Regardless of the role an entity has on a capital construction project, project owners, consultants and contractors need to ensure that all letters issued communicated during the project duration are in line with the entitlements and obligations set by the signed contract agreements. The FIDIC conditions of contract is the most common format of contract agreements used in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Therefore, for those involved in projects in the MENA region must ensure that all issued letters are in compliance with the relevant sub-clauses of the FIDIC conditions of contract.
To address their requirement, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) and other construction industry subject matter experts have published books that provide examples of those letters. In addition, owners, consultants and contractors might retain the services of legal experts and contract management consultants to draft those letters. This will enable the individuals assigned to manage capital construction projects to issue those letters with confidence when it is needed. Those letters will become one of the organizational assets that those entities can use and keep improving.
Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb will provide the perfect platform to manage the issuance of FIDIC compliant letters. In addition to the hundred plus project management processes created using PMWeb visual custom form builder, the same PMWeb module will be used to manage the FIDIC compliant letters. A unique form will be created for each FIDIC letter which will become available for the complete projects’ portfolio managed by the organization. The body of form will include the letter template with all the fields that need to be provided by the issuer.
For example, the Extension of Time for Completion letter, the FIDIC letter form will include the body of the letter. In addition, it will include the fields for the title and name to whom the letter to be issued to, letter reference, incident details, approved time extension, events that led for the approved time extension and name of the issuer. The form header will include the project name, letter date, contractor name, revision number and status.
The main objective of using the FIDIC letter template is to prepare the letter to be issued to the recipient entity. In other words, access to each FIDIC letter will be restricted to the individuals from the letter issuing entity. Therefore, it is highly recommended that each of these letters include a checklist that need to be reviewed and completed before the letter is approved for issuance.
For example, the FIDIC letter that relates to issuing the Notice to Proceed (NTP) to the contractor includes 12 items than need to be reviewed before the NTP letter can be issued. There is no limit to the number of tables that can be added to each FIDIC letter.
For each FIDIC letter template, the attachment tab will be used to attach all referenced and supportive documents required for the issued letter. It is highly recommended that all referenced and supportive documents to be uploaded and stored on PMWeb document repository. In addition, links to other transactions for the different project management cab be added as well as links to imported MS Outlook emails.
Finally, a workflow will be assigned to each FIDIC letter template to map the sequence for the internal review tasks for each letter before it is approved for issuance. This will enable assigning the role or project team member to each review task and the duration of the task. In addition, conditions can be added to each workflow to incorporate the approval authority levels associated with the workflow.
Using PMWeb Word, the letter output template to be sent by the issuer, can be designed in the exact format. It is important to identify all the fields that the letter output template needs to display so the same fields can be captured in the input form. PMWeb Word allows to issue the letter in PDF file format, merged to MS Word file, MS Excel as well as Email.
In case the option for issuing the letter as email, PMWeb allows to use the select the name email to be sent to from the vendors directory. In addition, the issuer can select the option “distribution lists” for which the contacts names will be predefined and selected from the same vendors list.
The issued email will be received by the recipient MS Outlook or other email platform. The received email will be in the exact format designed for the PDF, MS Word and MS Excel file format. The email option is very common for recipients who are not intended to receive the FIDIC letters on PMWeb. For recipients who can access PMWeb, the email could be configured to include a link to the FIDIC letter in PMWeb. This will be possible when the “Add Document Link” is selected.
About the Author
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.