Article #602 The Importance of Aligning Documents Numbering System with the Digital Document File Name and the Filing System in Engineering and Construction Projects

In engineering and construction projects there are many types of documents that get generated and exchanged during the different project life cycle stages. Documents could include contract drawings, specifications, agreements, shop drawings, as built drawings, method statements, guarantees, insurance, warranties among many others. For projects where the project entities continue to use a Document Management System (DMS) rather than a Project Management Information System (PMIS) like PMWeb, the documents that need to managed will also include the hundred types of records that are generated using MS Excel, MS Word other applications rather than being automatically generated by the PMIS. For example, those could include the records for Meeting Minutes, Transmittals, Contracts, Change Orders, Progress Invoices, Request for Information, Punch List, Work Inspection Request, Non-Compliance Reports, Safety Incidents, Work Permits, Gate Passes, Daily Reports, Prequalification, Bidders Assessment, Project Charter among many others.

In engineering and construction projects, there are different approaches on how documents can be numbered that is usually driven by the project owner where all project entities including the engineering consultants and contractors will be required to follow. The document numbering system will be structured in a format that it will makes it adaptable to the complete projects’ portfolio that the project owner might have covering all types of documents that could be generated and exchanged during the project life cycle stages. In a nutshell, the document numbering system should be comprehensive and include the different categories that are needed when it comes to managing the different types of project documents. It should be also noted that the same project could have different document numbering system for the different document types. For example, Submittals could have different numbering system than Correspondence, Transmittals among others.

As an example, the document numbering system for submittals could be “AA-BBB-CC-DD-EE-FF-G” where “AA” is the bid package number assuming that the project has multiple prime contractors, “BBB” is the discipline, “CC” submittal type, “DD” floor level, “EE” is area reference, “FF” is a sequential number for this document type and category and “G” is the version number.

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Accordingly, the submittal document that has the number “08-CON-SD-12-03-05-A” is related to Bid Package 08, Concrete Works, Shop Drawing for Level 12 and Area 03. The sequence of this document is 5 and it is version A. The document itself which could be in PDF file format, the file name will be “08-CON-SD-12-03-05-A.PDF”. If the file type was DWG, then the file name will be “08-CON-SD-12-03-05-A.DWG”.

Using PMWeb Project Management Information System (PMIS) document management module, organizations who are either using PMWeb PMIS as their projects’ document management system, or transitioning from the DMS culture to PMIS culture or using PMWeb as it should be used as a fully integrated PMIS solution for which DMS is one of its modules, need to create folders and subfolders to match the established project document numbering system levels.

That is to say, for each project there will be a folder that will be created for each document type, say for example “Submittals”. Under the “Submittals” folder, subfolders will be created for each bid package such as “BP07”, “BP08” and so on. Under each bid package folder, subfolders will be created for the different project disciplines such as “CON” for Concrete Works, “REF” for Reinforcement and so on. For each discipline folder, subfolders will be created for the submittal types. For example, “SD” will be for shop drawing, “ST” for method statement and so on. Under each submittal type folder, subfolders will be created to match the project levels say “GF”, “01”. “02” and so on. Finally, under each floor level folder, subfolders will be created for the level areas, say “01”, “02” and so on.

In other words, the document management filing structure created in PMWeb document management repository should mirror the adopted project document numbering system regardless of the levels included in the document number. This will also be the similar to the file name of the digital version of those project documents.

It also recommended to create document attributes for which it will be used to capture the values for document numbering levels such as bid package, discipline, submittal type, floor and level. The values for those attributes will be predefined in PMWeb lists module. Those attributes can be specific to each folder created in PMWeb document management repository.

For each created folder or subfolder, access rights can be set for the defined companies’ roles as well as to the specific PMWeb users to restrict access when it comes to having full control on the folder, view, manage folders, upload files, delete files, edit files and edit permissions. This helps the project owner and other entities in streamlining the established access rights rules for each document category and type as well as discipline, level and work area.

Further, the folder administrator can have PMWeb users to subscribe to each folder or subfolder to receive notifications, either via email or online. Those notifications will be sent to those registered users when documents or revisions to existing documents are added, documents are checked out and checked in, documents moved out or deleted or/and documents are downloaded.

After setting and defining the rules for the different PMWeb document management folders and subfolders, the Document Controller can upload project documents to their relevant folder in bulk or one file at a time. The document file name will provide the Document Controller with the immediate knowledge, and without guessing or hesitation, to determine under which folder those documents need to be uploaded and stored. If attributes were created for the folder, then the attribute values for those uploaded documents need to be completed by the Document Controller to improve the reporting on the uploaded documents.

For each uploaded document, the Document Controller can submit the review and approval workflow process by clicking on the submit workflow button. The predefined PMWeb workflow for the document management module will include the conditions to ensure that the selected review and approval workflow steps are automatically selected as per the assigned document category type and category. For example, shop drawings for the concrete discipline will be reviewed and approved by different project team members than those assigned to review and approve mechanical drawings and so on if this was defined in the workflow conditions. In other words, the Document Controller does not need to decide on which workflow to use to submit the document for review and approval as long as the provided condition is valid. For example, the condition for routing documents that have “CON” as a discipline and “SD” as submittal category is to select “File Name Contains CON” and “File Name Contains SD”. This selection will be adequate to channel the review and approval process through the rights workflow steps.

Capturing all this review and approval process for types and categories of project documents will provide the Document Controller with a real-time register to report on the status of all workflow steps for each submitted document in the project. The reported data can be color coded to identify workflow steps with unfavorable performance among others.

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 controls services to over 100 projects with a total value in excess of 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 in 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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