Commissioning and Start-Up Management

Commissioning and Start-up is a critical phase in the plant lifecycle and must be given adequate attention. Sphere has developed a Planning Model to help industry plan start-ups in a more thorough, effective and efficient manner.

Superior Organizational Efficiency

Sphere’s Commissioning and Startup division can be key to project and operations success. Our readiness evaluation manual is designed to identify processes, documentation, policies and procedures that should be in place to ensure smooth, safe and cost efficient transitions through design, construction, commissioning, start-up and operations.

The importance of commissioning and start-up planning is evident given the challenging characteristics of today’s industrial business environment, including:

  • Pressures to increase profits by reducing costs
  • Reductions in owner project staff and increases in outsourcing of services
  • Demand for shorter project cycle times
  • Schedule pressures
  • Lack of in-house planning capabilities and supportive tools

These business challenges demand superior organizational efficiency and management effectiveness. As a result, planning and training tools and assistance are in high demand.

Plant commissioning and start-up is defined as the transitional phase between construction completion and commercial operations, including all of the activities that bridge these two phases. Critical steps within the commissioning and start-up phase include:

  • System turnover
  • Check out of systems
  • Commissioning of systems
  • Introduction of feedstock
  • Performance testing

Project management and the perception of project success must be aligned with a new paradigm:

“Mechanical completion is not the project objective; a successful commercial operation is.”

And a commercial operation requires a successful start-up. Sphere’s planning for Start-up Model helps ensure success. It is not, however, a project management primer. Rather, its activities must be supplemented by effective project management principles.

A Team Approach

  Start-up Planning Model

Sphere_diagrams_8phasesThe Start-up Planning Model is a sequence of 45 planning activities organized according to eight typical project phases. Start-up success requires a team approach with active planning participation of all project stakeholders. Here are three management scenarios that can benefit from the Start-up Planning Model.

  • Manufacturing Business Unit Management. The manager of the business unit must take the lead in defining start-up objectives;
  • Plant Operation and Maintenance Management. Plant operations and maintenance personnel are responsible for many important start-up planning activities in front-end engineering and detailed design phases; and
  • Owner Project Management. The owner’s project manager is the overseer of the start-up planning process and is fundamentally accountable for start-up planning and success. The Start-up Planning Model is supported with a total of 26 tools. Many of the 26 tools support start-up planning activities in either the front-end engineering or detailed design phases, which are critical opportunities for start-up planning.

Download a PDF version of our Commissioning and Start-up Management brochure.