If the mention of “O&M” fills you with fear, read on.

An operation and maintenance manual (O&M manual) contains essential information required for the operation and maintenance of a building. The main contractor is legally required to provide a comprehensive health and safety file on completion of a job with information about access, security and safety systems. This also includes the operation and maintenance manuals of all work carried out by sub-contractors.

In some cases, compiling this information for handover can take days to produce. So, how should you go about putting an O&M manual procedure in place to streamline the process?

Here are a few tips:

  • Negotiate a price for providing the O&M manual at the outset. In your estimate include a paragraph saying that if your own O&M manual format is not acceptable, then there will be an additional charge.

  • When you get the contract, examine it for the O&M manual instructions and make a note of the name and number of the person who will be dealing with it.

  • Prepare an O&M template which you can use for most projects. Firstly, this should have a cover sheet which states clearly: “Operation & Maintenance Manual” as well as the site address and type of works. Also include your firm’s name, address, phone number and website. In the following pages describe your works, give full operating, cleaning and maintenance instructions, list any hazards involved, tools required and safe disposal instructions. Where relevant give a list of products and suppliers for items including manufacturer data sheets which the client may need to go out and buy. For example, if they need to replace sockets they will need to know the manufacturer and product codes.

  • Keep your data in simPRO up-to-date and relevant as it will save you time later on.

  • Always keep electronic copies of the O&M manuals you send out. If the main contractor loses your O&M manual, or it gets sent to the wrong department, they will ask you for it again a few months later. If you have saved a copy you can resend it straightaway.

  • If possible send your O&M manuals by email to reduce the cost of printing and postage. Always find out what the preferred format is in the early stages of the project to save you time later on.

  • Even if the main contractor insists you complete their own template, in most cases you can persuade them to accept your own version, especially if you have prepared it well. If you have made it clear in your estimate that there will be additional charges for a different version, they may decide to take a look at your own O&M manual template and accept it.

Finally, the most important time saver for your company will be automating the production of O&M manuals. Dokkit can help you prepare your O&M manuals in less than a minute. To find out more go to https://www.dokkit.co.uk