The Benefits of a Strategic Approach to O&M Manual Management

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Janine Watterson | Operations Director | Finch Consulting

Operation and Maintenance (or “O&M”) manuals are the key records and documents of many large and small process and infrastructure projects. Some clients find them hard to author and compile, or do not have the resource.

In many instances, O&M manuals are a legal and contractual obligation. But in all regards, they are essential for operating and maintaining the process and plant efficiency and safely. They are important for strategic asset management and, if something goes wrong, they are critical for legal defensibility and mitigation.

Finch is an expert in this area. We can provide you with the resource needed to bring O&M manuals together and what is required for contractual and legal compliance.

Requirements for O&M Manuals

Requirements for good record keeping are often written into contracts, for example, JCT, ICE and FIDIC.

Furthermore, where CDM 2015 regulations apply, there is requirement to produce a number of documents, such as Pre-Construction Information, the Construction Phase Plan, and the Health and Safety File.

It is critical that information in O&M manuals is presented in a consistent manner and a good document management system is adopted. O&M manuals must do the basics well – indexed, contents pages, logical ordering, appropriate typefaces and fonts, use of infographics and sign-posting to reduce complexity.

We have developed user-friendly systems and formats for both paper and electronic based O&M manuals. These are very easily configured to exactly meet your exact requirements.

The Commercial Benefits of a Strategic Approach to O&M Manuals

In our experience, our clients have benefited from three key commercial benefits by taking a strategic approach to O&M Manuals:

  • Improved asset management and associated Capex and Opex planning
  • Technical awareness through training of operational and maintenance personnel
  • Secure knowledge of legal defensibility in the event of a safety or contractual event

Without clear planning, it is nearly impossible to develop asset management plans to maintain the efficiency of the plant, and even more difficult to produce operating and investment budgets. Good quality O&M manuals are the foundations for good planning and ultimately efficient operation.

Accessing plant information quickly that has a logical presentation is an essential requirement for training personnel to empower them with the knowledge and expertise to make the right operational and technical decisions. Well designed and accessible O&M manuals, that can also be used as training materials, significantly contribute to personnel performance.

Should there be a contractual dispute, up to date and unambiguous O&M manuals can provide evidence that compliance has been achieved. In unfortunate cases where there is safety related incident, accurate and well thought through O&M manuals can provide part of the defence when considering the root cause of an incident.

Finch has worked works in many sectors for over 25 years providing engineering management consultancy to some of the largest manufacturers in the UK. Since 1997 we have been creating O&M manuals for the water industry’s Asset Management Programme (AMP).

Finch can offer a range of O&M manual services from simple compilation and indexing, to resolve resource capacity, through to technical authoring and validation to add engineering expertise.

Previous work

We have:

  • Completed over 200 O&M manuals for both water and waste-water treatment sites.
  • Co-ordinated and delivered over 200 on-site training programmes.
  • Authored, compiled and provided training on O&M manuals for waste-to-energy sites and large multi-site food manufacturers.

For further information please contact Janine Watterson at :

Janine.Watterson@finch-consulting.com or Enquiries@finch-consulting.com.