Developer/Builder >> Transition to Operations and Maintenance
DON’T BE DAZZLED AT THE HANDOVER OF THE KEYS – AVOID THE PITFALLS OF POOR HANDOVER
Aren’t sure how to transition from construction to operations and maintenance? Aren’t clear on your obligations or those of your builder, operators and maintainers?
Let us help you ensure regulatory compliance, maintain builder, operator and maintainer liabilities and maximise the performance of your building.
We will assist you in the transition from construction to operations and maintenance to ensure compliance with statutory, technical and contractual requirements; health, safety and efficiency in building operations and maintenance; definition and maintenance of stakeholder obligations including those of the builder, warrantors, operators and maintainers; and support with claims management.
Owner, Operator and Maintainer Obligations
Owners, operators and maintainers all have obligations after Practical Completion, including:
- Ensuring that Safety Measures as defined in the WA Building Regulations are achieved and maintained;
- The health and safety of all persons using the premises;
- That building services continue to perform at the standard of energy efficiency equal or better than that in the Building Standards;
- That Building Operating & Maintenance activities are performed in accordance with the Builders O & M Manuals in order not to compromise materials and equipment warrantees or the design life of the building;
- Compliance with Local authorities requirements ( e.g. Council / Shire);
- Compliance with State Authorities requirements (e.g. DFES, Office of Energy, Water Corp, Western Power);
- Management and documentation of compliance activities and correction of non-compliances.
Building quality, safety and design life may be compromised due to building operations and or maintenance that are not in compliance with these obligations.
Typical Operating and Maintenance Pitfalls and Implications
Up to the point of handover there are various actions that should have occurred:
- The designer, the D & C contractor or developer is responsible for defining the operational and safety parameters of a building design. These parameters should be incorporated in a comprehensive design brief / basis of design documents also setting out statutory and other compliance provisions. Safety in Design advice must be incorporated into a report submitted and updated throughout the design and construction process in accordance with the applicable WA Code of Practice for Safe Design of Structures.
- Design compliance certificates should be finalised and submitted.
- The Builder, specialist contractors and designers should have verified and certified the works compliance to the design after appropriate testing, commissioning and inspections processes.
- The Builder should have submitted comprehensive and complete O & M Manual documentation including testing and commissioning records; As Built Drawings; and material, equipment and specialist trade warrantees. These documents must be unambiguous, accurate and capable of being used by the Owner’s operators and maintainers to achieve building operational and design life parameters. Ideally full Quality Control documentation should also be provided to assist with future building operations, maintenance and refurbishments.
- The Building operations and maintenance personnel must be trained by the builder and specialist subcontractors in safe O & M requirements.
In practice there are gaps, omissions and errors in the handover process to operators and maintainers and often O & M requirements are often not implemented and or documented adequately and therefore proof of such is often found wanting. Failure to operate and maintain a building in accordance with the necessary requirements whether or not stated in the Builder’s O & M Manuals, may introduce many risks and problems. Examples of these include:
- hydraulic systems may incur serious health issues, higher energy and water usage, premature failures of water systems, requiring costly replacement, service outages and general loss of amenity;
- cooling towers have the potential to introduce serious health risks;
- Inadvertent compromise of fire doors, escapes or dampers may increase fire risks;
- Inadvertent damage of waterproofing systems may result in leaks and damage to building fabric, finishes, structure, services or contents;
- Balustrading or glass systems or other similar systems may be tampered with, damaged or deteriorate and become unsafe. These elements are most often not monitored and are omitted from routine maintenance inspections, yet pose a great safety risk;
- Compromise of fire protection, acoustic and thermal insulation linings through unmanaged or unchecked post completion works;
- Damage to concealed services through uncontrolled wall, ceiling, floor and pavement penetrations. These are often not identified until a much later failure or when damage is more widespread;
- Undermining of pavements and structures and waterproofing membranes due to uncontrolled ground penetrations;
- Compromise of the electrical and controls installations may result in electrocution, services outages and resultant failure of downstream equipment. In addition loss of operability and efficiency may occur;
- Deficient care and maintenance practices may result in premature failure;
- Serious Corrosion may occur due to leaks, use of dissimilar metals in post completion works, coating damage or lack of periodic cleaning. This may result in staining, early building fabric failure and leaks;
- Failure to be able to demonstrate compliance for statutory (Safety Measures as defined under the WA Building Regulations), authorities, and warrantee and builders liability claim purposes.
