Validation and handover management — adding value to projects

With construction projects continually becoming more complex, how can they be validated ready for handover? MIKE WATSON has a solution.Soft landings, handover of office building operations (HOBO), together with validation and handover management, (VHM) are all familiar terms to building-services engineers involved in delivering projects. There is, however, a growing realisation that construction projects are becoming more technically complex. As a result there is an emerging requirement for niche specialists to consult and advise on individual and particular elements of a project. It is increasingly rare that any project can be delivered from conception, through design and construction to client occupation without it being necessary to engage a substantial team of these niche specialists en route. Soft landings, HOBO and VHM are all similar and have for a long time been seen as emerging disciplines within our complex industry. However, as with all new technologies, they are viewed with suspicion and caution. Indeed the now established disciplines such as façade modelling, acoustics and specialist lighting design were viewed with the same caution some 15 to 20 years ago. The construction industry is of course notoriously slow to embrace the requirement for niche specialists. Ultimately, adoption tends to be driven more by bitter experience rather than forethought and consideration. On a daily basis Faber Maunsell is delivering projects that are technically complex, both in concept and execution. It therefore makes absolute sense that we have sought to optimise the way our projects are delivered and make use of the best available resources and process for delivery of each and every project. Validation and handover management is one such resource and process that has now been developed and tested in a ‘day-to-day’ project environment. Mike Watson from Faber Maunsell’s Birmingham office has over his 25 years’ experience in the commissioning industry, delivered more projects than most and seen some of the great successes and failures of our industry. Driven by a passion to see projects absolutely fulfil their designer’s intentions and objectives, he was co-author of HOBO and has developed a clearly defined process for validation and handover management of projects. Mike Watson has now seen this model trialled on major commercial projects such as Paddington Central and Victoria’s Cardinal Place, and sees that value could be added to all projects by adoption of elements of the VHM model. This is based on the simple principle that as projects become more technically complex, designers become increasingly specialised in their design capabilities to such an extent that they then need to be released from the burden of their ‘non-design’ related tasks allowing these to be carried out by specialists with greater expertise in these areas. “Individuals with specific skills are required and candidates from the commissioning management industry have proved invaluable in bringing their wealth of experience to the table to assist design and construction teams” The process of validation and handover management is based on streamlining completion and ‘close out’ of the project — and all that this entails. It forms part of a planning process at the project outset. To drive this process, a handover plan is formulated. This includes design, construction, commissioning and handover for occupancy and, where appropriate, post-occupancy stages. Adherence to the handover plan becomes an extension of the contractor’s duties and includes timely and staged reviews of commissionability and maintainability. Once the scheme is ‘in contract’, it repeats these reviews as the contractor’s design and installation progresses. In addition, attention is brought to focus on the delivery of the scheme and early consideration of its handover requirements. Early in the project the contractor is thus obligated to involve his completion trades and. As a result, software interfaces of specialist trades such as BMS and fire alarm are considered earlier than is the norm. Wherever software routines are bespoke, the installers are required to develop and test these ‘off site’ and, indeed, any ‘off site’ testing that can be carried out is encouraged. At the final stages of completion, the commissioning process is then carried out in a planned manner and validated by an independent party. Post completion and post occupancy, any issues can be monitored and advised upon. This can ensure that the building is fully understood and not progressively decommissioned by its maintainers and operators. In order to deliver the validation and handover process, individuals with specific skills are required and candidates from the commissioning management industry have proved invaluable in bringing their wealth of experience to the table to assist design and construction teams. Validation and handover management is just one future specialism that is beginning to come of age, but which can add value to your projects now. Mike Watson is with Faber Maunsell, Beaufort House, 94/96 Newhall Street, Birmingham B3 1PB.
Related links:
Related articles:

modbs tv logo

First keynote speakers announced by Europump

The first two keynote speakers have been announced for an annual event being hosted by the British Pump Manufacturers Association (BPMA).

‘Landmark’ prosecution of online seller welcomed by REFCOM

The air conditioning and refrigeration industry’s largest safety register REFCOM has welcomed the successful prosecution of online sales company Appliances Direct (AD) for breaching F-Gas Regulations.