Construction teams are from Mars and facilities teams are from Venus. Ok, not exactly. But these two teams do live in different worlds – and that becomes quite evident during construction handover.
Handover (also known as turnover) is part of the closeout phase of a construction project. At the same time, it’s the first step of your takeover of long-term operations and maintenance of the asset. The handover process can be an ugly transition if you don’t prepare for it.
The standard approach to handover causes a lot of pain points for building owner/operators and facilities teams. But you have the power to reduce or even eliminate those pain points. Let’s look at a few handover pain points and how to overcome them.
1) Not Knowing What Information To Ask For
When you’re not sure what data to request from the general contractor, it’s easy to request way too much or way too little information. For fear of possibly missing out on a key piece of info, a building owner may go overboard and request absolutely everything (even things they won’t or aren’t equipped to use). On the other extreme, some building owners don’t know what information the facilities team needs, so they don’t ask for it.
You shouldn’t expect your GC to know what building data you need. It’s up to you to clarify exactly what information you expect.
So what data DO you actually need? In a nutshell, you want to make sure you get everything necessary to run the building effectively. If you’re not the facilities manager, bring that person into the conversation and ask them what information they’ll need. Look at your current facilities management software tool to see what data it requires. (Having an FM software tool already lined up for your new building can help you hit the ground running. So if you don’t already have one, you might want to consider investing in one.)
With the assistance of your facilities manager, pre-determine all relevant information for the facility and systems that’ll need to be captured during the design, construction, and commissioning phases of your project.
Don’t just ask for “everything” – especially if you’re not going to use it. For each piece of information you think you want, ask yourself: why do I want this information? Do I really need it?
If you’re not going to use various data, it’ll sit there and collect dust (digitally-speaking). Beyond that, requesting too much information clutters up the handover deliverable, making it harder on the contractor to follow what you want.
Trim down your data requirements to what your facilities and operations teams actually need. Taking the time to do this now makes it easier for the GC to pull everything together and makes it easier for you to handle the data when you receive it.
2) Not Including Handover Requirements In The Contract
Handover documentation should be clearly spelled out right along with all the other requirements you have for the new building. Building owners are ultimately responsible for what data they want collected. You can’t put the onus on the contractor to do this.
After you’ve determined what information you want and have a plan to use it, discuss everything with the construction team right away. You want to influence the handover conversation as early as possible.
Once the contractor knows what you want and how you want it, they can plan ahead to ensure you receive that information. Don’t expect the GC to read your mind about what documentation you’re looking for.
The takeaway from this section? Use your voice. Take responsibility. Set clear expectations. Put it in the contract.
3) No Universal Naming Convention
The architect names things one way. The construction team prefers naming things another way. And you? Your facilities team has their own naming style. It’s a recipe for confusion.
The solution is to create a standardized naming convention for your project. Ask your facility operations team to determine the data structure they’re going to use and agree on a common naming standard for assets.
Then communicate that standard and ensure everyone in the construction project adheres to it – from design all the way through closeout.
4) Long, Drawn Out Handover Process
The handover process can take months, even years in some cases. So frustrating when all you want to do is wrap things up and move forward. The longer handover takes, the harder it is to ramp up your building operations efficiently.
Without all of the handover documentation in hand, your facilities team doesn’t have the information they need to manage the assets and are basically overseeing the building blind.
From the GC’s perspective, handover is a labor-intensive process. It can take hundreds of hours to extract and organize all the documents, data, drawings, and images to turn over to a building owner.
Want to know one of the most effective ways to help shorten the handover process? Know what data you want, in what format, and communicate this upfront at the start of the project. This goes a long way in helping your GC plan for a smoother, faster handover.
5) Handover Data Isn’t Immediately Helpful To Operations
You’ve made it to handover. You just took possession of a 650-page PDF containing all your data. Or if you’re extra lucky, you received boxes full of paper files.
So you have the data, but now what? There’s no centralized place to put it where the facilities team can interact with it. It’s not in an easily searchable or accessible format. Techs will struggle to find the information they need to maintain assets properly. In other words, your handover data isn’t “operationalized.”
There’s no parity between your current operations system and the project management software the construction team used to collect the data. Your GC pulls all your handover data out of their system and gives it to you in one big data dump. Then it’s up to you to figure out how to make it useful for your day-to-day and long-term operations.
Keep reading to learn ways you can “operationalize” the data from your next handover.
6) No Sophisticated Way To Update Handover Data As Your Building Comes To Life
Handover is when you take over the living, changing asset that is your building. Ideally, your data should “live” as well so it can evolve along with your facility.
However, the data you receive at handover is static. It’s a single snapshot of the building at the moment it’s turned over to you. It’s accurate for a little while, but soon becomes outdated as your building changes.
There’s no easy way to revise this static data as items in the building are maintained and replaced. Ultimately, your handover data becomes obsolete, and you find yourself needing to conduct facility condition assessments in order to know how your building is actually doing.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology estimates U.S. operations and maintenance firms spend at least $4.8 billion annually verifying that their documentation accurately represents the existing conditions in their facilities. And they spend another $613 million transferring that information into a useful format.
At the end of the day, this leaves a knowledge gap for your facilities manager, who may not have all the data they need for long-term planning and budgeting.
Handover data is an excellent baseline of your facility’s condition. And it should continue to provide value to your operations team for years to come – if only there was a straightforward way to keep it current.
Read on to discover solutions to this frustrating problem.
Expect More From Your Handover Data
During construction is your best chance to get accurate as-builts and floor plans that reflect reality. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to get and use this data. But as you’ve just read, the current way of doing handover doesn’t enable building owners to really leverage this invaluable data.
Construction handover is ripe for a transformation. There’s an absolute need to streamline the flow of information from construction to building operations and facility management. Imagine a world where your turnover data can easily migrate into your FM system, making it operational on day one.
AkitaBox software was designed precisely for this purpose. It was created by people in the construction industry who saw the problems with project handover and decided to build a solution to bridge the gap between construction and operations.
By combining location-based asset mapping and information tagging, AkitaBox establishes a searchable information infrastructure where each piece of handover data is associated with specific locations and assets within a building.
That means your handover data is:
- Associated with the correct locations & assets
- Accessible from anywhere
- Easy to update
But it doesn’t end there. After handover, you can continue using AkitaBox as a comprehensive facilities management system for:
- Maintenance management
- Asset management
- Capital planning
- Facility condition assessments
From handover to daily operations, to planning for your next construction project, AkitaBox lets you manage your facilities data throughout its entire lifecycle all in one place.
Say goodbye to the painful handovers of the past and hello to better facilities management. Interested in learning more? Visit www.akitabox.com.