One of the standard practices on construction projects is using predefined document templates to manage the different processes that need to be performed when delivering those projects. Those documents are crucial for capturing the details of everyday data generated on those projects. Those forms could include Requests for Information, Site Work Instructions, Work Inspection Requests, Work Permits, Submittals, Transmittals, Change Orders, Progress Invoices, Safety Violations, Confirmation of Verbal Instruction, Non-Compliance Reports, and Interface Agreements, among many others. All those templates include fields for document number, issuance date, status, and issuer name. In addition, many of those templates might consist of fields for specification division and specification section.
Nevertheless, for project entities keen on having better and more comprehensive control over their projects, those document templates need to be associated with the project’s schedule, and the project cost needs to exist. The association with the project schedule requires having the WBS level, project schedule activity, and physical location of works need to be part of each document template. As for the association with the project cost, each document template needs to have the cost breakdown structure (CBS) or cost account field part of the document template.
Of course, this also needs a single digital platform to manage all project management processes associated with the predefined document templates, project schedule, and project cost. Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb provides an integrated web-enabled platform to manage all project management processes needed to deliver the construction project.
For example, the Work Inspection Report (WIR), one of the hundreds of document templates, is used on construction projects. One of the best practices for this is to have a unique document template for each project specification section, as the items to be inspected will differ depending on the work to be examined. This will ensure that the inspection is performed following the contract agreement and that a complete inspection is performed. To provide better and more comprehensive control, the WIR document template should include fields for the WBS level, project schedule activity, physical location of work, and cost breakdown structure (CBS).
The WBS levels and project schedule activities created in Primavera P6 or MS Project will be imported to PMWeb using the default schedule link option. This will make it possible for each user of those document templates to select the appropriate WBS level and project schedule activity associated with each transaction.
To achieve the desired level of control, the project schedule needs to be detailed to the level that identifies the work’s physical location. Suppose the project schedule is required to be described at the location level. In that case, it is recommended to create a field to capture the physical location of the performed work associated with the document template. The values of those physical locations will be populated in the PMWeb List module to enable having a predefined list of values to select from.
The cost breakdown structure (CBS) will be defined in the PMWeb Cost Account module. Those will be the CBS values used in all PMWeb cost records, including a cost estimate, budget, budget adjustments, commitments, change orders, progress invoices, revenue contracts, change orders, interim payment applications, miscellaneous invoices, and timesheets. In addition, the CBS created in PMWeb should be the same CBS used in the organization’s financial and accounting system and the project schedule if it was used in making the cost-loaded schedule. Further, it will be the same CBS used in the cost estimating software or PMWeb estimating module when the project cost estimate was developed.
For the daily report and timesheet document templates, the labor and equipment resources will be part of those templates. This is needed to associate the consumed resources with their relevant project schedule, WBS level, and cost breakdown structure (CBS) account.
Of course, the control level continues. For each document template created in PMWeb, include the Work Inspection Request (WIR) form. PMWeb allows attaching all supportive documents to the template. Those could include pictures, videos, drawings, specifications, and catalogs. In addition, links to other related PMWeb records and MS Outlook emails were imported into PMWeb. Of course, the PMWeb document management repository will be used to create the folders and subfolders needed to upload and store documents so they can be aligned with the physical filing structure that is usually part of every construction project.
To conclude the need for ultimate project control, each PMWeb document template can be assigned a workflow to capture the steps needed for submitting, reviewing, and approving those records. The PMWeb workflow, a must for enforcing accountability in the review and approval process, will also include the conditions needed to enforce compliance with approval authority levels. The actual review and approval dates and comments will be captured for each document template to become part of the project’s data that can be reported on.
By having everyday projects data that is associated with the project schedule WBS levels and activities, as well as the physical location of completed work, if needed, and the relevant cost breakdown structure (CBS) on a single platform, it provides unlimited opportunities on how to track, monitor, evaluate, visualize and report on this massive volume of trust-worthy, auditable and traceable data. The captured data in the tens of thousands of transactions using the hundreds of predefined document templates can be reported at any desired WBS level, activity, location, or cost breakdown structure (CBS) in the preferred form and format. Further, by automating the project management processes needed to complete those predefined document templates, the captured data will be trustworthy, auditable, and traceable, with accountability enforced in providing this big high-quality data.
About the Author
Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM, is a Senior Project Management Consultant with over 35-year service record providing project management and controls 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 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 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 over six years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), an accredited Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP), an Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE), and a Green Project Management (GPM).
Bassam holds a Master’s in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation from George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – from Kuwait University, Kuwait, and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, and London Business School, London, UK.