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Operating & Maintenance Manuals

What are operating and maintenance manuals? Commonly known as O&M or O&M’s.

When you purchase a large appliance, car or even a house you usually receive some form of instruction on what you have purchased, what the major parts are, how to use it and maintain it. Ideally you will have meaningful measures for example With a TV the manual or user guide will explain how to tune the channels, set up functions and operating voltages and frequencies, this will be in several languages due to the markets the products sold in. Other than perhaps serial numbers used to register the product there won’t be much data involved.

With a car you will receive a user manual explaining how to use the functions of the car, what various indicator lights mean and a service book, the car will have delivery checks undertaken and this check list will be handed over with the car with data such as fuels, battery, Co2 emissions all recorded, the exact data will vary on models. In addition and to benefit from the warranties the vehicle will have to be serviced as recommended in the service book and by an approved garage for that vehicle. The service book will list all the checks required which will depend on the mileage.

Usually the service manual will detail full and intermediate service. The service manual is stamped by the approved garage when a service is undertaken. The service will ensure the owner or user continues to enjoy the benefits of the warranty offered by the manufacturer. Is important to note that should problems arise the issues should be (but not always) be dealt with by the company who you purchased the vehicle from.

When you purchase a NEW house you will be given lots of information concerning the property, a lot of builders will hand you their standard instructions booklet for use and operation. It will detail how to maintain the building. This manual will explain how to maintain doors, windows, roofs along with what issues you can expect on a new build eg cracks etc. Along with this booklet you may receive lots of separate leaflets instructing you on all the appliances and fittings installed. For example Boilers, PV, Cookers, Fridges, Freezers, Dishwashers, fans. These leaflets or individual manuals will most probably be loose leaf. You will also receive test certificates for the services, gas, electricity.

They should provide you with the meter readings and serial numbers. Together all these documents could loosly be described as an operating and maintenance manual. Loosely because they arnt usally bound together in a formal document with contents and indexs. There is no overall view or particular description of what the House is, components used and how to maintain all the systems installed. For example if you want to order a new glass or window frame or bricks to match the information wouldn’t be there.

The Construction industry has recognised there is a shortfall in handover information given when a project is completed. Over a decade ago BISRIA through its benchmarking and KPI, key performance indicators identified poor and late delivery operating and maintenance manuals as a major area for improvement.

BISRIA Guide BG 1/2007

This guide produced by BISRIA in 2007 details;

– Building handover information
– Operating and maintenance manuals
– A model specification for O&M manuals
– Logbooks, energy certification and condition surveys
– Design and project feedback tools
– Appendices

Operating and maintenance manuals

The primary legislation in the UK associated with operation and maintenance manuals of building services is the Health and Safety at work Act 1974. Designers manufacturers and importers or suppliers have a duty to provide adequate operating information for the user to ensure that the plant or system will be safe and without risk to health when in use. This should include details of any maintenance required for continued safe operation. Section 2 and 6 health and Safety at Work Act imply that building owners must possess adequate operating information for the operation and maintenance of building services.

The guide states, ” A building O&M manual should be a combination of function and system-based information, arranged in a logical and hierarchical structure as laid down in BS4884:part 1:1992″.

System based manuals should outline the operation of each building services system-based manuals can be provided in four classes:

Class A : basic record drawings and manufacturer’s literature or manuals

Class B : basic record drawings and manufacturers operating instructions for each system, detailed maintenance instructions and schedule, parts lists, modification instructions and disposal instructions.

Class C : purpose and planning information, technical documentation (incl record drawings), full operating instructions for each system, detailed maintenance instructions and schedules, parts list, modification instructions and disposal instructions.

Class D : as class C, with procedures and results of all test undertaken during commissioning process and plant and system warranties.

Manuals to class A7B will only cover rudimentary O&M information and record drawings, as required by the Health and safety at Work Act etc. 1974, and would only provide information adequate for small and simple installations. Class A&B can generally be undertaken by Contractor with no other support.

Manuals to Classes C and D should be comprehensive documents suitable for large, complex installations. They should be capable of being used without other supporting information.

The BISRA guide by reference to BS4884 details at least nine categories of information the operating and maintenance manuals should contain include:

– The purpose of the installation
– Installation records
– Description of the installation
– How the installation is to be used
– How to keep the installation operational
– Maintenance schedules
– How the installation maybe changed
– Disposal of the installation

For each system and where applicable it should contain details of the parties, information affecting guarantees, components used, names and addresses of companies, test certificates, safety and fire certificates. Please note that this is concerned with the building O&M manual not specifically the electrical operating and maintenance manual or mechanical operating and maintenance manual, and so some items are applicable to the building manual. The electrical operating and maintenance manual or mechanical operating and maintenance manual are usually handed over and incorporated into the building manual.

OM Support have been providing electrical operating and maintenance manual or mechanical operating and maintenance manuals for over a decade to contractors. We have developed a streamline service to ensure you can hand over a quality comprehensive manual to your customer on or before completion. Place you order early for your O&M, we will set up the O&M project and issue you with guidance notes and help leading to a smooth production and handover. Check your programme before signing the contract and ensure the testing is undertaken prior to handover, not on handover and show the manual draft being issued prior to the final O&M issued on completion.

You will note doubt be aware of the value placed by your customer on the timely provision of O&M and as fitted drawings, so set off on the right foot and plan for it now.

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