TRAINING MANUAL | for Operational Staff at Handover with Template

Last Updated: August 16, 2023, by

As we know, a building will usually be designed to operate for a lifespan of at least 25 years; to achieve this, the building operations/facility team must operate and maintain it correctly.

The training manual performs two duties.

First, a well-written training manual is used as part of the commissioning process to ensure that the equipment and systems are handed over correctly and that the operations team is trained and knowledgeable before they take over their future operations.

The second is ensuring quality information and training materials for any new team members to be efficiently and effectively trained.

This article will explore what a training manual is, what should be included, why it is created, and why it is essential to train the operational staff.

🟩 Why is a Training Manual Created?

As noted in the introduction, a training manual is written and used on a project to provide detailed instructions for training the facility/operational staff before handing over the building and its equipment/systems to them.

Four of the most common reasons to incorporate it in a project are:

  • To provide a comprehensive resource for operational staff: it provides the information and resources that the facilities/operational staff will need to be trained and prepared to take over the building systems and its equipment.
  • To ensure that all staff receives the necessary training: the document will help ensure that all facilities/operational staff receive the necessary training and are prepared to take on their new responsibilities.
  • To track progress and evaluate the effectiveness of the training: it is used to allow the project team to track the progress, evaluate the effectiveness of the training and identify any areas where additional training may be required.
  • To provide a future reference for operational staff: once the works have been completed and handed over to the building/facility in operation, the training manual will serve as a reference for the staff as they operate the building’s equipment and systems throughout their life cycle.

🟩 Is a Training Manual the same as an O&M Manual?

No, a Training Manual and an Operating and Maintenance manual [O&M] are not the same document.

A training manual is produced to provide detailed instructions for operational staff training before handing over a building and its systems,

and an O&M manual is a document that provides instructions for physically operating and maintaining the building and its systems throughout its life cycle.

If you want to read more on O&M Manuals, see our article: 'O&M MANUALS | Guide, Format, Documents, File, and Template'
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🟩 When are they Issued & What Is The Process?

Works relating to the training tasks and activities will be conducted throughout the project’s overall construction and commissioning process.

In line with our process noted within this site and the ASHRAE Commissioning Guideline document, the works relating to training will start during the ‘Pre-Design Stage’ where the ‘training requirements should be identified’.

The works will then continue throughout the process [design stage, construction stage] until it concludes at the occupancy and Operations stage.

The table below details a simple overview of when the training tasks and activities are completed:

Commissioning StageTask
Pre-Design StageIdentify Training Requirements and Start Developing the Project Training Manual
Design StageCreate a High Level Training Programme and ensure that the overall Training Requirements are included within the Project tender Documents.
Construction Stage
[includes Commissioning Stage]
Firm up the Training Requirements, Programme and Issue the overall Training Manual.

Start to Manage the Operations/Facilities Team and Deploy the Training, monitoring and reporting on the tasks and activities.
Occupancy and Operations/Handover StageContinue with Training if needed, if not then Closeout.
Continuious Commissioning StageIf Continuious Commissioning is being conducted, monitor if additional training is required.

If is then conduct and update the building training manual for future reference and use.
🔗 To read more on the 'Commisisoning Process' see our article: THE COMMISSIONING PROCESS | Explained [with download flow]

🟩 Who writes the Document?

Depending on the Commissioning Process Stage, a few responsible parties will create the document.

In the beginning, it will usually be the Commissioning Authority [CxA], then later, once the General/Main Contractor is onboard, they will usually take over the document preparation and overall management.

🟩 Roles & Responsibilities

Below the matrix covers the expected roles and responsibilities of the various consultants and contractors throughout the training manual creation and approval.

Create Initial Training RequirementsCommissioning Consultant [Create]
Owner [Support]
Facilities [Support]
MEP Designer [Support]
Approval of the Initial Training RequirementsOwner [Approve]
Facilities [Approve]
MEP Designer [Support]
Inclusion of the Initial Training Requirements within the Tender DocumentationCommissioning Consultant [Create]
Owner [Support]
Facilities [Support]
MEP Designer [Support]
Write 'Construction' Training ManualGeneral/Main Contractor [Create]
Commissioning Consultant [Support]
Owner [Support]
Facilities [Support]
MEP Designer [Support]
Comment on Training ManualCommissioning Consultant [Comment]
Owner [Comment]
Facilities [Comment]
MEP Designer [Support]
Approve Training ManualCommissioning Consultant [Approve]
Owner [Support]
Facilities [Support]
MEP Designer [Support]
Review Training Manual throughout Commissioning ProcessGeneral/Main Contractor [Review]
Commissioning Consultant [Review]
Owner [Support]
Facilities [Support]
MEP Designer [Support]
Update Training Manaul if RequiredGeneral/Main Contractor [Update]
Commissioning Consultant [Support]
Owner [Support]
Facilities [Support]
MEP Designer [Support]
Approve Training Manual UpdatesCommissioning Consultant [Approve]
Owner [Support]
Facilities [Support]
MEP Designer [Support]
Update and Include Training Materials and Final Information for HandoverGeneral/Main Contractor [Update]
Commissioning Consultant [Support]
Owner [Support]
Facilities [Support]
MEP Designer [Support]
Issue Manual as part of the Handover DocumentationGeneral/Main Contractor [Update]
Commissioning Consultant [Support]
Owner [Support]
Facilities [Support]
MEP Designer [Support]
Approve Final Training Manaul and MaterialsCommissioning Consultant [Approve]
Owner [Support]
Facilities [Support]
MEP Designer [Support]
Periodic Reviews and Updating of ManualOwner [Responsible]
Facilities [Support]

🟩 When Should Training be Conducted?

