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Cx Monitor: System Documentation for Operations Grows in Breadth and Complexity

Facility owners are becoming more in tune with the fact that 90% of a building’s lifetime cost is tied to operating cost, while only about 10% is dedicated to construction. This realization is driving owners and building professional organizations to compile increasingly sophisticated levels of facility operation and maintenance documentation. The amount of documentation required can be daunting to maintenance staffs that are already stretched to their limits, especially if they lack the tools to utilize the information.  SSRCx has developed a service called IMED which makes this avalanche of information immediately and easily accessible, and most importantly usable, to operators and owner construction and planning staff.

Recognition of the importance of total cost of building ownership is reflected in new standards for commissioning documentation and referenced in the USGBC’s LEED V4, ASHE’s Health Facility Commissioning (HFCx) Guidelines, and ASHRAE Guideline 0–2005, Annex O.  These forward looking guidelines focus on building operations by providing building operators with documentation tools that can be used to reduce the total cost of ownership for a building over its lifetime.  The guidelines also require a design and construction team’s close out procedure process to include a usable record and reference for operations during the life of the facility.

So what are these state of the art guidelines requiring?  LEED V4 is a good place to start because of the USGBC’s overall focus on the life of a building.  LEED V4 for Prerequisite Commissioning now requires a Current Facility Requirements and Operations Maintenance Plan.  LEED V4 Enhanced Commissioning requires the development of a Systems Manual following the ASHRAE Guideline 0 Annex O, which includes the following:

  • Executive summary
  • Owner’s project requirements
  • Basis of design
  • System single-line diagrams
  • Construction record documents and specifications
  • Approved submittals
  • As-built drawings
  • As-built sequence of operation
  • Original setpoints for all systems commissioned
  • Recommended schedule for recommissioning
  • Recommended schedule for sensor recalibration
  • Equipment operations and maintenance manuals
  • Equipment preventive maintenance schedules
  • Confirmation of completed training for the owner and occupants
  • Ongoing system optimization procedures
  • Final commissioning report

ASHE’s HFCx Guidelines require documentation in the building maintenance plan such as the TAB report, spare parts inventory, warranties, and service contracts. Many owners require additional project documentation such as the recommended steps for continuing commissioning of specific sequence of operation based on current use, a measurement & verification plan, a trending checklist listing of all points being trended including sample rates, and a list of diagnostic tools for systems.

Even more valuable than some of this documentation are the systems training videos.  All forward looking operations plans should include training on how to perform the required maintenance.  Every project requires training, and most require contractors to video the training for future use of the operations staff.  Those videos should be included with the project documentation for the operations staff so they can stay current and have background information available when the need arises. This also allows for the training of future staff.

The amount of information required for building operations is large and growing.  What kinds of tools are available for owners and their operations staff to manage and access this operations information deluge?  There are many, but for the operations staff to be able to effectively utilize this information, the info should be accessible, complete, and portable.   The information must be organized to allow operators to easily find the needed information for each of the systems and how they interact.

Some of the acronyms for the various types of building operations information systems include eOMSI, COBIE, and of course, the promised “I” in BIM (which is usually left out of the BIM execution plan for good reason).  Many of these solutions can be cumbersome because they require significant IT resources, including software license purchases,  which are not available to many operations staffs or in the operating budget, or they may require significant training and dedicated personnel to operate.   Ease of access becomes a critical issue for efficient use of the information.

Noticing a repeated need in the marketplace for a solution that can provide easy and quick accessibility to all operational information, SSRCx created a service called IMED.  IMED (Integrated Maintenance and Engineering Documentation) is a patent pending platform that digitally organizes all the available engineering and maintenance information from a project into an intuitive menu structure that links the information across documents.

IMED allows a user to immediately access required information on a particular piece of equipment or system without the purchase of any expensive BIM type programs (IMED runs on the free Adobe Reader).  For instance, all pertinent information on a particular chiller would be available to a user, including the appropriate drawings, water flow diagram, submittal, specification, commissioning tests results, schedule data, manufacturer-recommended O&M data, maintenance schedules, re-commissioning tests and procedures, and training videos (if produced).  Five clicks of the mouse will get you to anything required by the referenced standard and everything that an owner needs to maintain the facility.   With IMED, all of it is available without additional software, personnel, or additional training.

For hospitals and other organizations that receive Medicare/Medicaid funding, the maintenance schedules included in IMED can be structured as a database that can be used to comply with the detailed CMMS and TJC Alternate Equipment Maintenance Program requirements.

You can see a short YouTube video on IMED here.

For additional information, please contact Mark Smith at