Understanding O&M: Operations and Maintenance Manual

The acronym "O&M" stands for "Operations and Maintenance" representing the essential functions, responsibilities, and labour involved in the day-to-day operations of various systems and assets. 
Understanding O&M: Operations and Maintenance Manual
Written by
Darren Stewart
Published on
April 12, 2023

The acronym "O&M" stands for "Operations and Maintenance" representing the essential functions, responsibilities, and labour involved in the day-to-day operations of various systems and assets, usually within a building or facility.

The primary objective of O&M is to ensure the sustained reliability and optimal performance of facilities and their assets throughout their expected life. In this article, we delve into the significance of an Operations and Maintenance Manual (O&M Manual) and provide a quick guide on how to create one along with links to companies who can assist.

What is an O&M Manual?

An Operations and Maintenance Manual, commonly known as an O&M Manual, serves as a comprehensive repository of information regarding the operation, maintenance, decommissioning, and demolition of a building or asset. Although not legally mandatory, an O&M Manual is often required upon project completion or for contractor handovers. Whether you are a contractor or a subcontractor, understanding the process of creating an O&M Manual is crucial.

When to Create an O&M Manual:

While O&M Manuals are typically associated with medium to large-scale operations, it is advisable to initiate their development from the outset. Starting early enables you to establish a thorough foundation and easily incorporate additional information as your company expands.

Who needs to create a manual?

The creation of an O&M (Operations and Maintenance) manual is typically the responsibility of the entity or party involved in designing, constructing, or installing the system, facility, or equipment. These typically include the following parties:

1. Designers and Engineers: The designers and engineers involved in developing the system, facility, or equipment are typically responsible for creating the initial draft of the O&M manual. They possess in-depth knowledge of the technical specifications, operation requirements, and maintenance procedures associated with the asset.

2. Manufacturers or Suppliers: In the case of pre-fabricated or off-the-shelf equipment, the manufacturer or supplier often creates the O&M manual. They have a thorough understanding of their product's features, installation requirements, maintenance procedures, and recommended practices.

3. Contractors or Construction Companies: When a system or facility is constructed or installed by contractors or construction companies, they may have a role in developing the O&M manual. They can provide insights into the specific construction or installation details, maintenance requirements, and best practices associated with the asset.

4. System Integrators: In cases where multiple components or systems are integrated to create a cohesive functioning unit, system integrators may be responsible for creating the O&M manual. They bring together different subsystems and have a comprehensive understanding of their interactions, maintenance needs, and operational considerations.

5. Facility Owners or Operators: While the primary responsibility for creating the O&M manual lies with the designers, engineers, manufacturers, and contractors, facility owners or operators play a vital role in providing input and reviewing the manual. They can offer valuable insights, specific requirements, and operational considerations that need to be included in the O&M manual.

6. Regulatory Authorities or Industry Standards: Regulatory authorities or industry standards organisations may provide guidelines or requirements for the content and format of O&M manuals in certain industries or sectors. In such cases, compliance with these guidelines becomes an important aspect of creating the O&M manual.

It is crucial for the responsible party to collaborate closely with all relevant stakeholders, gather necessary information, and ensure the accuracy and completeness of the O&M manual. The manual should address all aspects of operations, maintenance, safety protocols, troubleshooting, and any other pertinent information required to effectively operate and maintain the asset.

Getting help creating an O&M Manual

It can be a bit of a daunting task in creating an O&M manual, there are however companies that specialise in helping other companies create these manuals. There has also been a recent push to digitise these manuals which were once mainly. Here are 3 companies that can help you create and store your O&M manuals:

Why is a manual important for maintenance teams?

The O&M (Operations and Maintenance) manual plays a crucial role in supporting the effectiveness of a maintenance team. Acting as a comprehensive reference guide, it provides detailed information about systems, equipment, and assets, ensuring standardised practices, enhancing training and onboarding, promoting safety and compliance, facilitating efficient troubleshooting, and maintaining a record of maintenance activities. By offering a centralised source of knowledge, the manual enables the team to work efficiently, minimise errors, ensure safety, optimise asset performance, and prolong the lifespan of critical systems and equipment.

What is Included in an O&M Manual?

Typically the manual provides comprehensive instructions on how to operate, maintain, and service the assets, including recommended practices, preventive maintenance tasks, and inspection guidelines. It may also include information on spare parts, warranties, emergency procedures, and regulatory compliance requirements. Additionally, the O&M manual may feature documentation of past maintenance activities, including records of repairs, inspections, and maintenance logs, facilitating historical tracking, performance analysis, and future planning.

Using a CMMS with an O&M Manual

A CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management System) can serve as an alternative or complement to an O&M (Operations and Maintenance) manual. While an O&M manual is a comprehensive document providing detailed instructions and information, a CMMS is a software solution that helps manage and streamline maintenance activities. Here's how a CMMS can fulfil similar functions as an O&M manual:

1. Centralised Information Repository: A CMMS acts as a centralised database for storing and organising maintenance-related information. It can contain equipment specifications, maintenance procedures, work instructions, safety protocols, and other critical details, similar to an O&M manual.

2. Accessible Documentation: CMMS platforms enable maintenance teams to access relevant documentation and information directly from the system. This includes manuals, schematics, diagrams, and other supporting materials, providing on-demand access to necessary information for maintenance tasks.

3. Standardised Procedures: CMMS allows organisations to establish standardised maintenance procedures within the system. It can incorporate predefined checklists, task templates, and workflows to ensure consistency and adherence to best practices across maintenance activities.

4. Maintenance Scheduling and Tracking: CMMS offers features to schedule and track maintenance tasks, including planned preventive maintenance (PPM) and work orders. It helps in organizing and prioritizing maintenance activities, assigning tasks to team members, and tracking progress, ensuring timely completion of maintenance tasks.

5. Asset History and Documentation: CMMS systems maintain a historical record of maintenance activities performed on assets. This includes details such as past repairs, inspections, parts replaced, and maintenance logs. It allows for tracking asset performance, identifying recurring issues, and analyzing maintenance trends.

6. Reporting and Analytics: CMMS platforms often provide reporting and analytics capabilities, generating insights into maintenance performance, asset reliability, and downtime analysis. This helps in making data-driven decisions, optimizing maintenance strategies, and identifying areas for improvement.

While a CMMS can provide real-time access to up-to-date information, streamline workflows, and enhance data-driven decision-making, it may not capture all the nuanced details found in a comprehensive O&M manual. Therefore, depending on the complexity and specific requirements of the asset or system, organisations may choose to utilize both a CMMS and an O&M manual, with the CMMS acting as a digital tool to support and enhance the information management and maintenance processes outlined in the O&M manual.

Download Our Preventative Maintenance Excel Template
Want a template to work from? Download our Excel Maintenance Template
Read about our privacy policy.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The Easy to use CAFM Software

Digitise Your Facility Maintenance Management with Faultfixers

Facility Maintenance is Important. Try our CAFM system for free today.