Article #500 Why Capital Construction Project Owners Need to Maintain Dual Documents Filing Structure: One for the Project Life Cycle Stages and Another for Asset Operation and Maintenance Life Cycle Stages

For the majority of capital project owners, whether they were from the public sector or private sector, the life cycle of a project does not end when the project is completed. The project continues into the asset management life cycle stages which include the operation and maintenance of the completed assets as well as assets’ refurbishment and recapitalization. Many of the documents including records generated during the project life cycle stages are of great importance for those responsible for operating and maintaining the completed facilities and assets. Nevertheless, for them, they need access to those documents by buildings, floors, and spaces.

This is different from the way documents are usually stored during the project life cycle stages which are driven by the project life stages to be managed and the project delivery method. For example, the first filing structure level could be the project life cycle stage, followed by the design and construction bid packages to be carried out at each stage. This will be further detailed into the different project management categories to be performed under each bid package such as procurement, commercial, site management, quality, health and safety, communications, and others. Each category will be further detailed into the business processes to be managed. For example, for quality, there will be business processes for submittals, work inspection requests, non-conformance reports, quality meetings, and others. Those business processes can have subfolders to detail them into types if necessary. For example, submittals can subfolders for shop drawings, as-built drawings, material samples, test certificates, etc.

The challenge is how to maintain dual filing structures that enable storing the same documents in a format that can address the needs of both life cycle stages. This also needs to be done without the risk of having different document versions loaded in any one of those two filing structures. In other words, any document or a version of a document will be only loaded once to the document management repository before it is copied to another filing structure.

Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb which has a built-in document management system as well as allows managing both project and asset life cycle stages, can be done. Although there are many options for creating the filing structure for the project life cycle stage depending on the organization managing the project’s execution, the filing structure for the asset life cycle will be almost the same for all projects. This will be having the first level as the location of the project, followed by the buildings or external areas that are part of the project. The third level will be the floors within each building while the fourth will be spaces, flats, or areas within each floor. This document filing structure will be fully aligned with PMWeb assets location breakdown structure which includes the levels of locations, buildings, floors, and spaces.

Most project documents will be generated and uploaded into the PMWeb document management repository during the project life cycle stages. Those documents can just be uploaded into the folder or subfolder they are associated with where data attributes and additional user-defined fields can be added to each uploaded document. Documents can be checked out and checked in to upload new versions of a document while keeping track of previous versions.

Those documents can be emailed to other individuals either by selecting their names or the distribution list they are associated with. There is also the option to assign a workflow to enable formal communications of those uploaded documents depending on the defined review and approval task assigned to each user in the workflow process. In addition, those documents can be attached to their relevant transaction of any of the business processes managed in PMWeb.

When the project reaches the final handover stage and gets ready to be transferred to the end-user, this will be the time to start populating the location-based folders with documents that were created and uploaded during the project life cycle stages. Of course, there is no need to copy all of those documents to the locations folders as only those needed for the operation and maintenance of the building assets need to be copied. For example, we would need as-built drawings to be uploaded into the locations folders but not the shop drawings. Other examples of needed documents include equipment catalogs, warranties, operations manuals, equipment tests, etc.

When the command “Copy” is selected, the selected files will be copied to the new folder which is for location titled “Commercial Development AAAA” under the folder “Residential Tower” with a subfolder “02 Level” and then subfolder “Flat 202”. This will ensure those selected documents will also remain in their original project’s folder. If the command “Move” was used, those selected documents would be removed from their original project’s folder. The subfolder for “Flat 202”, additional documents for flat sale or lease, work orders for maintenance works among others will be uploaded as the completed capital asset goes into operation.

By maintaining two sets of filing structures each is uploaded with its required documents, although some of those documents will be duplicated in both filing structures, individuals who need access to those documents will be given the right access in a structured and secured manner. It will be structured in a format that is aligned with how the required business processes will be managed. In addition, it will be secured as PMWeb allows setting access rights to each folder or subfolder to permit only authorized individuals to access documents uploaded in those folders.

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 systems to over 200 projects with a total value over the 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 on 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 500 articles on project management and information systems 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 Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (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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