Part of the LEED certification process is to assure that training is provided, but what kind of training is needed, who should provide the training, and who should receive the training?  I got to thinking about this and thought about how training has always been required in contract specification.  The number one problem with implementing training is that it is done at the end of the job when one of the following scenarios occurs:

Contractor is behind on the project schedule and:
  • Had not planned sufficiently in advance to provide training to the facility staff.
  • Is more focused on finishing up the work and less interested in providing a good, comprehensive training program.
  • Thinks the traditional method of the trade contractors providing a limited training process with no handouts or O&M manuals in-hand is adequate.
  • Doesn't think training is as important as turning over the job to the building owner.

The building owner hasn't planned ahead of time to receive training and:
  • Does not make available, the staff for training.
  • Has not signed up personnel or contracted for personnel to receive training, as well as take on the O&M management responsibilities.
  • Is more focused on getting the occupants into the new building.

The design team has not put sufficient thought and specification requirement into the training plan and:
  • Overlooked that there isn't adequate construction budget to fund a comprehensive training program.
  • Indicated the training will be completed prior to certificate of occupancy without planning how this will occur should the job be behind schedule.
  • Left the training plan process and its timetable up to the contractor.

Each of these scenarios contribute to inadequate training of O&M personnel training, but probably the most critical obstacle preventing training from occurring is the culture change that is needed to implement this process.  For the general contractor or the construction manager, they see it as a trade contractor responsibility.  The trade contractors, who competitively bid to get the work didn't carry sufficient training funds in their fee, so they are not going to initiate anything beyond status quo.

The design team will quickly point out it is not their responsibility to be provide training because it wasn't in their fee to do so.  This team may specify a detailed training plan, but who is going to enforce it?  It's not their responsibility so it falls back to the general contractor or construction manager who simply passes it down to the trades to do the job.  The building owner probably wishes the staff would receive the proper training, but it isn't in the construction budget so is it in the annual O&M budget?  Probably not.  Then again, the O&M staff may not even be hired until the closing days of the project construction, and the contractor may be off the hook because of insufficient staff availability because the facility group is overwhelmed with the size and complexity.  By the time the facility staff has a grasp on the building function, the contractor and trade contractors are long gone.

So, when specifying training and emphasizing the commissioning firm's responsibility to review the training plans, please make sure the contractor, building owner, and the design team are all committed to investing time and money to training and committed to a specific training timeline.  Providing training probably isn't in the commissioning firm's fee either.