Project responsibilities for Engineering, Maintenance and Operations

A very common complaint that I hear from Maintenance people in manufacturing operations where capital projects involving plant modifications have recently been completed, is that they are expected to maintain the new facilities but have received little training, spare parts are not available and they feel ill-prepared to look after the new equipment.

From my experience as an Engineering manager, I know that project managers are busy people and are keen to move on to the next project. Looking after the project “tails” can be low on their list of priorities.

So I make this recommendation to Plant and Engineering managers. Make it very clear to all project managers that their responsibilities include all aspects of their assigned projects, some of which are listed below. This does not mean that they have to actually do all the listed tasks, but they should be measured on the extent to which they ensure that they are completed. I also recommend that at the conceptual stage of any project, the project manager should reach a written agreement with leaders of the Operations, Maintenance, Stores and other key departments, and this agreement should specify which department will execute each item listed and when. Ideally, it will also show the name or position of the people to be assigned to each task.

Typical tasks that are often overlooked as part of a project include:

– Purchasing new spare parts and special tools.

– Adding new spare parts and tools to the materials catalogue. This should include some spare parts as stock and many others as catalogued zero-stock items.

– Building and filing spare parts lists for new equipment. Include key engineering data, such as pump impeller trim diameters, etc.

Equipment identification and numbering, and updating the equipment register.

– Demolishing and/or disposing of all assets made obsolete by the project.

– Disposing of spare parts made obsolete by the project.

– Planning and purchasing for and execution of connections to existing plant systems.

– Setting up lubrication routines for new equipment.

– Setting up new preventive maintenance inspections.

– Documenting and approving safety and isolation procedures including vessel entry procedures.

– Filing and recording operations and maintenance manuals and all as-built drawings.

– Training operators in the correct operating procedures.

– Training maintenance people in all trades in the maintenance and repair of the new equipment.

Of course, if the Operations, Maintenance and Engineering departments are working as a true partnership, then the involvement of all these groups in major projects will extend much further than suggested by this list of tasks.


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© Veleda Services Ltd

Don Armstrong, P. Eng, President