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Installation manuals? At your service!

For us, setting up an installation manual is always a threefold exercise. First, we want to achieve optimal safety. Second, concentrating on operational reliability is of paramount importance. Third, maintenance (costs) should be as low as possible.

This threefold approach comes to the fore in an installation manual we made for V&T Fencing. V&T is a manufacturer of fencing systems. Its manual meets all legal requirements. That is one of the reasons why this manual is TüV approved, TüV being a well-respected German inspection institution.

What is a good installation manual?

What does a good installation manual look like? That depends largely on the people one is writing for. For example, for an IKEA chair, a leaflet with only the relevant installation illustrations will do. These illustrations tell you what to do first and which tools to use (a screwdriver?). Text most probably is not necessary.

However, an installation manual for a temporary Bailey bridge cannot do without words. That is because extra safety measures have to be taken in order for the bridge to function properly and safely. These safety measures have to be explicit: “1. Replace the screws with new ones after building the bridge three times. 2. Make sure to use screws XYZ with a diameter of xx.”

Also, as with any manual, the tone of voice in an installation manual is important. Simple instructions may not need words at all. Take the IKEA leaflets for example. But if words are needed, make sure to provide the right amount of detail. Explain someone who wants to install a washing machine that he might need a screwdriver. But do not mention the need of (a) screwdriver(s) to a mechanic who builds Bailey bridges daily. He would be offended, and rightly so.

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