When it comes to meeting a client’s expectations, the handover is a crucial deadline to clear.
As well as having major implications on their satisfaction in the short term, it also affects their maintenance and operation of the building into the future. Choosing a digital solution greatly improves the speed, visibility and rigour of the handover.
For the main contractor handing over the finished project, a digital solution streamlines information-gathering from the outset. Subcontractors and design teams will be involved during different phases, so there are considerable risks in leaving handover preparation until the end.
For the client, the benefits of a complete listing of all assets and deliverables on a cloud-hosted platform make it easier to plan maintenance and safeguard investment for the entire life cycle of the building. Above all, a digital solution is a vast improvement on the paper trail of yesteryear, an approach that could be riddled with incomplete, duplicate and unsourced data.
Several otherwise separate information streams converge at the point of handover, making it important that collaboration begins well in advance of that moment.
The asset owner will receive what appears to be a final confirmation of work carried out to that point, but the supporting certification, logs and design assets should be submitted as soon as the project is underway. A digital solution using cloud sharing makes it straightforward for designers, architects, subcontractors and main contractors to accumulate the documentation that facilities management teams need to plan maintenance.
Whereas paper-based documentation is difficult for collaborative teams to access simultaneously, a cloud-based digital portal allows multiple stakeholders to upload and access information regardless of location.
Digital transformation has turned the prudent modern business into an always-on, collaborative operation. Nowhere more so than in construction, where digital sharing, storage and communication can sweep aside inefficient processes that push back deadlines and push up budgets.
The speed of a digital solution is key. Information can be shared in real time across multiple parties, rather than navigating a slow, obstacle-strewn communication chain. Email has its virtues, but it cannot handle large files sizes (such as designs), and spreadsheets or documents sent have to be consolidated into a master version.
With a digital cloud solution, any authorised user can log in and upload or access files, update versions, and see a global view of all live documents at any phase.
Even the smallest projects can generate massive amounts of paperwork. Architectural plans in particular are cumbersome to pass around and bulky to store. Likewise, stacks of lever-arch folders storing certification documents, data sheets and invoices take up valuable storage space.
Not only does this physical archive leave important paperwork vulnerable to flood or fire damage, pests or natural decay, it is also time-consuming for users to search, locate and consult individual documents as required. With cloud storage, information is stored behind a secure, encrypted firewall and backed up across numerous servers. Users can search quickly for files and download copies without removing them from circulation.
The upfront investment in a digital handover solution soon pays dividends. Savings can be made on storage space, billable hours and employee costs, and overall business efficiency.
Note that the savings are felt on both the contractor and client side. A fully updated, comprehensive repository of compliance and safety certification, for example, reduces the likelihood of fines or claims for the end-user, while clearly organised documentation also helps the client plan and manage ongoing maintenance costs.