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What should be included in an Operating and Maintenance Manual (O&M Manual)

We're in the business of producing O&M Manuals yet even we get confused about what is required sometimes. This article aims to clarify this issue.

In more detail
CIBSE and BSRIA O&M Manual Guidelines
Detailed BSRIA recommended O&M contents description

Summary     back

There is no legal requirement for an O&M Manual. According to CDM regs 2015, the only mention of post construction operation and maintenance is that the Health and Safety File should note how things should be safely maintained.

So, in the absence of anything legally binding, the O&M Manuals should contain the whatever information is laid out in the job specification or as agreed with the client. If this is unclear or ambiguous then obviously a minimum requirement will be that the manuals should contain operation and maintenance (including cleaning) information for equipment and materials installed.

Additionally, common sense dictates that this information is augmented with:

  • A brief description of the works included
  • Manufacturer's details with the item type / model details for all maintainable items
  • Drawings
  • Test and commissioning info
  • Manufacturer's literature relating to the operation and maintenance of the item.

Some job specifications refer to O&M Manuals needing to meet the standards published by BSRIA. This is fine for services O&Ms but is often overkill for the architectural / fabric side of things. Most clients will accept a common sense approach to issuing the latter in a simpler layout than the Services O&Ms

In more detail     back

CDM Regulations 2015 which is published by the Health & Safety Executive refers to the requirements of the Health and Safety File, but not to the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) manuals. However, there is mention of the safe maintenance and operation of the building within the post construction Health & Safety File.

So, as far as the law is concerned the only reference to operation and maintenance is in the H&S File and this refers purely to the health and safety side of things. So, it doesn't care if equipment is operated or maintained efficiently or well, only that it is done safely.

Some pertinent text from the CDM Regs 2015 includes:

Regulation 4 states: "The (Health and Safety) file must contain information about the current project likely to be needed to ensure health and safety during any subsequent work, such as maintenance, cleaning, refurbishment or demolition"

Appendix 4 The Health and Safety File defines the H&S File as: "a file appropriate to the characteristics of the project, containing relevant health and safety information to be taken into account during any subsequent project."

A job specification and / or employers requirements will very often describe what the client needs with regard to the O&M Manuals. So, in the absence of any stipulated layout in the CDM Regs, this should be taken as the instruction upon which the O&M Manuals are based.

It is quite common for these O&M instructions to refer to BSRIA / CIBSE guidelines. See below.

CIBSE and BSRIA O&M Manual Guidelines     back

Note: The excerpts below are not complete and as such should be read in conjunction with the full documentation which is available from the BSRIA and CIBSE websites.

Their guidelines regarding the contents of Services O&M Manuals refer to the BSRIA guide below.

According to the BSRIA BG 1/2007 guide, Section 2.2:

Before the detailed content of operating and maintenance manuals (O&M) can be determined, consideration needs to be given to:

  • The type of manual required or warranted by the installations and needs of the end user
  • The operating and maintenance strategy envisaged for the installation
  • The categories of user for whom the manual is being written
  • The likely sources of information

Section 2.3 then goes on to describe system based O&Ms as follows:
System-based manuals can be provided in four classes:

  • Class A: basic record drawings and manufacturers literature or manuals
  • Class B: record drawings, manufacturers operating instructions and manuals, test certificates and parts lists
  • Class C: purpose and planning information, technical documentation. (including record drawings), full operating instructions for each system,
  • detailed maintenance instructions and schedules, parts lists, modification instructions, and disposal instructions
  • Class D: as Class C, with procedures and results of all tests undertaken during the commissioning process and plant and system warranties.
And. . .
"Manuals prepared to Classes C and D should be comprehensive documents suitable for large, complex installations. The finished documentation should be capable of being used without other supporting information, such as manufacturer's literature, without which the relevant manuals are unlikely to be fit for purpose."

