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This report explores major factors causing schedule delays and problems often experienced in constructing and starting up new process plants. It quantifies the key factors driving construction and startup schedules as well as the costs of startup. Several factors critically affecting these outcomes reflect strategic decisions about how individual projects should be managed. The findings indicate that (1) construction schedule slippage is associated with poor project definition at the start of detailed engineering, planned long concurrency between detailed engineering and construction, and the use of unrefined solid feedstocks; (2) total startup time can be determined by the number of commercially unproven process steps, the portion of the plant heat and material balances based on previous commercial units, and whether the plant processes an unrefined solid feedstock; (3) placing responsibility for the project in a team composed of representatives from each of the corporate divisions, rather than dispersing responsibility across them, appears to result in better communication and shorter startups; and (4) startup costs as a percentage of total costs are closely related to the number of new process steps, the extent of materials-handling problems encountered during process development, and whether the plant processes an unrefined solid feedstock.

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