The Benefit of Using Norms in iPlanSTO

What are norms?

Norms are an estimate of the effort to perform maintenance activity’s (Duration, Type of Resource, Number of Resource etc).

Norms datasets are produced by recording and evaluating historical maintenance activities. Maintenance activities are undertaken many times, with their durations recorded and evaluated to determine a reliable mean effort – this recording and evaluation of these activities produces reliable planning norms, that can be used to then plan future maintenance activities.

Why is this important?

From decades of experience, we have seen how wildly estimates of effort can range, even with the most experienced of planners and estimators in the room!

This is due to the immense complexity and scale of capital projects, and a little-known phenomenon called anchoring.

Norms help estimators, planners & supervisors to determine an activity’s duration + effort and the associated labour costs for projects with the assurance that estimates are consistent across the entire Turnaround worklist - using the same baseline data to determine activity duration – meaning jobs / work orders can be compared to one another with a higher degree of confidence.

What are the benefits of using norms?

In a nutshell, using norms is a faster, more consistent way of estimating activity duration + effort and labour costs. Studies show that initial scoping achieves an estimated accuracy of +/– 30%, whilst detailed estimating using norms achieves a +/– accuracy of 20%. (Norms+Planning Factors can then increase the TA estimate to +/- 10%, please see further below).

Norms-based estimation helps determine an activity’s duration and allows less experienced estimators and planners to determine the time & number of resources more consistently, for maintenance activities, such as scaffold, mechanical, valve overhaul, painting, insulation & E&I.

With the enormous costs associated with capital project maintenance projects, getting estimates vastly wrong can have catastrophic and far-reaching financial consequences – such as:

  • not having enough labour for your next Turnaround OR too much!
  • the plant being offline longer than the planned offline duration due to lack of resources to undertake the worklist

Using norms to form a solid baseline for estimation helps toward mitigating this risk.

The iPlan software from IAMTech includes norms as standard and offers a robust way to ensure a competitive advantage and gain maximum value for your Shutdown Turnarounds & Outages (STO’s).

The added benefit of using norms within iPlan

If you apply planning factors with norms, then iPlan can help you further refine your estimates to achieve a plus or minus accuracy of 10%.

Additionally, iPlan’s editable norms templates can ensure that those estimating the work are using the same estimation methodology agreed between the maintenance provider and the asset owner operator.

With built-in norms templates, you can immediately improve your estimation with the assurance that the norms data is based on real project data from hundreds of STO’s.

If you have your own norms data, this can be used to be the source of your labour estimates.

How norms work in iPlan

Norms Costing in iPlanSTO

The norms library built into iPlan was first developed 20 years ago!

This library has been refined over the past decade by using the knowledge gained from working closely with each of our existing clients and are based on millions of maintenance hours and hundreds of STOs.

iPlan comes preloaded with industry norms, for maintenance types such as:

  • Electrical
  • Fabrication
  • Instrumentation
  • Insulation
  • Mechanical
  • Mechanical Structural Fabric Maintenance
  • Painting
  • Scaffold
  • Valve Overhaul

If you have your own norms these can be uploaded into iPlan, and we typically undertake a norms review with our new clients as part of our implementation process to ensure you get the maximum benefit from this feature.


Estimating maintenance activities using norms is incredibly powerful.

For two decades we've consistently seen the range that manual estimation produces, and in a competitive industry with tightening margins, poor estimation is something that none of us can afford.

Norms allow benchmarking against the top tier sites, ensuring that all estimates are more accurate and that there are no nasty surprises.

Norms-based estimation is just one of the many features iPlan utilises in its proven workflow, which is trusted by the world’s leading companies, including Shell, PTTGC, Altrad, INEOS, CF Industries, DIAB, Kaefer, SABIC, and Sadara Chemicals.

The software is available in three variants:

  • iPlanSTO: for the planning, executing and review of shutdowns, turnarounds and outage
  • iPlanMAINTAIN: for planning and executing reactive and planned maintenance

Interested in finding out more about how you can benefit?

View our maintenance product web pages

Request your free demo at

Case Studies Background Image