Risk Based Work Selection (RBWS) – An Essential Step for Turnaround Work Scope Optimization in Refining Units

Risk Based Work Selection (RBWS) – An Essential Step for Turnaround Work Scope Optimization in Refining Units


Turnarounds (TA) in refining units are executed periodically, on a planned basis, to meet multiple objectives, such as regulatory compliance, process reliability improvement, and equipment inspection and/or repairs. In a competitive business environment, managing TA events in a cost effective manner is a well-recognized challenge.

Key Step – Planning

Development of a comprehensive Work Scope for the TA of equipment in a Process Unit is a key step which can make the difference when focusing on business goals for a Process Unit. Since a major turnaround can range from 500,000 – 1 MM man-hours and involve hundreds of TA tasks, Best Practices – utilizing Risk Based Work Selection methods – are used for prioritizing and justifying execution of tasks. Execution of these tasks yields an optimized work scope and minimized TA duration.

A principal outcome of this Work Process is that it enables the Unit to meet S, H, E, and Financial goals of major Process Units.  


Becht uses a structured work process with its proprietary software, Strategy Tool for Risk-Assessment for Improved Turnaround Scope (STRAITS©), to deliver a database of TA tasks which can be uploaded into a Clients’ TA Planning & Execution platforms. Our Company has trained TA Facilitators and SMEs who work closely with Client TA Managers and Planners. For a Work Scope which involves 500 TA tasks covering Fixed Equipment, Machinery, Piping, Instruments & Electrical Systems, these RBWS assessments are done over a period of two weeks which includes one-week of on-site team when the Clients teams participate and provide input to our process.

The Risk Based Work Selection (RBWS) process prioritizes and optimizes planned work for a Unit turnaround. The methodology includes the following:

  • Decision making with input from CFT members to assess Risks
  • Assessment of Safety, Health, Environment and Economic Risks
  • Elimination of TA tasks that cannot be justified based on risk levels
  • Justification of tasks which have benefits from a financial standpoint

Moreover, this methodology complies with the following Industry Standards and Codes:

  • API RP-580 – Risk Based Inspection
  • API 510 – Pressure Vessel Inspection Code
  • API 570 – Piping Inspection Code
  • ASME Inspection Planning Document

Becht Engineering’s TA RBWS process has been used at a number of refineries in North America and internationally. The Work Process uses a proprietary methodology which engages refinery TA teams and covers multiple Process Units. As previously mentioned, a key portion of our TA RBWS process involves utilizing our STRAITS software for risk based decision making to optimize TA Work Scopes and durations. A summary of the results from the TA RBWS assessments are illustrated below in the chart. The RBWS process covers the following equipment classes:

  • Fixed Equipment
  • Piping and Valves
  • Fired Heaters
  • Rotating Equipment
  • Pumps
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical Systems
  • Infrastructure
  • Flare Systems

Becht Experience in TA RBWS

Becht Engineering Specialists have assisted Clients who are planning and executing TA’s at numerous refineries in the United States and globally. Examples shown in the chart are meant to illustrate the benefits for Work scope optimization.

cost savings risk justified TA scope

Our experience in facilitating RBWS sessions at numerous refineries, indicates the following:

  • Expenditures on Fixed Equipment are major drivers for TA Work Scopes and contributed to the duration of the events
  • Effectiveness for managing TA OPEX dollars depended upon strong coordination between Operations, Inspection, Maintenance and TA Planning Groups
  • Front end RBI Planning is a key factor to achieve consistency in RBWS decision making
  • Benefits from TA RBWS vary, depending on an organization’s TA Readiness
  • Quality of Work Lists do have significant impact on TA WS expenditures
  • Optimization of Work Scope is critically dependent on input from Operations and Maintenance Groups
  • The accuracy and completeness of cost estimates for Work List items are of major importance in identifying “real” benefits from the optimization of TA work.
  • RBWS skills of team members is a pre-requisite in developing meaningful recommendations for equipment inspection/repairs during the TA.


Becht Engineering recommends the application of RBWS methodology for major TA events. For capturing the “real” savings generated by Work Scope optimization the methodology should be used after the TA Work Scope has been “frozen”. Becht’s Reliability Services Group has a highly experienced team of Reliability Practitioners and trained Facilitators who can assist Clients in TA Work Scope Planning and Execution.

Have a question or would like more information?  You may post to this blog or click the link below for more help.

Contact Becht Reliability Services

or Call Arcot (“Radha”) Radhakrishnan at
(949) 208-6882


About The Author

Radha's career has spanned over 45 years of worldwide involvement in the petroleum, chemicals and oil producing industries, including service with Shell Chemicals, Exxon Corporation and with ExxonMobil Corporation. At Exxon his R&D contributions included development of equipment technology for synthetic fuels (DOE) and the development/implementation of storage tank design and construction practices for atmospheric and low temperature services. His career has included a diverse range of technology assignments relating to capital projects, commissioning of new facilities, R&D, trouble-shooting, and incident investigation.

Authors Recent Posts

Risk Based Work Selection (RBWS) – An Essential Step for Turnaround Work Scope Optimization in Refining Units
Let Becht Turn Your Problem
Into Peace of Mind