From Construction to Facility Management-Guidelines for a Smooth Transition

From Construction to Facility Management-Guidelines for a Smooth Transition

From Construction to Facility Management-Guidelines for a Smooth Transition
 From Construction to Facility Management; Guidelines for a Smooth Transition

It is no secret that despite the efforts made in the project management industry for developing standards and guidelines along with promoting the use of technology and different softwares; most construction projects in Lebanon are completed behind schedule, over budget and sometimes below expected quality level. Such project performance can be attributed to many factors, among others: poor planning, misunderstanding of the contractual obligations, lack of communication, lenient project control and insufficient adequate resources.  
After the long bumpy ride through the project execution, when it comes to the closing phase, every team on board is in a hurry to demobilize and engage on a new project with crossed fingers that the upcoming endeavor will be less agonizing than the previous one. Unfortunately, it is this specific phase that requires particular collaboration between the project owner usually the developer, the construction teams and the facility management company. This collaboration calls for a comprehensible handing over strategy with defined processes, requirements and assigned responsibilities. 

Timeline of Engagement  

While for many project owners the time span between the construction completion and appointment of a facility management company can reach few weeks up to several months, for others this arrangement takes place as early as testing and commissioning is initiated.  This divergent approach is in some cases due to an unclear vision for the post-construction phase, or as a decision to avoid further financial obligations. This situation is mostly encountered in residential projects where a large number of units remain unsold. Engaging a professional facility management company can easily be thought off as an additional burden that one would simply be tempted to evade. 

Planning for an effective transition  

Facilities management best practices define the elements of an effective handing over transition:      
  • Status of Executed Works     
  • Project Documentation     
  • Training of Operational and Maintenance Personnel

 1 - Status of Executed Works  

Any facility management professional can abundantly describe the hassle faced when taking over a facility with a large number of outstanding snags. Regardless if the snag list includes finishing touch-ups, installing wiring devices cover plates, adjusting door handles, replacing a defective part or completing a system testing; it is in most cases an unpleasant situation specially if the building is occupied.
It is a complicated circumstance that renders access to some areas restricted or requiring pre-appointment, necessitates carefulness and surrounding protection for finalizing works not to mention the impact or inconvenience for building tenants. A well thought plan would consider the following:  
a – Detailed testing and commissioning of all systems witnessed by the facility management team 
 b – Conducting inspections in coordination between the construction and the facility management team 
c- Agreeing and prioritizing the snags and setting the time frame for clearance  
d- Elaborating a procedure for managing defects during the Defect Liability Period

2 – Project Documentation  

Providing an accurate final project document is one of the essential tools for any facility management team. This documentation is expected to include:      
  1. Final project data; updated BOQ with a summary of all value engineering results, approved variation orders, omissions and additions    
  2. Final and exact as built drawings; one very common problem on most projects remains the quality and correctness of the as built drawings. In many cases, the changes implemented on site are not incorporated into the final documentation. 
  3. This situation represents a considerable risk for any technical team during the operation, maintenance or troubleshooting of any system.     
  4. Detailed O&M Manuals for building services and Standard Operating Procedure SOP’s     Testing and Commissioning Reports     
  5. Final Inspection Reports     
  6. List and contact information of suppliers
  7. Systems and equipment warranties

3 – Training of Operational and Maintenance Personnel  

It is crucial to ensure that the facility management designated teams attend training sessions covering site survey, systems overview and SOP’s, troubleshooting guidelines and maintenance requirement. It is also advisable to keep training records for all personnel who attended. From “Construction Site” to “The Property”  
The above represents a brief guideline for facilitating an adequate transition from being “the construction site” to becoming someone’s “Property”.  In the midst of all project and construction management talk, the vision must remain clear when it comes to the owner and end users’ perspectives and expectations.  
Going back in time 3 to 5 years earlier, at the sales office where layouts and display boards projected the serenity and promised peace of mind, one can certainly understand the resentment of many owners when moving in to their properties to be surprised with ongoing painting works in the basement, a clogged floor drain in the master bathroom or an air conditioning system that is still not functional! 
For the project or construction management teams who endured the long and stressful construction period these are simple minor details; for the tenant, it is these details that makes the whole difference. After all, this is not the long-awaited welcome note!

The Author: Nadine Ajam 
                                      Nadine Ajam

Result driven and forward thinking professional with over 18 years of professional international and local cross industry operations and management expertise. Resourceful and quality focused professional offering engineering and management services oriented towards improving organizational performance and maximizing productivity. Possess in depth knowledge and expertise in project construction and facilities management backed by a vision for continual improvement practices applied to different industries and sectors.

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