Expectations of O&M Manual software for construction projects.
If you are currently using or thinking of utilising operation and maintenance manuals software (online O&M Solution) to manage your O&M Manual requirements during construction, you probably think the software is going to provide an effortless experience and automatically present you with the correct information at handover. While the right software is a game-changer when it comes to operations and maintenance manuals (in fact all construction documents), as with any software application, the software is only as good as the information provided by the end-user.
What are some of the barriers to efficient O&M Manual software use?
Even with efficient time-saving tools available in software applications, many construction projects fall behind when it comes to the provision of O&M Manuals, Asset Registers, and Maintenance Schedules. There are several reasons why this occurs, including:
- Lack of understanding of new processes or legislative requirements.
- Lack of training on how to use the software.
- Lack of a designated person to ensure users are completing tasks on time.
Whilst building owners and building contractors are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of preparing quality operations and maintenance manuals, it still requires effective planning and use of the software. This will allow the project to successfully achieve a handover of information that complies with industry standards, legislative requirements and meets the needs of operating the new building.
Why planning and adapting to O&M Manual software is important.
It may seem overwhelming for organisations to plan and adapt to new processes and facilitate the training required to adopt a new O&M Manual software system. However, the investment in time and money is well worth the effort, as once the change is made and the processes are streamlined, the savings are returned with internal efficiencies and reduced delays in handing over of required documentation (on or before PC). In addition, once the processes are set out, they can be replicated across multiple projects. In essence, you do not need to reinvent the wheel for every project. Over time, efficiency and knowledge builds within the team and every project result delivers even better financial returns by saving the time of the relevant stakeholders on the project.
Using construction milestones.
To help organisations plan for the successful implementation of an O&M Manual software application, below is a table of common construction project milestones that are matched within O&M Manual software to capture the progress of the O&M Manuals content and review processes. The milestones provide an excellent way to benchmark project-wide O&M Manual progress, as they are already used by the construction industry and are therefore easy for construction professionals to recognise.
Table of Construction Milestones and O&M Manuals Software Progress
For the purposes of this table, we assume that funding has been secured, the construction site is acquired, consultants are appointed, and the client has already approved the design.
|Construction Milestone(s)||O&M Software Progress||Type of User|
|Pre-Construction Owner and FM Requirements||
Determine Asset Information requirements –
An owners consultant will have met with the future asset management team to determine the information they need to manage the facility. This includes asset codes, metadata and maintenance standards.
In OmTrak’s case, owners opt to have the software set up to meet their requirements before construction begins. This is especially convenient if the intended Facility Management Software System is known, as the asset team can provide the data format it requires. OmTrak can be set up to match these requirements, this then provides huge time and cost savings for the FM team at handover.
Even if OmTrak is not utilised on the project, this information is still vitally important to provide to the builder.
Asset Management Team/Facility Manager
|Tendering for Construction||
O&M Manual budget and specifications for a contract-
A budget for O&M Manuals is often specified in the tender contract. The builder will then have to find an O&M Manual software solution to manage the requirements in the contract.
If OmTrak is specified and the client has set up the software to meet their requirements, the builder will receive pricing to include in their tender submission.
Owner, Developer, Tendering Authority, Project Manager
|Appointing a Building Contractor||
Introduce the builder to the O&M Manual Software-
Once the owner appoints the building contractor. The builder is introduced to the software provider.
In the case that OmTrak has been specified, the software is set up in a way that ensures the builder and trade contractors are clearly told what information they need to upload.
Software training begins for the builder, and their sub-contractors are also booked to undergo software training.
|Handover Site to Builder||
Builder plans O&M manual processes-
The builder should appoint a champion software user to oversee the subcontractors and their software progress. Whether OmTrak is specified in the contract or not, the champion user will take an active role in learning as much about the software functions as possible and initiate a top-down approach to facilitate the software and O&M Manual processes within each of the stakeholders.
In OmTrak, this person will typically be a project administrator. They will work closely with the OmTrak support team to ensure the software is set up correctly and have the highest software access level. They can add users and control the access levels of their teams and users. They can also specify the people they want included in automatic workflows and approval processes inside the software.
