The Handoff to Operations
As leader of the design team, the architect along with the contractors have responsibilities for the handoff from construction to operations. The design specifications must address important elements of the transition: startup procedures, closeout requirements, operation and maintenance data, preventative maintenance instructions, and facility operation procedures. A poor transition can mean the building launch and operations get off to a bad start, never fully recover or only catch-up after considerable cost, effort, and angst.
Studies have identified significant inefficiencies in the capital facilities marketplace primarily related to the lack of exchange of data. The inefficiencies were estimated to be in the billions of dollars. More interesting was the fact that two-thirds of that cost are borne by owners and operators, primarily during ongoing facility operation and maintenance. Other studies have been done regarding the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM), a tool for design, construction, and exchange of data primarily used in design and construction fabrication but very little in building operations. The point is that the handoff from construction completion to operations is often inadequate, setting up suboptimal operations from the start. Better handoffs prescribe that we embed operations and maintenance into every aspect of design and construction.