Like Having a Will

It seems like we are going through a phase where many of our projects are renovations of or additions to existing buildings. When I am sitting down with the client to start the project, my first question is “Do you have existing documents?” I can’t tell you how often I get the look as if I just grew a second head.  One recent client didn’t have any current facility documentation, so before we could begin engineering a support system from their roof structure, we had to spend a lot of time doing field verifications. This cost them precious time and money. On the other hand, we had a client just weeks before who emailed us all the current documentation of their facility, so we were able to begin their facility design project right away. Having facility documentation is a little bit like having a will. You don’t think much about it until it’s too late. Here are some reasons why you may want to invest some time and money into your documentation:

  • It speeds along your planning and expansion process. Your Architect/Engineer/Contractor will want to reference your “paper” prior to starting their work on your project. If you have accurate documentation, they will be able to start right away, and there won’t be delays with field verifications. Also, having accurate documentation will help to eliminate surprises along the way – and typically a “surprise” will cost you both time and money.
  • It is an excellent maintenance tool. Your documentation can be an excellent source for troubleshooting inside your facility. When “things” happen, and they will, it is good to know your documentation will allow you to respond accurately and quickly.
  • It will keep you out of trouble with Government agencies. When those pesky inspectors come on your property, and they will, you may need documents to keep you out of trouble! Your documentation may be the only thing between you and “jail” (or a fine!).

One more tip for you. Paper media is fine, but electronic media is the best. Electronic media is updatable, provides “what-if” scenarios, is easily referenced, allows for a shared resource, and is expandable. However you decide to document your facility, whether you choose paper or electronic media, always maintain records! It will save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.

If you’d like more tips on Facility Documentation or help in beginning the process of documenting your facility, give us a call. We’re happy to help you with all of your Planning & Design needs.

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