The job titles that suit this role are;
Commissioning Managers, Completions Managers, Senior Project Managers, Capital Works Managers, and similar job titles.
|Builder Roles – Commissioning Managers, Completions Managers, Senior Project Managers, Capital Works Managers, and similar job titles|
Builders and trade sub-contractors populate the software with data-
The minute the first pipe is laid, and or slab is poured, O&M Manuals and Asset Data can be uploaded to the O&M Manual Software.
Throughout the entire construction phase each sub-contractor will upload their own information and have it submitted for review inside the software. This should be done in real time. For example, the sub-contractor installing the HVAC system can commence uploading Content, Drawings, As-builts, Asset information, O&M Manuals, Maintenance schedules and technical data in a progressive manner. This should continue with all the trades during the construction of the building.
Project Managers can progressively review information as soon as the content has been submitted by the sub-contractor for review. This progressive approach spreads out the workload and prevents the typical holdup and time-consuming process of running around chasing up sub-contractors just prior to PC to provide their required documentation.
This progressive milestone approach also means that any missing information can be provided by the sub-contractor before finishing up and moving onto the next job. The milestone approach can also be utilised to hold back payment from a sub-contractor.
The huge advantage of undertaking a milestone approach to a construction project is that by the time construction is finished, the O&M Manuals will be 100% complete.
Sub-Contractors – Upload
Project Managers – Approve
Commissioning Managers – Monitor and Approve
Owners Consultant – Final Approval
|Defects and Liability Period||
Builder corrects construction defects and scheduled maintenance-
After construction is complete, the builder will correct the defects in the building.
The maintenance schedules are captured at the same times as the O&M Manuals. All this data can be accessed by the builders and contractors from within the O&M Manual and Defect Management Software. These are both available in OmTrak.
Builders – Assign defects to trades and approve completed work.
Sub-contractors – Receive defect tasks and maintenance notifications.
Construction Handover back to Owner
Digital handover of O&M Manuals to the owner-
The builder informs the software provider that the O&M Manuals and asset data is completed and approved. In OmTraks case, the support team prepare the O&M Manuals ready to be exported from the software into a digital usable format. The O&M Manuals are provided as a fully embedded (searchable) PDF.
The information is sent directly to the client on a secure USB device. The information can be used outside of OmTrak as a smart PDF with links to all related asset files or uploaded directly to the new Facility Management System.
Once the O&M Manuals are in the hands of the asset management team, the facility team can access and use the data immediately and set about, ordering spares, scheduling preventative maintenance, and accessing asset information.
Builder – Final review
Owners Asset Management Team/Facility Manager
Implementing approval processes for O&M Manuals
The above table simplifies the management of O&M Manuals and processes. One of the most important items is the review process. Depending on the size of the project there could be hundreds of manuals and thousands of documents to review. Adhering to the recommended milestone-based review processes provides a simplified time and cost-saving approach to managing the volume of work across the life of the project to ensure an efficient handover of required legislative project documentation, on or before PC.
How the owner and builder benefit from a streamlined O&M Manual process
The construction industry has traditionally focused on the physical build and important building information was given a low priority. This has resulted in a history of poor quality and missing building information being presented to the building owner at handover, if at all. However, Australia is currently midway through a Building Industry Reform, which includes new and improved importance on the quality of building information – (NSW has already begun changing its laws around building information).
Owners are under pressure from insurance companies to understand exactly what information is required for building insurance, as a result, they are more diligent and expect quality building and asset information, including O&M Manuals to be delivered at project completion.
This pressure has also transferred to builders to provide the right information to their clients (the owners), so they can comply with legislation and insurance company demands. Incomplete information at project handover can also result in the owner withholding payments until it is provided, builders will not and do not like these types of delays!
Tips for choosing the right O&M Manual software
If you are looking to onboard O&M Manual Software for your next project, here are our tips;
- What type of support does the software offer?
- How does the software deliver or supply the information?
- Is the setup customizable to suit the needs of the project?
- Is there ongoing training provided for you and your team?
Construction O&M Manual Challenges
OmTrak O&M Manuals provide a streamlined process to capture and deliver quality operations and maintenance manuals for construction projects. If you would like to learn more, book a demo today!