Article #376 Why Should Entities Involved in Delivering Capital Construction Projects Standardize the Implementation, Maintenance and Storage of Project Records?

One of the common requirements on every capital construction project is the requirement to standardize the implementation, maintenance and storage of project records. Project Records normally include a project file, original drawings and superseding revisions, specifications and reports. The project file will require a number of separate and distinct files that will be known as the “Project Filing System”. It is important that individuals from the entities involved in delivering the project to adhere to the “Project Filing System” as is it reduces time to establish a project and to file documents in their proper place, allows Project Managers and other project team members to memorize standard section and subsection numbers for ease of filing and it expedites the search for information well after the project has been completed.

The Project File Room which will be the place to store all project records shall be located at or adjacent to the Project Manager’s room. Under no circumstances shall the original project file documents be maintained separately away from the Project File Room. If project information is to be distributed to other members of the project team, copies of the original documents may be used. At the completion of the project, the Project Manager shall transfer all Project Records to storage following the set procedures for archiving project records and documents.

Project Records that are common to capital construction projects include feasibility study, incoming and outgoing correspondence, request for information, technical submittals including shop drawings and as-built drawings, work inspection requests, safety incidents, permits to work, safety violations, daily reports, meeting minutes, punch lists, awarded contracts and issued purchase orders, interim payment certificates, change orders, claims, risk register, site work instructions, non-compliance reports, confirmation of verbal instructions among others. The Project Filing System will be structured using what is known as the Folder Breakdown Structure (FBS).

Similar to work breakdown structure (WBS), the first level of the FBS will be the project. The second level will be the project life cycle stage which would usually include general, pre-construction, construction and handover. The third FBS level will details each stage. For example, the pre-construction stage from a project owner perspective, the FBS will include the folders for Project Details and Statistics, Consultant Procurement Process, Contracts and Variations, Project Plans and Schedules among others. The third FBS level, will detail those folders further. For examples, for the Claims and Legal folder, the FBS could include the folders for Claims Submission, Claims Reviews, EOT Memo and Resolutions and Approved EOT. The last FBS level will further detail the folders of the earlier level. For example, for Correspondence folder, there could be two sub-folders, sent and received.

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It is a recommended practice that each entity standardizes the “Project Filing System” across their complete projects’ portfolio. Not only this will ease and accelerate the adoption of the project filing system but also make it easy to located needed records and documents. In addition, this will improve the transfer of project records and documents when handing over the project to the maintenance and operation team.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb, organizations can achieve the two most important Project Filing System requirements. The first is generating all required project records using PMWeb to automate all project management processes. The output forms and reports associated with each project management process can be saved in PDF file format or it can be digitally signed or printed and wet-signed.

The second Project Filing System requirement that PMWeb will fulfil is to create the filing breakdown structure (FBS) to upload and store project records and documents. For each created folder, PMWeb allows defining attributes data fields in case there is a need to better categorize and describe the uploaded records and documents. The values for those attributes can be selected from a pre-defined list of values as well as the values can dates, currency, text, etc.

One of the challenges of maintaining the Project Filing System is how to restrict access to selected folders and folders. Usually, those will be folders that will be either kept at the entity head office, stored in the project manager room or stored in locked cabinets. PMWeb document management repository will address this issue by allowing setting user access rights to each folder or sub-folder. The access permissions which can be set by users’ role or by individual user name include permissions for full control, view documents, upload files, delete files, edit files among others. This option allows setting what is known as confidential folders where access is limited to only authorized PMWeb users.

Another challenge that many project team members would usually like to address is to receive email notifications when new documents or revisions to existing documents are added, when documents are checked in or out, when documents are moved out or deleted and/or when documents are downloaded. PMWeb allows users to subscribe to folders and subfolders to receive online notifications and/or email notifications when all or any of those events occur. Those notifications can be also sent to non-PMWeb users but whose contacts are defined in PMWeb companies’ module.

One of the benefits of having an electronic version of records and documents is the ability to search the content of those documents when needed for selected key words. PMWeb provides the option to limit the selection to the file name, file table, including user defined file attributes or also include the content of the uploaded records and documents.

There are other benefits for using PMWeb document management system. For example, for each uploaded record or document, there will be no limit to the number of notes that can be added. For each note, which can be in rich text format, PMWeb will capture the PMWeb user name and the date when it was first added and last edited.

Another benefit of PMWeb document management repository is the ability to link different documents and records to other documents. Those could be records or documents that are referenced in the current document to enable to trace the history of events that lead for having the current document. In addition, there is also the option to link imported MS Outlook emails to the document as well as other PMWeb records.

In case there is a need to share the notes made by the users with other PMWeb or non-PMWeb users, PMWeb notification option allows sending emails to those individuals. The email will allow including the selected notes as attachments to the email. Of course, all sent notifications will be logged under the notification tab of the document.

PMWeb document management repository also allows assigning checklists to verify the content of an uploaded document. In addition, there is the option of adding scoring template and rating template to each uploaded document.

In addition, a workflow can be assigned to the uploaded document in case there is a requirement that when a document is uploaded into PMWeb, it needs to be submitted through a workflow to have reviewed before changing its status to approved. The workflow will detail the sequence of the review and approval tasks along with the duration allotted for each task and the project team member responsible for the task. The workflow can be designed to include conditions to select different workflow tasks and sequence depending on document type and category.

For those users who have a need to add comments and remarks using the redlining option, PMWeb comes ready with this functionality to enable different users to add notes, shapes, stamps and hyperlinks to other documents among others. PMWeb allows setting different colors for the different reviewers to enable viewing or removing comments made by those project team members. In addition, a report can be generated to prepare a log of all comments and remarks done by each project team member using the redlining tool.

For those entities who use Building Information Modelling (BIM), for Autodesk Revit uploaded files in the document management repository, PMWeb 3D Viewer which is integrated with Autodesk Forge, allows viewing and analyzing the BIM Model. The viewed BIM model could include other drawings that were exported from the Revit model. PMWeb allows taking a snapshot of selected BIM objects and attach it to one of the PMWeb records.

For organizations who use Bluebeam Revu tool as their redlining standard, PMWeb provides an integration with Bluebeam Revu to enable importing remarks and notes made by the review team who are using Bluebeam Revu into PMWeb. Similar to PMWeb, Bluebeam Revu requires having the documents to be reviewed in PDF file format.

About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services and project management information system to over than 200 projects with a total value in excess of US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality 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 in topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 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 300 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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