On a scale of 1-10, how much do you like collecting, managing, and tracking documents? If you are like most people, you fall on the lower end of that scale! The problem is that documentation is critical to construction projects. It’s how we communicate what is supposed to happen prior to a project in addition to providing evidence and history to occurrences during the job.
Documentation, coupled with data from various systems (project management, ERP, HRMS, etc.) is how project managers come to understand the project and task ahead of them to identify potential risk. Access to timely information is critical to their ability to anticipate problems and take corrective action. The sooner a problem is identified, the less expensive it is to fix!
Complicating the documentation task for construction companies are the many participants in the construction process. From owners to architects, engineers, contractors and subcontractors - all with different systems - it's easy to see how documentation can quickly get difficult to manage.
As long as all the documentation is kept, someone should be able to find it right? How often is any of it accessed anyway? Can't we just scan it all and stick it “in the cloud”? If only it were that simple…
There is tremendous storage available “in the cloud” and many construction companies are putting documents there. If you are one of them, don’t be ashamed, you’re not alone. By putting documents in one of the generic cloud storage apps you are getting something better than paper, but not much. Typically those apps make it easy to get information in and some even let you perform some basic searches. The problem usually presents itself in court when you realize you’ve created a digital dumping ground of information. With few controls over how documents and data are collected, identified, and stored, you now face the expensive situation of having lawyers spend hours looking for specific information from thousands of documents on your time!
What about the specialty contractor that is told to use the building owner’s system. What happens at close out? How do they get their documents and information to keep for their records? What if they shut off that system or go out of business? Did the specialty contractor keep duplicate records?
Other related problems start showing up:
Version control – who has the official copy? If a change was made, was everyone notified?
Email management – emails are a part of the history. How are they collected through the project?
Third party participants – with so many companies participating in large projects, how do you collect information and documents from a variety of sources?
Multiple storage locations/systems – often employees find a way to store information they feel is important in a manner that is easy for them, but not in a manner consistent with corporate policy. They are creating a liability for the company!
Documents critical to the process include:
- Meeting notes and minutes
- Drawings and specifications
- Insurance certificates
- Payroll records
- Incident reports
- The list goes on and on...
How do you get control of this mess?
Digital transformation is a continuous process and we can be your guide. Most companies use a variety of software and process controls to address the problem.
We have identified 5 trends to help you seize the opportunities to outpace the competition, control expenses, and have a profound impact on project success and put it all in a neat and easy to read whitepaper.
You can download the free whitepaper here.