Then, in Section 2.7 The Content of the O&M Manuals, it goes on to say that the content of the services O&M Manuals needs to contain:

  • 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 may be changed
  • Disposal of the installation

Detailed BSRIA recommended O&M contents description     back

4.1 Contractual and legal guides
The contractual and legal records of an installation should include:

  • The name and address of the installation
  • Details of local and public authority consents
  • Details of the design teams, consultants, installation contractors and associated subcontractors
  • Dates for the start of the installation, for handover (practical completion) and for the expiry of the defects liability period
  • Information on all guarantees affecting components, systems and plant items, together with expiry dates and names, addresses and telephone numbers of relevant contacts.
For each item of plant and equipment installed within the building and contained in the list of services covered by the O&M manual, copies of the following documents should also be provided, where applicable:
  • Test certificates
  • Manufacturers' guarantees and warranties
  • Insurance inspection reports
  • Safety and fire certificates
A clear statement should be made in this section concerning hazards and safety precautions of which the operators and maintainers need to be aware. This should include:
  • Any known feature or operational characteristic of the equipment or systems installed which may produce a hazard
  • Any known hazards against which protection can be provided

4.2 Any mandatory requirements relating to safety

  • Any other safety precautions which should be observed
  • Any other relevant warning

4.3 Overall purpose
This section should provide a general overview of the original design intent (available in outline from the design brief and in detail from the specification).
It should include a summary for each engineering system installed, giving:

  • The parameters and conditions within which it has been designed to operate a system
  • The type of each service (gas, electricity and water) required to operate a system
  • The intended method of control.
The section should be kept as brief as possible.

4.4 Description
This section should provide a detailed description of each engineering system installed. It should include:

  • The system type (such as a cold water supply)
  • System location and what it serves
  • What the system depends upon in order to function
  • Design data, basic design parameters, basic assumptions made during design
  • Reasons for selecting particular plant
  • Expected service life (where available)
  • Planned operational efficiency.

4.5 Equipment schedule
The type, model number and serial number of all component items within the system should be listed, together with the names of their respective manufacturers or suppliers.

4.6 Parts identification and recommended spares
This should comprise a parts identification list detailing and identifying replaceable assemblies, sub-assemblies and components. It should include suppliers’ recommendations for both spares and running spares (parts required for replacement due to wear or deterioration).

Items normally held in stock by a supplier, or for which a refurbishment service is available, should be identified separately.

4.7 Spares policy
This section should offer a guide to the setting up of a spares facility including recommended stock levels. It should be prepared after consultation with the occupier regarding the consequences of failure, risk to core business, and the period of acceptable downtime. It should also take into account suppliers' recommendations as given above. Again, those items normally held in stock by a supplier (or for which a refurbishment service is available) should be clearly identified

4.8 Commissioning data
The results of all commissioning work and associated tests should be given.
This should include:

  • Measured data
  • Measurement points
  • Test equipment used
  • Details of calibration certificates
  • A statement of whether design requirements were achieved.
It is always useful for the commissioning certificates to include plant data, such as model, type, and serial number.This information can be used as a cross-check against as-installed data sheets.This information can be easily transferred into an asset database.

4.9 Operation
Instructions must be given for the safe and efficient operation of each engineering system, under normal and emergency conditions.These will be in addition to manufacturers' literature for plant items, and should include:

  • A recommended strategy for operation and control
  • An outline of the general operating mode
  • Control data (location, effect, object, sequence, limits of capability, modes, set-points)
  • Standard operating and emergency operating procedures, and sequences for start-up, running and shut-down, under normal and emergency conditions. These should be accompanied where possible with photographs or video recordings of the standard operating and emergency operating procedures
  • Interlocks between plant items
  • Operating procedures for stand-by plant
  • Precautions necessary to overcome known hazards
  • The means by which any potentially hazardous plant can be made safe
  • Target figures for both energy consumption and energy costs
  • Forms for recording plant running hours, energy consumption and energy costs.

