Melbourne, Australia-based Software-as-a-Service construction collaboration technology provider Aconex has announced and blogged about a partnership with Adelaide-based Grazer to accelerate the production and handover of post-construction operation and maintenance manuals to clients in Australasia.
Steven Brant, Aconex’s general manager for Australia and New Zealand says:
“O&M manuals are a key deliverable for contractors and one of the last areas of construction where paper, ring binders, email and CDs are still prevalent. In the final rush to project completion, this outdated method of compiling manuals often results in incomplete data that is delivered late, adding unnecessary costs to the contractor and risk exposure to the asset owner.”
The Aconex O&M Manuals solution links the Aconex collaboration platform, used during construction projects, with Grazer’s C-Manuals solution, which provides a fully digital set of O&M manuals with visual navigation capability.
Reading the news releases and online descriptions of this new service brought some memories flooding back. Back in 2002, when I was working for BIW Technologies, retailer client Sainsbury’s wanted to use the BIW platform to automate production of the Health & Safety File (read the case study).
Required by the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1997, these files were a substantial, comprehensive and expensive-to-produce library of documents, often filling numerous A4 ring binders, and rarely complete until weeks after project handover. Once compiled, Sainsbury’s had to store, maintain, and make the files available to anyone needing information about the facility, including for routine O&M or for longer-term use, eg: major alteration works, or due diligence during a property transaction.
Taking Sainsbury’s ‘Health and Safety File brief’, which stipulated the structure and content of a conventional paper File, BIW create a set of health and safety ‘attributes’ that were used to electronically ‘tag’ drawings or other documents published to the BIW platform. The planning supervisor, responsible for producing the file, could continually monitor published documents and their health and safety attributes (and, if necessary, amend them), and start building and safeguarding the integrity the File from the outset. Instead of ring-binders or a read-only CD upon handover, the store manager or FM help-desk received a login and password, and could access, search and, if necessary, update the File online using a File Explorer tool.
By 2003, use of this electronic system was standardised across all Sainsbury’s projects, and the BIW Health & Safety functionality has been available to all its customers ever since. At the time, BIW was the first collaboration provider to deliver electronic data compliant with the UK Health & Safety Executive’s requirements, and among the earliest to anticipate its clients’ facilities managers and other professionals’ post-construction information needs.
So Aconex’s tie-up with Grazer helps the collaboration vendor deliver something that has long been available from a competitor (updated to help UK-based customers comply with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007). And, following last December’s acquisition, I expect BIW’s whole-life asset information capabilities will be extended as it incorporates infrastructure life-cycle management (ILM) functionalities delivered by its sister company conject AG.
Currently, the Aconex/Grazer combined offering is only available in Australia and New Zealand but apparently Aconex have “got bigger plans”!