specific procedures may be a fair question to ask?

For those of you, who know me or have read a copy of my book, will know just how much importance I give to the system file. The system file is the catalogue of evidence that everything possible has been checked and tested and a system is ready for start-up.

However by definition the system file, whilst vitally important, only documents activities within the boundaries of a given system, so what (which obviously must happen at some time in a plants early life) when procedures need to be executed that transcend systems and indeed units perhaps as products and raw materials start to transfer, where do these multi-system activities and procedures get kept?

As in all applications, there is no right or wrong way, as long as a way is described and a way I have found useful to manage this scenario is to create a “General” file. Here I store all documents appertaining to general activities which apply to all systems, perhaps it may be the home for a strategy document, general rules on flushing, blowing etc. and I also include a procedure section which houses all those procedures which address multi-system tasks.

Commissioning makes one think outside the box, cross system activities are one of the questions, you just need to find a system that works for you.

Safe and successful commissioning always…

Plan or schedule…

I was pondering the other day just how many times I have been confused when asked “what is your plan for commissioning?”

So what are we talking about here, and strategy for commissioning, a philosophical view or a detailed schedule? Of course you will not find the answer to these questions until you have the debate and communicate which was the topic of my last entry.

For me commissioning planning can be addressed in three phases. Early on a project when clients, project teams etc. want some input, I would draft a philosophy document, here from an objective view, you take the reader through the overall approach to commissioning.

Secondly via a suitable strategy document or it may be in your commissioning manual, you delve further into the detail, describe systems you have defines, the things you will do from a commissioning perspective in those systems, describe enabling works and FAT’s etc.

Finally we can look at detailed scheduled. Usually for me in two parts, initially the level 2 is a Gantt type chart depicting all the typical steps as a line item, team joins here, pre-commissioning duration is this, commissioning period there, chemical introduction etc. At last we come to the work of art, the procedure by procedure level which I classify as level 3, it can be whatever you want it to be, but it’s all over the detail, with good estimated durations which give an accurate prediction of the commissioning duration, per system of course.

So what is required a plan or a schedule, ask, consider and then develop…

Safe and successful commissioning always…

Are you ready…

As the time for actual commissioning execution draws nearer in our projects, at some time (at least two or three months ahead of the turnover or handover) we need to take stock of our readiness as a commissioning team.

So we should ask ourselves the following questions…

  • Is our documentation in place, checked, approved and ready to go?
  • Are our materials and commissioning equipment ordered, have all purchase orders been placed?
  • Do we have our consumables, gaskets locks etc.
  • Is a secure storage system for equipment and consumables in place
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of all parties at the Turnover/Handover, do we know in detail what each main player will do and be accountable for?
  • Is any permit requirement prepared for, air water etc.
  • Do we have training to do, is it done and documented?
  • Are any first draft SOP’s written and validated?
  • Do we have a MOC system in place
  • Have we considered and checked commissioning Hazard studies and PSSR?

This list is not inclusive but it does give some direction to the thought processes we need to have to ensure commissioning is ready for the big day.

Safe and successful commissioning always…

Tracking progress…

Of course when all eyes are on the commissioning team, ensuring that the interested parties are aware of our status is vitally important.

On our smaller projects this can be simply considered via a status board or similar, which can display per system the current condition of those systems; in the past I have used “under construction” “being commissioned” and “system operational or LIVE” as examples. I have always thought it intriguing to see how many interested parties will stop by the commissioning office to get an instant status check on progress, (that’s if you follow the golden commissioning rule of always keeping up with your documents!).

Building on from the basic control idea mentioned above, we can then develop spreadsheets that in effect depict your commissioning documentation system. All forms and procedures across the top of the spreadsheet (loop tests, flush and blows, pre-commissioning procedures, relief stream checks etc.) and all systems down the side, as each activity is completed, the corresponding square then gets signed off or filled in. If you have a significant number of systems to prepare for you may also want to consider a similar sheet for document preparations? You excel geniuses amongst you can run riot with the potential to track commissioning completions! Always follow up your tracking tool with a report that can be sent out to the greater project and operations community keeping them informed.

In addition to these simple but effective tools are those proprietary software packages that can do these things for us and of course much more, so have fun doing your homework. It’s fair to say we must have effective all be them simple ways to show our progress, my book takes you through simple strategies that have helped me.

Safe and successful commissioning always…