4.10 Maintenance instructions
The manufacturer's recommendations and instructions for maintenance must be detailed for each item of plant and equipment installed. Clear distinction should be made between planned tasks (preventative maintenance) and work done on a corrective basis. Instructions should be given on each of the following:

  • The isolation and return to service of plant and equipment
  • Adjustments, calibration and testing
  • Dismantling and re-assembly
  • The exchange of components and assemblies
  • Dealing with hazards that may arise during maintenance
  • The nature of deterioration and checks for defects
  • Special tools, test equipment and ancillary services.
Detailed BSRIA recommended O&M contents description

4.11 Maintenance schedules
Maintenance schedules should be provided for all preventive maintenance tasks.These should be based on both manufacturers' recommendations and other authoritative sources (such as statutory or mandatory requirements).The schedules should include:

  • Inspections
  • Examinations
  • Tests
  • Adjustments
  • Calibration
  • Lubrication
  • Periodic overhaul.
The frequency of each task may be expressed as specific time intervals, running hours or completed operations, as appropriate. Collectively, the schedules will form a complete maintenance cycle, repeated throughout the working life of the installation.

The source of the schedules should be stated, and necessary periodic inspections and tests for instance, local authority or supply authority purposes should also be noted.

4.12 Modification information
Modifications are authorised changes which affect safety, reliability, operation or maintenance of a system or any of its components.

Information on permitted plant or system modifications allowed for by manufacturers or system designers, should be included for each system. Space must be provided in the manual for the recording of all modifications and changes as they occur (this would initially comprise a series of appropriately headed blank pages). Furthermore, it is essential that a procedure is devised and incorporated to ensure that all modifications are noted in every copy of the manual, wherever they are located.

Fault finding
Procedures for the logical diagnosis and correction of faults should be provided.

A schedule of all plant requiring lubrication should be provided, together with manufacturers' recommendations on the type of lubricants and the method and frequency of application.Where a type of lubricant is identified by product name, a generic reference (such as a British Standard) should also be given. Information must also be provided on special requirements for the handling and storage of lubricants.

4.13 Disposal instructions
Where relevant, information should be provided on the following details:

  • Any known dangers likely to arise during the disposal of specific items of plant or equipment, together with the necessary precautions and safety measures
  • Methods for safely disposing of or destroying the equipment or parts thereof, including packaging, insulation and fluids
  • Sources from which further advice can be obtained
  • Recycling information for the specific item of plant.
Names and addresses of manufacturers Details of all manufacturers and suppliers of equipment listed in the manual should be provided, including name, address, telephone and fax number, e-mail contact and website. Any additional information likely to help the building operator make contact with, or obtain advice from, a manufacturer or supplier should also be included.

Where appropriate, details of local stockists of spare parts, replaceable assemblies or complete units should also be provided. Details should be arranged in alphabetical order of manufacturer or supplier name to provide a logical information-retrieval procedure.

4.14 Index of plans and drawings
An index should be provided of all as-fitted drawings supplied during the installation process, identified by number and title. The index should also include a schedule of all drawings issued by manufacturers and suppliers during the course of the installation work, such as control panel wiring diagrams.

4.15 Emergency information
An important feature of any manual is the emergency information.This information should be located at the end of the document for ease of reference, and should include name, address, telephone and fax number, and e-mail addresses of the appropriate contracts in the event of fire, theft or burglary, and gas, electricity or water failures, and leaks. It should also list firms or staff to contact in the event of the failure or breakdown of plant, such as lifts, boilers or pumps.Where applicable, the location of fire-fighting equipment, hydrants and rising mains should be described. Special attention should also be given to hazards particular to the building. Depending on client policy, a note of security installations may also be included.

4.16 Manufacturers' literature
A complete set of all manufacturers' literature should be provided for the plant and equipment installed, and assembled for each building services system.

This literature should provide the following information:

  • Description of the product as purchased
  • The cost and date of purchase
  • Performance-behavioural characteristics of the equipment in use
  • Applications (suitability for use)
  • Operation and maintenance details
  • Labour, plant, materials and spatial resources required
  • Methods of operation and control
  • Cleaning and maintenance requirements
  • Protective measures
  • Labour safety and welfare associated with the equipment
  • Public safety considerations.

Where the data is not adequately provided in manufacturers' literature, the author of the O&M manual should attempt to gather the information. If the information proves unavailable, or if a supplier is unwilling or unhelpful, this should be treated as a breach of contract.