What is an O&M Manual
An Operations and Maintenance Manual, or O&M Manual, compiles all the information on the operation, maintenance, decommission, and demolition of a building. Although an O&M isn’t mandatory by law, it is often required after a project is completed or for contractor handoffs. Whether you’re a contractor or sub-contractor, this is how to create an O&M Manual.
When to create your O&M Manual
O&M Manuals are frequently associated with medium to large-size operations. It makes sense: the more people and processes are involved, the more critical an O&M manual is. However, we recommend starting your Operations and Maintenance Manual right from the get-go. It’s easier to be thorough in the beginning, and then add other info as the company grows.
What is included in an O&M Manual?
We’ve mentioned that an O&M Manual is a set of instructions. But which instructions are we talking about, exactly? Well, anything from the manufacturer’s documentation to job specs details, depending on the size of the building, equipment and client requirements. Think of the Operations and Maintenance Manual as a user guide, or a building owner’s manual.
O&M Manual List of Contents
- company information, background, and organisational charts;
- details and description about the building’s construction guidelines (e.g. finishes, cladding and insulation, windows, and roof);
- drawings and specifications about the infrastructure, including any revisions to the originals;
- health and safety information;
- comprehensive explanations of each operating procedure;
- registry of all the equipment, which may or may not include financial information;
- details of each asset, including location, manufacturer, model number, other specs (sub-type, colour, etc), and product life expectancy, if possible;
- corrective and preventive maintenance programs, including schedules, procedures, and test requirements;
- emergency procedures that outline the safety measures, the people, organisations, and agencies that need to be notified in case of failure;
- reference to the manufacturer’s manual or guide with relevant information;
- manufacturer and/or supplier’s contact details;
- commissioning and testing results;
- guarantees, warranties, and certificates;
- requirements for equipment and asset decommission, demolition, and disposal.
Bottom line: if it plays a role in daily operations and maintaining, then it’s a keeper.
How to create an O&M Manual
The good news is that most of the work is already done. Yes, you read that right! Most of the info you need for the Operations and Maintenance Manual already exists, it’s only a matter of compiling it. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s see how to create an O&M Manual step by step.
- Select a platform. First, you need to select a platform to organise your O&M Manual. Don’t forget that the manual will need updating as operations grow and equipment changes, so choose a platform that can accommodate adjustments. Online, cloud-base software is easier to update, and it will ensure there aren’t any outdated books lying around.
- Prepare a simple layout. Nobody likes to read manuals from start to finish… until something goes wrong. So it’s not a big leap to say most people will check the manual in search of quick solutions to time-sensitive matters. With that in mind, try to make the manual as straight-forward and easy to read as possible.
- Get other people on board. Planning on writing a technical manual all by yourself? Think again. You should accept inputs from service engineers, suppliers, and managers. They will spot the inefficiencies and errors you need to tackle and encourage technicians and operators to use the manual.
- Feedback. Accept suggestions to improve and revise the manual. Ask coworkers for feedback about using the manual, and suggestions to improve it. The follow-up versions will be even better!
O&M Manual Template
You can check out a template for an O&M Manual here. Then, you only need to compile all the documents. If you’re in the UK, you can also check operating procedures and maintenance procedures at the HSE. Plus, if you’re using a CMMS, you can generate asset registries and schedules from there.