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Building Turnover Checklist: How to Transfer Documentation Safely

During construction, many contractors are primarily focused on creating a building and not necessarily on managing documents for an upcoming transition of information. In the back and forth, it’s easy for critical documentation to get lost. Facility managers must think ahead and plan for the successful transfer of documentation during building turnover.

Whether your buildings are being slightly remodeled or you have an entirely new building being built, you’ll need easy and painless ways to organize information when all is said and done. Here are five tips to follow to make sure you’re as successful as possible.

What is building turnover?

Before we begin, it’s important to understand the steps involved in building turnover. The turnover phase in construction involves transitioning building operations from a project team to an operation and maintenance (O&M) team. Building turnover involves two key steps: physical completion of the construction project and transfer of knowledge in the form of documentation. 

Successful building turnover takes a systematic approach to transferring and storing building documentation. This process helps guarantee that building information is complete, well-organized and easy to access. It also ensures that O&M personnel have the information they need to operate systems within their buildings. 

Download - 5 Steps to Creating Accurate Floor Plans

Five Tips for Achieving Successful Building Turnover

Facility managers can take charge of building turnover by making sure that information and data are protected and preserved for use in new or remodeled buildings. Follow these five guidelines during your next building turnover to increase your odds of success.

1. Know The Building Information Your Team Needs 

Take time to sit down and facilitate communication with your design and construction teams. How will documents be delivered? How will they be stored? Create a running list of critical information your teams need to keep assets working properly. Get started by gathering the following information types.

  • Asset warranty information
  • Commissioning documentation
  • Operations and maintenance (O&M) manuals
  • Preventive maintenance schedules
  • Asset data (make, model, serial number, photos, etc.)

Facility managers and their teams need a wealth of information to run their buildings smoothly, but they also want to avoid getting stuck with a pile of information they’ll never use. Cluttered documentation takes focus away from the information that’s truly important in daily operations. Stay organized by establishing a standardized format of documentation storage. In today’s technology-driven world, using a facility management software is the best way to protect information and provide instant access to documentation in the field.   

2. Establish Expectations and Control from the Beginning

The construction process gets busy quickly, so the sooner you can access your information, the better. Software can organize and manage building information mentioned in step one and ensure that the right people are given access to it. If a building contractor uses a document-sharing platform, facility managers should make sure they're added as a VIP collaborator to the project. 

From there, facility managers can use this information to inform cleaning schedules, preventive maintenance plans and capital planning. It’s a good idea to request information in BIM (Building Information Modeling) format. This format is information-rich, involves a robust modeling process and is quickly becoming the new industry standard for architects, contractors and engineers. 

3. Find a Dependable Way to Organize Building Information

Having access to building documents is great, but it doesn’t do much good if your department doesn’t have an efficient way to organize this information. Do your best to avoid a paper-based system. Bulky stacks of paper can easily fall into disarray and force facility managers to waste time flipping through piles looking for what they need. 

Use a facility management software to give your team instant access to information out in the field where asset information really matters. The right facility management software keeps files organized and accessible, so you aren’t undoing all the hard work you put in to get this far. 

4. Get the Most Out of Space and Asset Data

Data is a powerful tool. Organized, accurate and accessible building information provides a solid foundation for the future history of your site. It will allow you to create a preventive maintenance plan, streamline your work order processes, and keep occupants happy with quick and reliable services.

Resources exist that allow you to customize this information to fit your team’s exact needs. Features like asset tracking and categorization, work order management and automated preventive maintenance scheduling use your facility data to the fullest and keep your building and assets in their best shape.

5. Expect the Unexpected

It’s nearly impossible to have a specific backup plan for every possible problem, so be ready to roll with the punches. Nothing feels worse than getting caught off guard by something that will slow down construction or complicate the development of a preventive maintenance plan. 

Look for resources and software to help you out in case of an emergency. Not every software is built the same, so find one that suits your facility’s needs and gives you the best advantages going forward.

More Helpful Resources for Efficient Building Turnover

If you’ve already gone through a less-than-ideal turnover process, don’t worry. No matter how unorganized or incomplete your files may seem, there are always strategies to get them back to where they need to be. Start by learning the difference between BIM, CAD and old file systems to make sure you’re using the most efficient file system for your organization. Then, check out our guide on 5 Steps to Creating Accurate Floor Plans, which explains how to collect and revise your facility’s floor plans.

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