Five key facilities management documents are looked at in this blog. Their contents maybe held in hard copy or electronically formats or a mixture of both, and this will depend upon the data management policy of individual organisations. What is key is that the information within these five key facilities management documents is captured and readily available.

Facilities management covers so many aspects of a business; from building management to maintenance strategy and from space planning to business continuity management. The role of a facility manager involves analysing how the different facilities support the business. So items like planning strategies, implementing policy and procedure, research, monitoring and reviewing the organisation are imperative.

Accurate documentation, whether in hard or electronic format, is critical for a facility manager. Records must be kept, information must be updated, policies must be accessible and all legal or health and safety documentation must be readily available, and accessible for audits.

In order to ensure that everything is as it should be, there are five key facilities management documents, we believe, that organisations should consider holding to assist in showing statutory compliance (Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 Provision 41).

1. FACILITIES HANDBOOK

The first of the five key facilities management documents is a facilities handbook. This contains all the relevant facilities information relating to the business or organisation. It should contain information on any areas of the business that relate to facilities.

The legal section should contain the requirements of the business in terms of legislation, record keeping, data protection, industry specific regulation and any other areas in which they are obliged to comply. This will allow the facilities manager to ensure that any decisions made are in line with the obligations of the business.

A section relating to the commercial responsibilities for the facility should be kept. Original documents such as tenancy agreements and leases should be stored where there is minimum risk of flood or fire damage. Responsibilities of each party should be summarised in the facilities handbook.

The finance section should clearly outline the procedures for budget management and accountancy systems and processes. This ensures that the facility manager is reporting in a correct and accurate way and understands the process for engaging suppliers to carry out scheduled, or emergency works. It also helps to define where responsibility lies and how to obtain authorisation for any expenditure.

Technical information about the business facilities such as floor plans, construction or installation dates and any repairs, upgrades or major maintenance works should be recorded. Any defects should be monitored. This will allow the facility manager to identify any recurring issues which may require further investigation. The facilities handbook should include the building manual and building user guide if available, and where issued, the health and safety file (see Provision 12 (10) of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015).

The organisation should decide the extent, form and nature of data that is needed in order to effectively and efficiently manage the operation of the facility. All policies, procedures and strategies relating to this data should be recorded in the facilities handbook.

2. BUILDING LOG BOOK

Log books are a legal requirement (Building Regulations) in new non-domestic buildings and those where services have been changed. See The Building Regulations 2010 ‘Information about use of fuel and power’ and Section 7 of Approved Document L2B ‘Building log book’.

As a guide, your log book should contain the following:

  • Building history
  • Annual reviews and any updates
  • Building summary, purpose of the building, occupant information and allocation of responsibilities
  • Regulations and legislations
  • Links to other key documents related to the building
  • Main contacts
  • Commissioning, handover & compliance
  • Overall building design
  • Areas of occupancy
  • Summary of main building services plant
  • Summary of plant inspection and maintenance
  • Overview of controls/BMS
  • Energy metering, monitoring & targeting strategy
  • Building energy performance certificate (EPC) and records
  • Water and waste management
  • Maintenance review
  • Major alterations
  • Results of in-use investigations
  • An appendix containing all relevant certificates/tests

The log book must be kept up to date. It is the responsibility of the facilities manager or designated person to ensure it is correct and any changes to the building fabric, services, management or operation are included. Building maintenance and energy performance must be logged in the book.

Any parties conducting work on the building must be made aware of any relevant information included in the log book.

There must be a designated location for the log book which should be communicated to the relevant parties.

3. BUILDING MANUAL

The building manual is not compulsory but will provide useful key information for the facility manager, future building users and contractors carrying out substantial works on the building. It is recommended that it is included within the facilities handbook.

Within the building manual you should include all materials and documents relevant to the building. Detailed floor plans, neighbourhood plans, structural drawings, site plans (including engineering installations), foundation plans and locations of the utilities intake and isolation valves should be included.

Specifications for any building work that has taken place or is taking place should be recorded. This should include details of materials used, materials that may pose a health and safety risk (such as asbestos), original equipment manufacturers’ guides for any plant and machinery (installation, operation, maintenance, warranty) and methods of work that may be considered unusual.

It is important to record any mechanical installations in the building manual. The location should be specified as well as the locations of any pipe work or external connections. Details of any valves, mains or isolation points must be communicated along with any vents and ducts. There should also be detailed information and drawings on boiler houses, machinery, plant equipment or apparatus and tank rooms.

Electrical installations should be identified in the building manual. This includes all cabling, lighting, secondary power sources, emergency lighting and any specialist electrical equipment. You should also include records of inspections and testing of the installations. Detail shut off points, fuse boxes, riser cupboards and incoming power supplies.

Records should be kept of any fire protection systems in place within the building. There should be a clear description of fire detection and the fire alarm system including details of any fire suppression systems.

Location of call points, sounders and fire-fighting equipment should be identified along with the servicing arrangements and records of testing or maintenance works. There should be a plan showing the location of fire doors, fire hazards and fire escape routes. Details of a master key system and any documentation for emergency services should be included along with any other relevant information.

4. BUILDING USER GUIDE

The building user guide provides operating information on facilities for those working within your business premises.

The purpose of the building user guide is to make users aware of the design features, systems and services within the building. It instructs them on how to use facilities in a safe and efficient way.

The building user guide should include information relating to the use of the facilities. For example, how to control the air conditioning in meeting rooms, where the kitchens are located, evacuation procedures and reporting procedures for any maintenance issues.

This guide will help ensure a better level of health and safety by providing instructions on the safest way to use facilities and any emergency procedures. It also ensures efficiency; users will understand the reporting procedure, which means that issues can be quickly communicated to the correct person.

Users will also understand which facilities they have control over and who they need to contact when there is a problem to which they do not have control.

5. MAINTENANCE MANUAL

The last of the five key facilities management documents, is the maintenance manual. An effective maintenance strategy is invaluable to any business. As part of that strategy, a maintenance manual should be in place. The manual should be structured to cater to two parties.

Firstly, it should be a reference to those working within the organisation and should communicate the maintenance schedules. Secondly it should provide information to those from outside the organisation who are maintaining the facilities and carrying out maintenance works.

The first part of the manual should identify each facility or asset covered in the maintenance strategy. For each asset, the recommended intervals between routine, general and recommended inspections should be identified along with the manufacturer’s recommendation or specification. You should also include any specialist equipment that needs maintaining.

Your maintenance manual should also identify the suppliers responsible for carrying out maintenance works on each area along with their contact details.

The second part of your manual should be made up of concise information that is likely to be needed during inspections. It should identify areas prone to failure and contain any information describing the engineering installations including termination and shut off points.

This part of your manual should also specify maintenance requirements for the mechanical and electrical installations and fire protection systems. There should be detailed information for each item including any serial numbers, warranty details, current condition, previous inspections, frequency of maintenance and estimated costs.

These five key facilities management documents are all beneficial to an organisation, and it is important that the information within them is accurate and kept up to date. If you would like help in compiling these five key facilities management documents, or putting together a facilities management strategy within your business, then a reputable facilities management consultancy will be able to help you. The information contained within these five key facilities management documents will contribute immeasurably to the effectiveness and efficiency of your facility, whilst also assisting in ensuring you are statutory compliant, and helping you to prepare robust budgets.