Completion & Handover

Completion of the works and handover to the occupier marks the point of transition in to occupancy. The process is effectively one of the fitted-out space being handed over and accepted by the occupier and owner as completed in accordance with the requirements.

Confirming the works as complete and fit for occupation should involve all key stakeholders. In this regards, confirming that sustainability requirements have been met, e.g. features included and commissioned, and construction measures evidenced, will be part of the wider review of completed quality against the scope of works.

Whereas Completion can simplistically be considered as a milestone event, handover is a process.

The handover stage is critical in ensuring that building managers and end users fully understand the sustainability features of the space, and receive training to ensure they are sufficiently equipped to manage and operate the space effectively.

Typical reasons contributing to a poor quality handover 

  • Insufficient resource allocation.
  • Time pressures due to fixed dates for occupancy.
  • Contractor moving on to their next project.

It is unfortunately common for handover to be given too little focus – something which is often identified as part of lessons learnt close-out reporting. Time pressures due to fixed dates for occupancy, the contractor moving on to their next project, and insufficient resource allocation by stakeholders can all contribute to a poor quality handover. In turn, this can result in intended Occupier Benefits not being fully realised, and potentially avoidable poor building performance arising and needing to be addressed during the occupancy phase.

To ensure a successful handover process it is recommended that occupiers adopt the following principles: 

Handover Principles

1. Develop and Agree a Handover Strategy

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A handover strategy should form part of the Requirements Brief. The strategy should be developed by the contractor and set out what areas/elements will be handed over, when, how and by/to whom. It should require the contractor to identify an individual with lead responsibility for handover. The occupier should secure suitable participants to receive information and training from the contractor as part of handover. It is critical that property management teams participate – this includes those for the owner and occupier, as well as any key outsourced suppliers.

2. Include Sustainability Performance Documentation

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Ensure that information that evidences how requirements set out in any Legal Agreement, or with the occupier's Requirements Brief and scope of works has been is included within handover documentation by the contractor.

This may include the following where relevant:

  • EPC model or new certificate, particularly in relation to Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.
  • Certificate from third party rating and certification schemes (See Rating Tools).
  • Building Log Book.
  • Details of tests and commissioning data.
  • Metering/sub-metering plan.
  • Systems manuals on operating any BMS, controls and others systems.
  • Building User Guide, written for a property management audience, with sustainability-related aspects highlighted throughout. The guide could include information on: fabric, materials and systems used, building services strategy, operation and controls, safety and emergency information/instructions, incident reporting/feedback arrangements, guidance for maintenance and future refurbishment or fit-out activities etc.
  • Building User Guide written for a non-technical audience with sustainability-related aspects highlighted throughout. The guide could include information on: how the building works day-to-day, health and safety, access, control systems for internal conditions, waste management arrangements, use of amenity space, use of cyclist facilities etc., and links, references and relevant contact details.
  • Copies of certificates and warranties
  • A project Asset Register
  • As built plans and drawings

3. Arrange Appropriate Training Activities

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Appropriate training activities could include:

  • Workshop(s) attended by the contractor, design team, occupier representative (e.g. facilities or building manager) and owner representative (e.g. managing agent) with the aims to educate users on the sustainability aspects of the space. This can also provide the opportunity to review all relevant handover documentation and answer any questions or points of clarification.
  • Training sessions run by the contractor and specialist sub-contractors specifically for the incoming FM/Building Managers/Managing Agents to understand key systems. For example, any Building Management System (BMS), HVAC, lighting controls and sub-metering and envelope systems (e.g. blinds).
  • Training sessions aimed to familiarise maintenance and cleaning staff on requirements related to recycling/waste storage facilities, cleaning regimes and maintenance requirements e.g. where ecological or specialist products are required.

4. Establish Regime for Post-handover Support

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Depending on the complexity of the project, enhanced contractor and design team presence on-site during the defects period can provide valuable support and help embed training and guidance effectively.

This may be beneficial in instances where a fit-out includes the following, and especially where any occupier system requires integration with any of the properties base-building system:

  • a Building Management System.
  • automated HVAC and lighting controls. 
  • mixed mode ventilation.
  • the implementation of a flexible/agile working by the occupier for the first time.