Article #014 Documenting, Monitoring, and Tracking Verbal Instructions in Construction Projects


Most construction contract agreements provided the site supervision consultant with the authority to issue oral instructions to the contractor. Those instructions could be to postpone the works, remedy workmanship, goods, or materials which are not by the contract, sanction a variation made by the contractor, about the expenditure of provisional sums, open up work for inspection, carry out tests, or to exclude persons from the site. The contractor must confirm the oral instruction (verbal instruction) to the site supervision consultant within seven days of receiving the verbal instruction. If the site supervision consultant does not dissent from that confirmation within seven days from receipt of the written confirmation, the instruction then takes effect.

Project Management Information Systems (PMIS) like PMWeb can be used to manage, monitor, and track verbal instructions on construction projects. PMWeb custom form builder will be used to create the Confirmation of Verbal Instruction (CVI) document template to include all needed fields. Those would usually include details of the verbal instruction such as subject, the instruction given by, date, project location, and the contractor’s representative who have received the instruction. The form could also have the option to detail the action that the contractor will take until the confirmation of the verbal instruction is received. For example, it can include the following two action options “We are making the necessary arrangements to carry out this work and request that your formal written instructions be issued within 5 days” or “We will not proceed with this work until a formal written instruction is received”.

The attachments tab will be used to upload and attach all documents and project records that are related to the verbal instruction given to the contractor. Those could include for example drawings, pictures, videos, and other types of documents or records associated with the verbal instruction.

The workflow assigned for the Confirmation of Verbal Instruction (CVI) will take into consideration all the review, approval, and final approval steps needed to confirm the verbal instruction. On selected projects, there could be a need to involve the project owner’s representative and project management consultant in the review cycle.

Similar to other projects’ formal communication, and an output form will be needed to capture the details of the Confirmation of Verbal Instruction (CVI). The sample output below shows an example of the CVI form with all needed approvals and signatures. The form could be designed in any desired form and format.

The Verbal Confirmation Instruction (CVI) Status Report will aggregate the CVI data across the complete projects portfolio that the organization has. For the selected project or project portfolio, the dashboard will group the CVIs by reason as well as by location. The dashboard will also show the number of CVIs grouped by the duration it took to confirm the instruction. For durations that are more than 7 calendar days, those will be colored in “Red”. The dashboard will also include a summary tabular log of CVIs.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with more than 35-year service record providing project management and control services to over 100 projects with a total value of over the US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, and Telecommunication and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training, and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker on topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management, and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 35 years, he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South America. He has written more than 250 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA and London Business School, London, UK.


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