This is the last article in a series about the typical stages and phases of complex engineering projects. Each article takes one stage and describes how Assai supports the requirements and common challenges of that stage – ultimately contributing to the efficient, timely, (cost-)effective and safe delivery of projects.

The Handover stage is the last and 9th stage in complex engineering projects.

Handover (and start-up) in a nutshell

After pre-commissioning and commissioning are completed, the built facility can be started up (start-up or SU phase). This may involve a series of complex actions and evaluations of different scenarios and configuration settings. The various systems and components are slowly ramped up to normal operating levels, while checking for any issues and optimizing performance.

Eventually, the facility needs to be formally handed over from the project team/contractor to the team or organization responsible for operating the facility, often an owner-operator. The handover from a project to operations is sometimes abbreviated as P2A (project-to-asset). This is normally not just a date but a process of transition, which may already be started earlier in the project by involving operations staff there (e.g. in pre-commissioning or even earlier).

Once the operations team has received the required information, training and tools (Operational Readiness), and performance requirements have been met, official acceptance certificates tend to be issued to the project team (or contractor). First a Provisional Acceptance Certificate (PAC), followed by a Final Acceptance Certificate (FAC) after passing a performance guarantee period. This marks the end of the project and the transfer of all responsibilities from the project to operations.

Documentation handover

A key aspect in any handover, is getting all required/relevant documents and drawings across to operations (e.g. metadata, native files, PDF renditions). These deliverables need to have the required approvals – perhaps accompanied by stamps or digital signatures inside the files – and to have reached the required status (e.g. ASB – “As-Built” for drawings, and IFU – “Issued for Use” for documents).

A handover requires careful preparation, deliverable selection, and keeping track of what was or still has to be handed over. Depending on the size and complexity of the asset, planning timelines and corporate policies, the documentation handover schedule may vary. It may be done all at once or in batches, e.g. weekly or whenever deliverables are ready to be handed over (‘progressive handover’).

Earlier in the project, there may already have been (documentation) handovers between project stages, where one party transferred information and responsibilities to the party responsible for the next project stage. Or perhaps just making a selection of project deliverables which should be carried forward into the next project stage (e.g. from FEED to Detailed Design). Although this article focuses on the final handover from a project to operations, most principles of using an eDMS like Assai to support handovers also apply to the handovers between project stages. The Operations phase (with Maintenance & Modifications) is out of scope for this article series. However, Assai support for the asset lifecycle does not stop there. Assai also provides strong support and dedicated functionality for Operations environments and related organizational roles, such as: chief operation officer (COO), plant management, operations support manager, change (MOC) manager, supply chain officers, quality control, maintenance reliability engineers, and operations engineers.

Handover of digital documentation
Digital handover of documentation is possible with Assai.

How Assai supports Handover

Assai provides out-of-the-box functionality for all project stages (and operations), based on more than 30 years of experience. Key Assai features supporting handover include:

  • Special handover attributes on individual documents (e.g. handover required, handover completed, handover date, required status; all updatable in bulk)
  • Digital (bulk) stamping and electronic signatures (DocuSign®)
  • Create an Operations’ environment in minutes, in line with project standards & procedures
  • Digital handovers within Assai, between project stages or from projects to operations
  • Easily filter out the documents and drawings required by operations
  • Easily filter out documents and drawings that are ready to be handed over
  • Hand over latest revisions only or include older revisions too
  • Include native files by default or only where required for the individual document
  • Select which metadata attributes to include and exclude
  • Automatic population of handover date and “handover completed” flag
  • Progressive handovers, using the “handover completed” flag and related properties
  • Alternatively, bulk-export metadata and files from Assai for importing into other systems
  • Detailed handover history for both sides; optional transmittals for additional tracking
  • Dedicated reports to keep track of handover readiness and handover progress
  • Records Management module for records to be frozen and retained
  • Detailed audit trails; coverage against liability
  • Advanced reporting capabilities and Power BI integration
Handover preparation, tracking and reporting in Assai

Plus, as seen in previous articles:

  • Assai offers a proven, specialized, user-friendly and secure eDMS for all project deliverables, no matter the project size or complexity. Everything is traceable and can be reported on.
  • Assai Cloud (or on-premises) is a flexible, turnkey solution with out-of-the-box support for engineering projects from start to end, plus operations, maintenance & modifications, and Digital Twin environments.


We hope you found this article about handovers from projects to operations interesting and useful. Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback, or if you would like to explore with us how Assai could support your project(s) and/or operations.

A short summary of what was discussed in this article:

  • The handover from a project to operations occurs after commissioning and start-up, but is often a longer period of transition, whereby the project team (or contractor) hands over information, documentation and responsibilities to Operations.
  • The final handover of a facility (incl. all relevant documentation) is often recorded by a Final Acceptance Certificate (FAC), which also marks the end of the project.
  • Assai offers dedicated, smart handover functionality and other powerful features that support the efficient and timely completion of handovers between project stages and from projects to operations.
  • Many industry leaders worldwide trust Assai as their eDMS solution of choice, which is based on 30+ years of industry experience and best practices. Assai promises (and delivers) true out-of-the-box support for all project stages including handover, plus for operations, maintenance & modifications, and Digital Twins.

Download the 50+ page PDF!

If you would like to read all articles in a 50+ page PDF which you can print or distribute in your organization, you can download them via the form below:

Previous stage: Pre-commissioning

All articles in this series:

Feasibility Study
Conceptual Design
Detailed Design
Procurement & Fabrication
Construction & Installation
Handover (current article)

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