Building Design

New Product Suite Aims to Ease Operations and Maintenance Handover for Capital Projects

25 Feb, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff

Aconex Smart Manuals helps contractors to organize deliverables and owners to easily access and update records.


Aconex today launched Aconex Smart Manuals, a suite of products that promises to ease a burden faced by every contractor: collecting, organizing, and handing over deliverables at the end of a construction or engineering project. Owners themselves can use Aconex Smart Manuals to maintain that documentation over the operating life of the built asset.

Aconex is known in the AECO market for its widely used, cloud-based Aconex collaboration platform for construction, infrastructure, energy, and resources projects. To date, the company reports, it has served more than 300,000 users on projects valued at more than $700 billion.

“Aconex Smart Manuals extends the business benefits of the Aconex online collaboration platform to the transition from construction to operations and asset information management,” said Kerri Lee Sinclair, Aconex vice-president of operations and maintenance solutions. “When all project team members collaborate in real time to compile digital documentation — with a complete audit trail — contractors are assured of meeting their obligations, closing the account and moving on to the next project. At the same time, owners can proceed with confidence to realize the full value of their asset through efficient operations and maintenance.”

Traditionally during handovers, the general contractor rushes to gather information from subcontractors and assemble it for delivery to the owner. This labor- and paper-intensive process often results in inaccurate and incomplete information, increasing the owner’s maintenance risks and operating costs, which can account for as much as 60% to 70% of the total asset lifecycle cost.

“What we’ve found is when it comes to handing over all that information required by operations for the rest of the building lifecycle, typically that is not done very well,” said Sinclair. The “operational reality,” she explained, is that facilities managers and engineers end up managing a great deal of disorganized paper records often stored in unfavorable conditions. This leads to wasted time, missing information, and damaged or destroyed records.

Using Smart Manuals, Aconex reports, contractors can efficiently capture, review, and deliver the documentation of the built asset. Once the project phase ends, instead of handing over truckloads of paper rolls and binders, the contractor can deliver all the contractually obligated documentation on one thumb drive.

Product Options

The Aconex Smart Manuals suite includes three products designed to offer contractors and owners a range of options to meet specific needs and budgets.

  • Aconex Smart Manuals enables contractors to define and assign subcontractor tasks and deliverables, automate review and approval processes, monitor all subcontractor actions and performance, maintain a complete and searchable audit trail, and deliver comprehensive, accurate digital manuals to owners. ‘Smart’ differentiators include the ability to navigate graphically to physical assets and access their associated information and to leverage industry best practices in online collaboration, including projectwide workflow processes and information management.
  • Aconex Smart Manuals Dynamic extends the capabilities of Aconex Smart Manuals to owners for updating and managing operations and maintenance manuals throughout the lifecycle of the asset. The product is integrated with the Aconex online collaboration platform, enabling users to access and manage asset information in a secure, cloud-based environment.
  • Aconex Digital Manuals is a streamlined version of Aconex Smart Manuals that provides centralized communications and information management as well as status monitoring for all subcontractor tasks and actions, enabling contractors to deliver professional digital manuals compiled progressively during the project.



Using Aconex Smart Manuals, building owners can navigate to the desired records – including floor plans; electrical, plumbing, hydraulic, and fire systems data; photographs, and more – to review or update information. A video demonstration of Smart Manuals is available on the Aconex web site.

Owners of hospitals, schools, office towers, and airports are among the first to recognize the value and require delivery of digital documentation at the conclusion of a building project, Sinclair said. She added, “We’ve seen a strong growth in power” – power-generation plants are complex facilities and have a very long lifecycle. “Having access to information quickly for restoring outages is critical.”

Other customers include entities that manage public spaces and other locations where people gather for events, where owners must ensure and demonstrate compliance with fire and sanitation codes. Bridge projects also benefit. Referring to a project in the United Kingdom, where facility managers have been beta testing Smart Manuals, Sinclair said, “They are absolutely thrilled with this product. It’s very complex to manage a bridge. With Smart Manuals, they can quickly access information to solve problems that come up.”

Aconex Smart Manuals and Aconex Digital Manuals can be used standalone for projects already in progress or integrated with the Aconex collaboration platform from project inception. Pricing for Aconex and Aconex Smart Manuals varies, based on the value of the construction project.


About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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