Optimizing and Documenting Your Operational Procedures

Optimizing and Documenting Your Operational Procedures

A big part of this best practice is clearly and concisely documenting your current operational procedures, while at the same time looking for opportunities to save energy and water through equipment maintenance, set points, and schedules.

Even in buildings where operating procedures are documented, there’s no guarantee that the existing documentation reflects actual practices. Gathering feedback and input from all relevant personnel helps capture information that may better codify or improve proper building operations. You may find important unwritten rules (“That’s just how we’ve always done things...”) that have a big impact (good or bad) on building performance. Similarly, preventive maintenance (PM) logs may show that actual practice differs from the intended program. This best practice encourages you to reconcile gaps between intention and practice, and to consider efficiency opportunities through operations and maintenance in the process.

Readiness Review Questions

  • Is relevant building information in written form, or at least ready to be developed and documented, for both a PM task list and equipment schedules and setpoints? Is it accessible to all relevant building personnel? Once you develop operational best practices and PM plans, it’s an effective practice to make sure all relevant staff as access to them.

  • Do conditions in practice match written plans? Use this best practice to resolve mismatches between operational reality and written information.

  • Are there other forms of documentation that could aid operations staff in doing their jobs effectively? For example, video documentation of the start-up procedures of mechanical equipment can be used as a training tool for new personnel.

  • Who in the building is best suited to take the lead in gathering and documenting operational procedures, including PM tasks? In some cases, it’s most efficient to have one person capture and compile information by interviewing staff who works most closely with the equipment, and ensuring the operations match user needs in the occupied spaces. 

Related Best Practices

  • BP03 Energy Audit & Planning – The schedules, setpoints, and equipment lists documented as part of this best practice should be one line of investigation during the energy audit, to verify space conditions and equipment schedules are observed to match the intended setpoints. The audit can also help indicate where preventive maintenance procedures are working well or can be improved. Finally, the first audit itself can be the basis for documenting procedures.

  • BP06 Air Quality Audit & Planning – Many air quality issues can be addressed by modifying equipment schedules and maintenance procedures, and might stem from a mismatch between written procedures and actual conditions.

  • BP08 Refrigerant Leak Detection – For some buildings, including refrigerant leak detection tasks in the preventive maintenance plan may be an appropriate strategy.

This best practice supports the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

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