Climate Change, the coronavirus pandemic and the fourth industrial revolution are all driving immense changes in the way we design, run and maintain our buildings. In response, the following trends have developed:
- an increasing demand for comfort cooling in our buildings as the UK has had the hottest 10 years in its 179 years of recorded history within the last 20 years,
- a rapid increase in adopting connectivity and the technologies enabling remote working, driven by an unprecedented national lockdown,
- an increasing demand for installation of new ventilation systems and independent verification of existing ones to ensure their effectiveness in reducing the spread of respiratory-syndrome viruses (MERS, SARS, COVID-19 and future ones) and to improve indoor air quality (IAQ),
- the fourth industrial revolution has grown out of the manufacturing arena and is now reshaping almost every sector in the country and indeed the world.
As technology in buildings evolves with the time, facilities managers and their teams are increasingly working with technologies that combine hardware, software and human resources. Robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, fifth generation wireless technologies (5G), 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality, and the internet of things (IOT) are all making breakthroughs and finding their way into our buildings, adding complexity to the systems and increasing management challenges. People are benefiting from these advances but are also being challenged as they try to integrate with the fast paced advances that we are experiencing.
The increase in complexity of our buildings with respect to design, M&E services and ultimately their use, emphasises the need for well documented and accurate operations and maintenance manuals. BSRIA guide BG 79/2020 Handover and O&M Manuals is a document designed to help achieve this accuracy and comprehensiveness. This guide complements several other topic supportive BSRIA publications, including BG 26/2011 Building Manuals and Building User Guides.
The content of the required building and building services documentation has not changed a lot in the last decade. What has moved on in leaps and bounds are the delivery methods. The traditional hard copies in multiple leaver arch ring binders have stood the test of time, however with several drawbacks. They do not lend themselves to easy updating, and where updating is undertaken, it is not assured that all copies will be updated. Moreover, sometimes, a record of the original may get lost. Furthermore, information can be hard to locate, may become damaged, or end up missing altogether. It is not unknown for hard copy operating and maintenance manuals to be deliberately destroyed.