Harnessing Building Documentation

By Jack Rubinger
From the June 2021 Issue

B uilding additions and renovations can double and triple square footage, cost millions, and disrupt building residents. With building renovations, there’s a feeling of discovery about “what’s inside always,” such as for example for mechanicals, electrical systems, and water lines. Enter the facility manager who gets control building responsibilities construction is completed once. When construction over is, facilities are charged with determining how exactly to operate the brand new space safely and efficiently while managing people, resources, and time.

Technology has made tracking, updating, and communicating building plans easier, resulting in improved project management. (Photo: ARC Facilities)

With every construction or retrofit, there’s accumulation of creating documentation. Whether you’re the facility manager for a university campus founded in the 1700s or perhaps a mid-century community hospital, you’re probably painfully alert to the quantity of current and historical building documentation in your plan room. Multiple construction projects generate a great deal of documentation which should be stored, accessible for contracting yet, construction management, design, and facility maintenance teams.

Facilities teams tend to be dependent on contractors and subcontractors to supply them with complete and accurate closeout documents by the end of projects. Often, facilities teams must regulate how to operate and keep maintaining the completed spaces for months without documentation newly, before closeout package is complete. This problem can be avoided by having something to track all project documents from enough time the construction documents are issued and during every stage of the project. The target? To include the closeouts in to the main facility drawings once the project is completed, and offer a single way to obtain truth for several construction information within a renovation project.

Construction closeouts are sent to facility managers within an selection of paper and electronic formats, including three-ring binders, BIM models, and USB drives. Incorporating this more information in to the main body of creating information is really a constant challenge. Having less a typical format creates barriers to efficient facilities management when technicians must read through multiple formats of creating documentation.

Why is the problem potentially dangerous isn’t knowing the locations of gas or water shut-off valves for emergencies-especially when you’re on the run.

“Access those plans is key to building operations and future renovations. Week in a hospital where we will knock down a wall next, it is advisable to know in advance that there surely is a water pipe running right through the wall now, that wasn’t there once the building was built,” said one facility manager. “Otherwise, in case a leak is found, it might cause severe damage, change orders, and construction delays.”

Listed below are challenges that arise with building documentation during different stages and forms of construction projects, as soon as the building is functioning:

Build. When construction is in process, you can find multiple revisions and change orders often, each increasing different parts of the drawing specs and set, and each having to be organized. Each one of these noticeable changes have to be documented and communicated to appropriate associates.

New Buildings. Building operations can’t await delivery of the closeout package. Building operations immediately start, and frequently another renovation project begins prior to the previous closeout package is received. Considering that 90% of project closeouts remain paper-based and contractors often don’t start compiling before project ends, it often takes six to 12 months from enough time a project is completed for an over-all contractor to provide the closeout package.

Existing Older Buildings. Current building plans are crucial when renovations or building improvements are increasingly being planned. Often, only associates with the longest tenure know which drawings will be the most current. Imagine if they are on holiday or retired?

Four Steps Stakeholders MAY TAKE:

  1. Arrange regular meetings between construction and facility management teams. Discuss opportunities and challenges to boost communications.
  2. Photograph and share renovations/new construction happening.
  3. Create agreement contracts for facility and construction teams with a schedule of deliverables and responsibilities.
  4. Work with a mobile-first technology platform where all key construction documents could be accessed from cellular devices.

When operations and management (O&M) documentation is unavailable or emergency plans are archived instead of readily available, facilities teams can’t do their jobs properly when it’s time and energy to service equipment or address potential emergencies due to snow storms and freezing pipes. Meanwhile, devoid of warranty information available you could end up paying for service that needs to be covered- and potentially worse, voiding the warranty insurance firms the incorrect company do the ongoing service.

Traditionally, building plans and information of most types are stored causing it to be disorganized together. Often drawings get misfiled or misplaced causing more chaos when drawings are needed for a crisis or routine maintenance. That is exacerbated when new documents from expansions or upgrades are added further.

What’s needed can be an intuitive, an easy task to navigate resource for finding information over the entire enterprise instantly. For facilities leaders, technology has made the working job of tracking, updating, and communicating building plans a whole lot easier, resulting in improved project management.

Developing a single way to obtain truth of most construction information isn’t only a pipe dream; it’s rather a reality. With powerful software accessible on cellular devices, all team members-including contractors, subcontractors, construction managers, and facility managers-can find closeouts along with other information instantly.

Rubinger has 20+ years of B2B writing, pr, and marketing experience. He earned a BA in Journalism from Binghamton University and is really a frequent contributor to facility management, construction, healthcare, and industrial safety blogs and publications. Rubinger happens to be a content writer at ARC Facilities , developer of a mobile-first technology platform built on five modules for facility managers that delivers access immediately to building information.

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