Training for the staff should be conducted as early as possible in the construction process to give the staff as much time as possible to learn and become familiar with the equipment and systems.

It is generally a good idea to start training operational staff at least a few months before handover to allow enough time for training sessions and any additional learning or practice that may be needed.

🟩 What should be included in the Training Manual?

A training manual should include the following elements:

  • Purpose: provides an overview of the training manual and explains its purpose and intended audience,
  • Training objectives: outlines the goals and objectives of the training,
  • Project information: provide specific information on the project/facility the document relates to,
  • Contact information: provides the information of the person/persons who have written and provided the training, including management, general/main contractor, contractors, and vendors,
  • General roles & responsibilities: provides a simple table/matrix showing the roles and responsibilities,
  • Operational staff and experience: includes the skills, knowledge, and experience that the operational staff will need to carry out their tasks safely and efficiently,
  • Training methods: explain what methods will be used to deploy the training,
  • Systems, equipment, and programme: include a full list of the equipment and systems on which the team will be trained, including expected delivery dates.
  • Detailed training information: detail a script/narrative describing each peice of equipment and systems training that will be delivered,
  • Training methods: describes the methods that will be used to deliver the training, such as onsite classroom instruction, remote online courses, or hands-on training,
  • Training schedule/programme: outlines the schedule for training sessions, including the dates, times, and locations of the training,
  • Evaluation and assessment: describes how the effectiveness of the training will be evaluated and progress tracked,
  • Resources and references: provides a list of additional resources that may be helpful during the training sessions, may include technical manuals, operating manuals, online resources, paper, video, whiteboards, computers, tablets, phones, etc,
  • Training results and records: how the sessions will be documented and reported allowing the project team to understand what was done.
  • Ongoing updating and training: explain the requirements for ongoing evaluation and updating of the document, including the schedule to log the evaluation.
To see a template of a Training Manual, scroll to the end of this Article.

🟩 Why is it Important to Train the Staff?

There are several reasons why it is essential to train the operational staff before handover:

  • Safety: the staff is more likely to adhere to safety procedures, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Confidence in emergencies: if there is an emergency, the staff will be more confident reacting if they are knowledgeable about the systems.
  • Efficiency: trained staff are more likely to identify and resolve issues with the building systems quickly, which can save time and money in the long run.
  • Quality: trained and knowledgeable staff will be better equipped to maintain the building’s equipment and systems in line with the expected high level of quality, which can help extend their life.
  • Legal requirements: some building systems, such as pressurized boilers or elevators, may require specialized training to operate and maintain them safely. Training the operational staff on these, if required, can help with this.
  • Smooth handover and transition: conducting training before handover can help ensure a smooth transition from construction to operations, as the staff will be prepared and confident they can run and maintain the equipment and systems.
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🟩 Periodic Updating of the Manual

To ensure that the Training Manual is helpful throughout the building’s life cycle and it can be used effectively, containing up-to-date material, it should be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect any changes that may have occurred since construction completion to the systems.

Checks and changes would focus on items such as:

  • Changes to the usage of any spaces,
  • Refurbishment works,
  • Changes to building system designs and setups,
  • Modifications to any control logic and set points,
  • Upgrading, modifications, or installation of equipment.

The responsibility for this would be the Owner or Facilities Management Company.

🚀 10 Tips for Completing a Great Training Manual

The below ‘tips’ can help create an excellent training manual for the operations team to use and refer to throughout the lifecycle of the building.

Tip 1: Clearly define the Scope & Purpose

This will ensure that the content is focused and relevant to the needs of the staff.

Tip 2: Required Skills, Experience, and Knowledge

Identify the skills, experience, and knowledge the team will need to properly understand and operate the buildings/facilities’ equipment and systems.

Tip 3: Incorporate a Logical & Clear Manual Structure

As there could be a lot of information in the overall training manual, making a logical structure to follow and navigate will help the readers, especially new team members who join well after the project has been handed over.

Use clear headings, subheadings, lists, tables, and other formatting tools.

Tip 4: Use Clear and Concise Language

Use clear and concise language when writing. Avoid jargon or complex technical language that may be unfamiliar to the team.

Tip 5: Include Examples & Case Studies

To help the team digest the information and understand real-world experiences, we can include examples and case studies to push any needed points.

Tip 6: Use Graphics and Visuals

To help illustrate the training, make it more visually stimulating; use graphics and visuals, such as diagrams, charts, and images.

Tip 7: Conduct Regular Reviews

Throughout the three phases of the building’s life construction, commissioning, and operating, ensure that the manual is regularly reviewed and, where necessary, updated with any new content added. This will ensure that it remains accurate and relevant throughout the life cycle of the building.

Tip 8: Utilize Various Types of Training Materials

The overall training does not need to only focus on black-and-white words. Various other training materials, such as videos, slideshows, and interactive exercises, can keep the team engaged and the training enjoyable.

Tip 9: Include Assessments and Quizzes

To keep the team engaged in the training and stop them from nodding off, include assessments and/or quizzes throughout the training manual to ensure that the staff retains the information and can apply it to their work.

Tip 10: Include any External Resources

Include resources and references that the team can use to continue learning and improving their skills after completing the training.

🟩 Training Manual Template for Download

To help us expand the site and create more resources, we created the documentation below in [Microsoft Word] for download.

Click the ‘Buy It Now‘ button to purchase the fully editable copy of the document below, which can be used immediately.

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