Article #117 Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) Scoring for Building Projects

The Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) is a tool developed by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) to evaluate the quality of the project scope definition. It is a proven method to quantify the level of scope development during the project’s early design stages where a project can receive a PDRI score between 0 and 1000. There are different PDRI scoring templates for Building Projects, Industrial Projects, and Infrastructure Projects. The PDRI for building projects consists of three sections, eleven categories, and sixty-four scope definition elements.

The three sections of the PDR checklist for Building Projects are the Basis of Project Decision, the Basis of Design, and the Execution Approach. The eleven categories are business strategy, owner philosophies, and project requirements for the basis of the project decision section. For the basis of the design section, the categories are site information, building programming, building/ project design parameters, and equipment. For the third section, the execution approach, the categories are procurement strategy, deliverables, project controls, and project execution plan. The sixty-four scope definition elements are associated with those eleven categories. The chart below details the eight scope definition elements that are associated with the building/ project design parameters category of the basis of the design section.

The benefits of using the PDRI checklist as reported by NASA based on their PDRI experience include:

  • A checklist that a project team can use for determining the necessary steps to follow in defining the project scope
  • A listing of standardized scope definition terminology throughout the building industry
  • An industry standard for rating the completeness of the project scope definition package to facilitate risk assessment and prediction of escalation, the potential for disputes, etc.
  • A means to monitor progress at various stages during the front-end planning effort
  • A tool that aids in communication and promotes alignment between owners and design contractors by highlighting poorly defined areas in a scope definition package
  • A means for project team participants to reconcile differences using a common basis for project evaluation
  • A training tool for organizations and individuals throughout the industry
  • A benchmarking tool for organizations to use in evaluating completion of scope definition versus the performance of past projects, both within their organization and externally, to predict the probability of success on future projects

Using Project Management Information System (PMI) like PMWeb, the PDRI checklist for project type can be created to be used by the project team at each PDRI workshop held during the project life cycle’s early stages. The PDRI is usually done at the concept, schematic, and design development stages. For each scope definition element, the project team member will add the score value that is relevant to the PDRI definition level which could be Not Applicable, Complete Definition, Minor Deficiencies, Some Deficiencies, Major Deficiencies, and Poor Definition.

The PMWeb form has been designed with built-in formulas to calculate the total score of each category and section as well as the overall PDRI score. Using the PMWeb attachment tab, the project team can attach all documents that were used during the PDRI workshop to calculate the score which will be usually uploaded and stored in the PMWeb document management repository. In addition, all relevant PMWeb records and imported MS Outlook emails can be linked to the PDRI form.

Similar to all other PMWeb modules, a workflow can be assigned to the PDRI form to ensure that it gets reviewed and approved by the designated project team members. Since the PDRI report is one of the formal “stage-gate” deliverables that project owners usually would request, it must be formally reviewed and approved.

The reported PDRI score report can be presented in any desired format to present to the project stakeholders the results of the workshop and the scope elements that either have a complete definition, minor deficiencies, some deficiencies, major deficiencies, or incomplete definition. The report needs to be designed in a format that makes it easy for those stakeholders to understand the quality of the project scope definition which if not rectified can negatively impact the project’s schedule and cost.

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 US $5 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment and Shopping Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, 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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