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The Handoff Between a Newly Constructed Building and Building Operations; How Not To Fumble

Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it's the only thing.

—Albert Schweitzer

One reason a building may not perform as well as it should is often related to how the newly constructed structure was "handed off” to building operations. A poor transition process may mean the building operations get off to a bad start and never fully recover or only catches-up after much effort. Design and construction phases for a new building have structured processes, and the handoff activities from new construction to operations are addressed in the project specifications. Despite the clear requirements and acknowledgement of close out activities, the transition or handover is often undervalued, misunderstood and overlooked.

Many of the critical elements of the "handover” pertain to the building systems and the relevant data or information regarding the design and construction of the building. However, these are not the only concerns and activities in the move to building operation. Prior to the turnover the building owner will need to determine staffing for maintenance and operations, and then assign and train the staff. Prior to occupancy the owner will also oftentimes be involved with the furniture and equipment, warranties, correction periods, record documents, spare parts, extra materials and specialized operating tools.

Addressing this transition from construction to operations, specifically regarding the building systems and data will improve the initial and long term operational performance in turn saving money and increasing the value of the building. In the following section are some tips on how to avoid fumbling the ball.

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