Upon completion of a construction project, a handover process takes place from the contractor to the owner or end user.

As building projects increase in size and complexity, and construction schedules become ever more compressed, building operators increasingly find that the quality of the documentation that comes from the handover stage is vital to the proper operation and maintenance of the building.

The handover can be complex for all parties, and problems are likely to arise if building operators do not prepare.

With a digital cloud-based software solution, this transition has become less daunting and easier to manage. Instead of dealing with cumbersome and possibly incomplete paper records, the client receives all reviewed and approved handover documentation in digital format, within an agreed table of contents and structure.  

What Is A Digital Handover?

Managing the handover effectively is crucial in ensuring the building is safe to operate and maintain. Time-wise, a digital handover essentially comes at the end of a construction project and it usually involves the client formally accepting the building and all relevant information from the contractor.

But an efficient digital handover process has been put in place from the very start of the project, to accumulate the relevant data, certs, warranties and documents; and its effects will be felt through the life cycle of the building as all this information is used for optimal operation and maintenance.

Ideally, the handover process will ensure that the client is confident their new asset is ready and safe for use and that they are able to operate, manage and maintain it with ease.

Traditionally, handovers have been done with paper documents. This would result in large numbers of rolls of as-built plans, multiple binders containing specification books, cumbersome manuals for operation of equipment, warranties and more - all of which would require significant storage space.

Thanks to cloud-based document storage platforms like Zutec, this process has been overhauled and streamlined.

What Documentation Is Handed Over During This Process?

The breadth of information required at handover can be significant and, for large, complex projects, may constitute thousands of individual documents.

At project completion, the owner will expect to receive guarantees of workmanship, manufacturer warranties, operating and maintenance manuals, as-built drawings, formal testing reports, finalized surveys and a certificate of completion from the local authority where the project is located.

Additionally, the handover process includes items that are easily overlooked, such as water, sewer and storm drainage specifications, landscaping and lighting details, main power sources, natural gas details and more. 

Why Is This Important?

Digital handover management is an important tool for the owner to future-proof their asset by carrying out maintenance in time, meeting compliance and regulation obligations, and managing the costs involved. Clients must have full visibility of the status, condition and standards of the building.

Utilizing a digital handover means that compliance detail, consents, certification and drawings can now become immediately available to the client and their maintenance teams.  

With Zutec’s cloud-based software, all necessary closeout documents, drawings and data are able to be turned over to a project owner digitally. This allows the hand-off of project construction documents to be done much quicker. The ability of the client to verify that they are getting what they expect is a key element of the handover process.

Although handover is linked to the last stage of the construction, it is essentially the first stage of the much longer operational and maintenance phase of the building's life cycle.

Why You Shouldn't Leave Handover Planning Until The Last Minute

This means that the process of handover needs to be thought through very early in the life of the project; leaving handover to the last minute can only increase the likelihood of missing vital checks or information.

The handover process represents a small amount of time when compared to the overall life of an asset. However, if managed effectively, the handover process will make a significant contribution to its safe and healthy – and cost-effective – operation.

As it is common for owners to tie their final payment to receiving all necessary close-out documents, producing these items as quickly as possible at project end is critical to the contractor fulfilling payment obligations to his subcontractors.

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