If you work in the property industry in a design or management role, I am sure you will have come across the problem of finding documents from your buildings original construction.  It can be impossible to locate drawings, reports and other historic documents relating to the buildings original design and construction.

This often becomes a problem when the building is being sold and the historic documents are not available for review by the purchaser to enable verification of the building characteristics during due diligence.  Also, it is a real problem when a building changes managing agents and the existing managing agent neglects to pass documents onto the incoming managing agent.  When this happens several times over a buildings life cycle, it is common for a building to be left with no historic records.  I have been told several times in response to my request for design documents that “Trev or Ann used to have them all on a CD but they retired two years ago and we don’t know where the CD is gone”.  I am not exaggerating, this has happened, but most building managers really do struggle to locate important documents through no fault of their own.

We have also witnessed firsthand the wasted time taken to locate documents when a building is being sold or purchased.  The inability to locate critical documents like the building certificate of classification, the fire engineers report or the external façade drawings for example can cost thousands of dollars and has been known to stop a sale because of the risk associated with the lack of information available for critical building details.  Another problem we have experienced first hand is the time architects and engineers waste, by redesigning and redrawing areas in the building in CAD, because the original documents are lost and cannot be found.

Building Plans

Because of this we have designed and developed a solution that records building information is a way that prevents it from being lost and will always be easy to find for the entire life of the building.  The system we call “Knowledge Management” allows you to store your building documents is a secure cloud based virtual file server.  You can access your building documents with your personal web access password anywhere and at any time.  We set up the knowledge management files for you and in a file format that is to your specific needs.  Knowledge management is easy to use and with a little training can be successfully navigated by just about anyone.

Having seen the solution recently, Stewart Cavin, CBRE’s National Building Consultancy Director says “This is a fantastic solution if you work in the property purchases and sales as I do.  If a building owner has this system in place when they are selling their building, it makes the technical due diligence process that much easier and faster because the documentation needed to complete a building review is readily available and takes no time at all to find”

Andrew Bartlett, Director of Asset Services CBRE, noted that after witnessing the operation of the KMS, “I would consider this system for any commercial building as it saves me so much time managing building documents. In fact, you can allow your maintenance contractors viewing access to the system so that they can find what the need without me having to waste time going through old document records to issue to them”

We would be interested to hear about your experiences with similar problems when trying to locate building documents.

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