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
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:
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.
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:
Appropriate training activities could include:
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:
The Carbon Trust’s support to notonthehighstreet.com began early with their office fit-out. A good fit-out that does not conflict with a building’s base design, is an essential part of creating an energy efficient building, as it often results in unnecessarily high energy consumption. By working closely with notonthehighstreet.com throughout the fit-out process, the Carbon Trust was able to help them create a highly distinctive interior that met their specific requirements without compromising the building’s energy efficiency performance.
notonthehighstreet.com’s move into Kew Road was helped by their decision to retain the same mechanical contractors for the fit-out and ongoing maintenance that had carried out the main refurbishment of the building. This continuity – in line with BSRIA’s ‘Soft Landings’ framework – helped to ensure a smooth handover to notonthehighstreet.com and minimise the performance gap between the building’s theoretical energy efficiency and its actual energy efficiency.
Following Legal & General's refurbishment of 6 Agar Street, managing agent JLL was involved in the briefing of occupiers’ requirements into the design to help ensure the building can operate efficiently from day one. The team also received full training on the operation of the new building and in order ot be able to pass this knowledge on to incoming occupiers.
Before the handover, at Great Portland Estates' 30 Broadwick Street, the FM team and contractors were included in ‘reality check’ reviews to ensure equipment worked as intended, along with demonstrations of control interfaces. After the handover, a sign-off review was completed, ensuring all reality check items were complete and systems signed-off and operational. Aftercare continues to year three, including monitoring, review, seasonal commissioning and independent post-occupancy evaluations.