Sometimes due to incomplete, erroneous and ambiguous O & M documentation and or poor handover, building operations and maintenance activities may be compromised. In these circumstances the builder, specialist subcontractors and suppliers may retain liabilities in respect of any failure to adequately document and instruct O & M requirements.
Where Operations and Maintenance are not compliant with the O & M Manuals requirements for reasons including change of staff, errors or failure to implement and document activities, then the Builder’s liability may be compromised.
It is also all too common for critical building handover electronic and hard copy documents to be lost, resulting in non-compliances with requirements, inefficiencies, general risk taking as a result of not having critical information or alternatively costly investigations, document recovery processes, breaches of the Building Regulations in regard to statutory safety measures, and compromises of warrantees and builders liabilities.
How We Can Support Your O & M Transition and Start Up
Cornerstone Construction Consultants provides support with building operations and maintenance as follows:
- Testing and commissioning management, planning, review and coordination;
- Handover process planning and management to ensure comprehensive and complete Handover Documents including:
- Designer, Builder, specialist subcontractor and vendor certificates of compliance,
- O & M Manuals,
- As built documents,
- training, warrantees,
- authorities approvals and management of any non-compliances or late actions;
- Risk Management to ensure that risks are effectively identified, considered and resolved in the O & M Manuals.
- Identification and management of property damage issues and associated insurance or other liability claims;
- Health and Safety Inspections and Audits;
- Assessment of owner operations against the design intent and builder’s O & M requirements;
- Issue identification, causation reporting and development of design solutions;
- Facilities / Asset Management system development and set up including Risk Management, recording and monitoring to ensure compliance;
- Maintenance Planning including set up of sinking funds;
- set up of orientation / training systems; service and or maintenance contracting agreements;
- Maintenance documentation processes to ensure effective logging, assessment, notification and or actioning of issues and recording of maintenance works to ensure that O & M requirements and builders liabilities and warrantees are not compromised;
- set up of management reporting to ensure compliance with WA Building Regulations;
- Coordination of maintenance activities with owner operations;
Let us help you bring your building operations and maintenance under control. We improve your technical and commercial clarity, contractual and statutory compliance, efficiency and long term asset integrity.
Other Support Services for Builder/Developer
Is your building healthy, safe and environmentally compliant? Are you satisfied with your building services performance and operational availability, cost of operations and maintenance and long term asset integrity?
We assist you in operating and maintaining your building in compliance with statutory, technical and contractual requirements to ensure health, safety and efficiency in building operations and maintenance activities, maintenance of stakeholder liabilities, including builder and warrantor liabilities, and support with claims management.
Building Design and Construction is progressively becoming more complex and therefore it is common that during construction handover and commencement of Building occupancy and operations, and throughout the life of a building, that disputes occur. These issues may result in breaches of WA Building Regulations, health and safety issues in operations and maintenance, breaches of builder and manufacturer warrantee obligations, inefficient and unsustainable building operations and maintenance, loss of building functionality and unnecessary wear and susceptibility to damage of building elements.
Find out how Cornerstone Construction Consultants can bring clarity to the dispute and improve your options for successful resolution.
In recent years there have been a number of high profile cases that have tested the builder’s liability for defects.
In this case, the owner (or their representative) is responsible to identify and notify the builder of a defect. So it is important that those hidden issues are identified before it is too late – before the builder’s liability is extinguished or a major failure.
Cornerstone Construction Consultants provides a range of Defect Management services, from a single issue service, to a comprehensive management process