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Paper Blizzards & New LEED Credit Idea

Paper Blizzards & New LEED Credit Idea

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 58) – All IMHO:

“In a world”
where most people carry smart phones and tablets where we read our news, why do we still handover reams and reams of paper when a building project is completed?  
I visited a recent airport project in the Middle East where ten, yes thats right TEN (all caps shouting…..this is insane!) paper copies of the O&M Manuals and As Built Drawings (all disciplines) where handed over on completion of the project. Why? Because the specification said so! There is so much paper, there is literally not enough physical storage space on site to store it it. This does not include the reams of paper used to issue drafts for review. 

So, one of the most modern and technically sophisticated, 21st century airport buildings in the world, has As Built information assets in 19th century paper format. Awesome……..

Nobody will use or reference this valuable record information because it will be “user unfriendly”, to search and find information. Over time documents and pages will be taken and not re-filed correctly or returned. This all assumes the As Built information, within this blizzard of paper, is accurate.

To summarize the issue as I see it today, in the 21st Century:

  • O&M Manuals are not normally technically written or systems specific.  Many times they are just copies of equipment catalogues.
  • O&M Manuals & As Built drawings are not digitally delivered. A pile of CD’s with CAD, video and PDF files that cannot be indexed and searched by system is almost worse than paper. 
  • Production, storage and maintenance of information assets is expensive and environmentally unfriendly. 

Ironically, technology is part of the problem as it has made it so easy to replicate and print drawings etc. at a very low cost. The unintended consequence is high levels of paper. If you do not agree with this, please count the printers in your office. 

What is the solution? BIM I hear you say………maybe, but not today or the next five or more years in my opinion. 

IMHO the answer is:

  • Explicitly specify, digital delivery of O&M Manuals, As Built Drawings, Asset Registers, Training Videos etc. 
  • Link delivery of digital O&M Manuals, As Built Drawings, Asset Registers, Training Videos to final payment.
  • Explicitly specify, technically written O&M Manuals. Once these are digitized and become accessible, they need to be accurate and relevant. 

Also there is a potential role for the influencual Green Building Councils that offer Building Certification. LEED, BREEAM, ESTDAMA, GSAS etc. could all introduce a credit point within their systems for removal of paper from the construction delivery process. Saving paper production has to be environmentally friendly as well as user friendly?


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