As part of the project management scope, when getting near to the end of a construction project you need to think about creating an Operation and Maintenance (O and M) manual for asset handover. Failing to deliver complete documentation can delay successful closure of a construction project. So, leaving compiling an O and M manual until the last minute can have major implications.
Collating information during the project makes the process easier for everyone. Plan ahead for a building handover so everything is well prepared for handover day. This makes it a smooth, easy process, and avoids disputes and damage to reputations.
What to put in an O and M manual?
Everything used and installed into a building project comes with manufacturer information. This will include specifications, warranties, and operation and maintenance information. It makes sense to give this to the new owner.
Here is a guide to the information required for each item in a good O and M manual:
manufacturer’s operation and maintenance information, product data sheets, specifications, safety data sheets and drawings
installation details including location and any installation drawings
information from the testing and commissioning of each item
manufacturer and supplier details
a maintenance matrix that sets out a maintenance schedule in a table for easy use.
Creating the O and M Manual Template
The sooner you begin creating an O and M manual the better. You can start building the foundations of the document right from the start.
Even contract out the production of the manual when the project first starts. Let the professionals take the whole process from your hands. They can put processes in place to collect the information as contractors install items into the building.
Leaving this process until a few weeks before hand over to the owners can cause no end of trouble. One of the biggest parts of the job is collecting the information. Trying to do this at the end of a project is almost possible. But, start too early and decisions are not locked in. You need to plan an O and M manual as a necessary part of a construction project.
It takes time to compile an O and M manual. It will go through four main phases:
Information gathering. Gather information from the job specification as a guide for what information you need to gather. You also need to collect information from subcontractors and equipment installers. Create templates for subcontractors and installers to complete, and return with the relevant material.
Information checking. Check all information for relevance, correctness, and for missing pieces of information. Subcontractors can forget about items or materials used, and test sheets may be unsigned. This is an important part of the process as it saves a lot of time, money and frustration later.
Draft manual. Produce a draft manual for your client. Make note of what is missing at this stage so they understand you are still to collect this information. Leave enough time for the client to receive comments from all interested parties and return it for updating.
Final version. Update the O and M manual taking all feedback into account. Chase up and finalise any missing information to complete a final version. Complete a final edit and the final version should be ready to deliver. This depends on the delivery method. Printed versions will go for printing at this stage and the electronic version uploaded.
Keeping it simple
These days creating an O and M manual template is as simple as you make it. You can compile the information and produce the document yourself. Use a word processing tool like Word or, a digital process to produce compliant, professional digital or cloud-based O and M manuals. You can always hire someone to do it for you.
In today’s world, paper-based documents are fast becoming redundant. Apart from the waste and cost of paper documents, digital technology has come a long way. Using a digital process makes compiling a manual super quick. With a few clicks on your PC, you have a complete manual ready for your client.
Whatever you do, the most important thing is to give your client everything they need to maintain the building.