Post 178 ⇒   by Gautam Shah 


Operations’ Specifications relate to terms and conditions of operating and maintaining various systems of the project. For simple and projects of routine nature there may not be an acute need to create a set of such documents. Complex projects require professional operators who may not be the contractor or vendors. These third party operators need a formal assignment of their work and responsibilities. The assignment delineating these is the operations manual. Operations manual are not just handed to assigned or contracted operators, but placed in an accessible location for emergency reference.

Projects of routine and simple nature are distinctly delivered – handed over to the client or user, according to a defined process and schedule. The client or user, thereafter on their own, or through other agencies, manage and operate the system.

In case of complex projects, however, consists of several subsystems which begin to be operative as soon as these are installed. A contractor or vendor uses such subsystems during the execution of the project (such as stairs, drainage & water supply system etc.), and manages them till the project is delivered. In cases like, turnkey projects, some of the subsystems must be operated for trial and verification.

Projects conceived through Performance Specifications invariably have many built in provisions for care of the main and subsystems during their emergent phase. For complex projects the job of operations and maintenance is handled through departmental facilities or out sourced to specialized agencies. In both cases a strategy is required for dealing with probable conditions and also for less-predictable situations (disasters, crisis). Designers of the system may provide such a strategy or specialist agencies are required to prepare the operational specifications.

Forms of Operations Specifications

The agency that evolves operational specifications, such as Owner, Designer, or Operator of the systems, each may adopt a varied strategy, often lacking coordination, to deal with the situation. Operations specifications become key instructions during crisis. Professionals are now available, who can independently assess a building system, and prepare a set of operations specifications.

Operations specifications are often more graphical then written to make its access non technical, and free of language barriers. Many specifications are in the form of signage, instructions or warning signals. These specifications may not occur as a single comprehensive document but distributed across the estate. Repairs and maintenance work, need to be scheduled with other plans of actions. Operations specifications also include methods of observance, supervision and feedback systems.


  • Conditions for Creating and Providing the Operations Specifications

  1.  System Designer, System Provider (contractor, fabricator, vendor), and the System Operator, each ones roles should be clearly defined.
  2. A System Provider must distinctly (formally) handover (deliver) the System (whole or self-sufficient parts of it) to the Client or appointed System Operators, as provided in the contract.
  3.  A System Designer and System Provider, together evolve the Operations Specifications. Only one of them is made responsible for Formal Transfer of the Operations Specifications’ Documents to the operative agency.
  4.  System Designer (or the client) must see those necessary guarantees as available from Vendors and Sub contractors, and as provided by the main System Contractor, are transmitted to the Client. Alternatively a third party agency is appointed to create them afresh, and also affect such a transmission of guarantees.