Although shutdown maintenance can be a complex project, the idea behind it is simple. There are some maintenance inspections and tasks you can only do when your facility is shut down. 

It’s like when you’re changing the engine oil or fixing a flat, where the first step is stopping the car. And even though you’re losing time on the road, you’re gaining a lot in efficiency, completeness, and safety. 

What is shutdown maintenance? 

Shutdown maintenance is the collection of inspections and tasks the maintenance team carries out when an entire facility is shut down specifically to facilitate this work. 

Depending on the industry and location, you can also hear “maintenance turnaround” and “maintenance stoppage.” Regardless of the name, the idea is the same: a facility is shut down specifically for the maintenance team to perform inspections and tasks they can’t do when the facility is up and running. 

How can you plan shutdown maintenance? 

To get the most maintenance out of the shortest possible turnaround, you need to invest in a lot of planning and preparation. Although there’s no golden rules for maintenance turnarounds, you can follow these five steps to get and stay organized. 

Set scope 

Here, you’re trying to answer a lot of “what” questions, including which assets and equipment you need to cover. You also need to think about what you hope to do with each. For example, for some you might be testing and inspecting, while for others, repairing and replacing. Make sure to prioritize work that you can only do during a shutdown. If it’s something the team can close out during normal operations, it makes sense to leave it off the list.  

It’s critical that you match all these decisions to a defined set of organizational goals, including KPIs for: 

  • Safety 
  • Cost 
  • Reliability 
  • Availability 

It often helps you start with your goals and work backwards from there, increasing the scope only as much as you need to meet them.    

Plan work 

Here, you’re looking at the “how” of the turnaround, which means you’re developing inspections and tasks, and making sure you’re set to have the parts and materials you need to close out the work properly. If you’re planning a lot of inspections, you need to confirm you have the right tools and sensors. 

When looking for inspections and tasks to include, reach out to the manufacturers of all your major assets and equipment to check for recalls and updates. 

Schedule everything 

It’s important to also consider the order the team is scheduled to complete the work. You need to estimate how much time they need for each one, and then schedule accordingly. Make sure to add in time to review all the work, too.   

One thing you can absolutely count on is the unexpected, so you need to add some time and resource padding into your scheduling. 

Shut down

Once you have it all scoped, planned, and scheduled, it’s finally time to do the actual work. 

Make sure to keep track of all the times the team makes changes to your original plans. If something took longer than you had expected, or needed different parts and materials, make a note. 

Look back 

At the final stage, you’re looking back, but you’re doing it as a way of looking forward. Once you’ve reviewed all the work the team did and gone over what went well and what didn’t, you’re in a better position to plan your next turnaround. 

How does a CMMS help you with shutdown maintenance? 

Modern computerized maintenance management software solutions can help you at every step. The reason is because it has all your data in one safe spot, where it’s also secure and accessible. 

When you’re first deciding which assets and equipment to include, you can look at the master asset list inside the CMMS. From there, you can review all the associated work orders, giving you a sense of where you should focus your efforts. But reviewing historical work orders doesn’t mean clicking through them one at a time; instead, you can use the software to autogenerate reports for key insights into your operations. 

From there, you can use the CMMS to set up and schedule all your inspections and tasks, the same way you would use it day-to-day for both preventive maintenance scheduling and on-demand work order generation. 

When all is said and done, because the team used the CMMS to access and close out their work orders, you can run more reports to see how you did during the turnaround, knowing that you can apply lessons learned to future shutdowns. 

Next steps 

Hippo’s here to help you get the solution that works best for you, from answering your questions about everything related to maintenance to helping you book a live software demo 


Shutdown maintenance is the inspections and tasks the maintenance team does when the facility is shut down specifically so they can complete this work. Other names include maintenance turnaround and maintenance stoppage. Successful shutdowns rely on a lot of good planning, including setting scope, planning and scheduling the work, completing it, and then going back, seeing how well you did, and finding lessons you can apply moving forward. With the right CMMS, everything goes a lot more smoothly because it’s much easier to collect, review, and share data. 

About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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