frequent safety meetings to convey
the importance of this change—
and the consequences that would
come with ignoring it.
“We made it a requirement, not
an option,” Mr. Miller says. “And
we took people o; the project because they intentionally had not tied o;.”
With the right safety practices in place, workers were able to move ahead on a
very tight timeline. Because the installation had to align with a scheduled re;nery maintenance period (when the coke drums would be out of operation), there
was no room for delays, says Mr. Cardello.
“In general, we try to minimize the amount of time that a unit is down,” he
says. “So it’s very critical that we stick to that downtime that we’ve calculated
for the rest of the project.”
Plus, the team had rented a specialized piece of equipment for the scheduled
installation window: a ringer crane that could lift and place pieces weighing up
to 1 million pounds (453,592 kilograms) from a singular location. “Only a few
cranes can do that,” Mr. Miller says. “So we had to book that crane about 18
months in advance.”
To keep the initiative on track, the project relied on strict change manage-
ment policies. Each project leader was assigned an approval level that was tied
to cost estimates. More expensive changes had to be escalated before they could
be approved—and before the execution phase, the team froze the project scope.
“If you don’t freeze that job, you start chasing rabbits in directions you prob-
ably didn’t want to go,” Mr. Miller says. “;ey may be worth chasing at some
time, but they aren’t in your plan.”
With these processes in place, the team was able to complete the project four
months early and US$7 million under budget. Even with 400 people working
high above the ground to install the new drums, the project closed without a
single fall or lost-time injury.
;e team’s success was due in large part to its ability to foresee problems and
plan ahead, Mr. Cardello says.
“When you do your planning, you spend the time to think about what might
go wrong and how you would react,” he says. Because of the team’s careful consideration of potential stakeholder and safety issues, “we felt very comfortable
with the execution phase.” PM
A special crane had to be
assembled to install and
remove the coke drums.
excellence in 2016.