Friday, February 15, 2013

Getting to Know Your Building: Writing an Operations Manual

Are you new to managing a small museum? I bet you feel comfortable with your area(s) of expertise, but managing a facility might not be a part of your life or work experiences.
If you do not have something like an operations manual at your facility now, then you and your facilities manager should begin assembling one immediately. (I inherited my building from the county with nothing but a set of original architectural drawings.) If precious little material exists to get you started, begin by documenting what the facilities manager is doing or having done. Knowing exactly when lightbulbs get changed (and approximately how many hours you get out of them) will, in the end, give you an excellent idea of your building’s life cycle. This documentation will tell you when regular maintenance needs to occur and what tasks need doing at the change of seasons. Record everything, even the seemingly unimportant—it is impossible to know immediately upon occupying a new (to you) building where everything is or what everything represents. At some point, you will identify the spigot for which you have found the water shutoff.
The following items would be a great start for a basic operations manual:

1. As-built drawings of the building
  • Building map (floor plan)
  • Lighting map
  • Alarm map
  • All rooms with numbers or names
  • Circuit map (detailing which circuit breakers control which outlets and lights)
  • Plumbing map or information about the locations of shutoff valves
  • Fire-suppression system map
2. Major modification or renovation description and drawings

3. Basic maintenance schedule of building and grounds
  • Daily cleaning
  • Weekly cleaning
  • Monthly cleaning
  • Deep cleaning schedule
  • Filter change in HVAC system
  • Periodic tree-trimming and gutter-cleaning schedule
  • Major grounds keeping activities, such as fertilization, annual plantings, leaf removal

4. Other documentation

  • Material safety data sheets for all chemicals used in the building
  • Warranty or purchase records for building tools and equipment
  • Manuals or other operating information for the museum’s HVAC system
  • Contact and contract information for vendors who regularly service the building
  • Key and alarm-code policy and current key log
  • Notes on discoveries that the facilities manager has made

In addition to the basics, you may wish to include things like environmental readings taken from data loggers or hygrothermographs, periodic light-level readings, floor-load information, and elevator sizes and load capacities. In fact, if you and your facilities manager have time to fill out the American Association of Museums Registrars Committee’s General Facilities Report, you will have a great deal of vital information about your facility all in one place.
Be sure to keep your operations manual up to date. Any time you have major work done at your facility, make sure that you gather all this important information and place it in the operations manual, purging superseded information. Review your operations manual yearly with your facilities manager to ensure that it has all the information you need.
Claudia J. Nicholson has thirty years of experience in history museums and historical agencies, as well as a master’s degree in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. An experienced curator, she became executive director, fundraiser, curator, educator, press officer, and tour guide at the North Star Museum of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting in North St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2005. Her chapter was written based on her experience converting a non- purpose-built structure into a history museum.


  1. Your tips are really helpful! Gutter Cleaning Dallas also has roof and gutter services for people in Texas.

  2. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post. The whole blog is very nice found some good stuff and good information here Thanks..Also visit my page
    As Built Drawings

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome info! I am looking forward to see more postsby you!
    end of lease cleaning melbourne

  4. Awesome and interesting article. Great things you've always shared with us. Thanks.
    Daniel S

  5. Thanks for the nice link list. Great helpful. Your collection of this link is Superb.Interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you
    Residential cleaning | office cleaning
    carpet cleaning geelong | furniture cleaning geelong

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.


  9. Building Maintenance Baton Rouge. We can work with owners and investors to develop a plan Building Maintenance Baton Rouge”Facilities maintenance is a difficult challenge for homeowners and businesses both large and small in Louisiana.

  10. The previous customers of a home building company is one of the oldest and surest ways to acquire relevant information about them.

  11. This is a wonderful blog post. It is related to the home based article. I like it very much. I really thankful to this awesome blog post. Please keep sharing this type of blog to help us.

    Waiheke island builders

  12. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!
     carpet cleaning buford ga

  13. كل هذة الخدمات مقدمة من شركة ركن نجد كذلك خدمات شركة تنظيف بجدة معتمدين علي الكفائة المهنية التي نتشرف بتقديمها لكم عملائنا الكرام وكذلك المعدات والماكينات الحديثة التي تمتلكها الشركة في سعينا الدائم لكي نكون افضل شركة تنظيف بجدة .
    جميع خدمات  شركة ركن نجد شركة تنظيف منازل بجدة مضمونة وتستخدم افضل تقنيات ومعدات التنظيف وكذلك مواد التنظيف المستخدمة لا تتسبب ابدا في اية اضرار للرخام الاسباني او احواض المياه اليطالي والتي اذا تم استخدام الاسيد عليها يتم افسادها وافساد الشكل العام لها وكذلك خدمات التنظيف المميزة تشمل :

  14. You will have to submit your blog in these blog directories and once it is accepted you will gain relevant links with your anchor text or URL on it. top backlinks

  15. The social and social esteems and standards are additionally greatly affects the instructive framework as though we attempt to drive somebody to contemplate what is against of his way of life that may cause the psychological unsettling influences and variations from the norm.

  16. Building writing is really very important for new students. To learn this skill properly we can click here and open this blog easily. We can promote this blog on social media and get some reward after the promotion of this blog.

  17. I just love to read your post. I am trying to start writing after see your Writing an Operations Manual post in your website. I get an idea. Thank you so much.

  18. Good piece of writing. The writing skills can be polish by the time. You can inherit this habit too but still you need more practice and also must get help from professionals. An expert can lead you proper way.

  19. The documentation handling is not an easy task at all. You need to know dealing of writing pattern for your article.

  20. Infrastructure is really a difficult task but thses tips are worth reading. It not only helps to build a good outlook but also make us understand the importance of such outlook.

  21. Hello! Thank you for your post. It is really important to write manual correctly. Sometimes I use and it helps save my time and they do it qualitative and fast. If it your business you need to know how to write manuals or engage other resources. It is not esy but you can try do it by yourself.

  22. Hello! Thank you for your post. It is really important to write manual correctly. Sometimes I use
    and it helps save my time and they do it qualitative and fast. If it your business you need to know how to write manuals or engage other resources. It is not esy but you can try do it by yourself.

  23. Thanks for sharing informative post. Looking for best window cleaning Sunshine coast, we are the professional cleaning company offering window cleaning, bond cleaning & other cleaning services.