Article #709 Setting the Project Control System (PCS) Document Management Module

Regardless of the extent of the project controls system (PCS) to be implemented on a construction project, there will be always a need to manage the tens of thousands of documents that are generated during the project’s duration. That is why every construction project must have a project filing system to classify, store, retrieve, manage, administer and eventually archive the project documents. Since the introduction of personal computers, it has become very common to find on construction projects a combination of electronic filing and hard-copy filing systems for those documents. The format of a project’s document filing structure follows each project requirement for classifying documents as well as the permission restrictions to access those documents.

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For a project control system that uses a Project Management Information System (PMIS) with a document management system like PMWeb, folders, and subfolders to match the hard copy filing system can be created. For example, the folder structure can be designed in a format that will make it aligned with the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) levels and the identified Engineering (EWP), Procurement (PWP, Construction (CWP), and startup (SWP) work packages also known as turnover work packages (TOP).

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Each created folder could have its predefined attribute fields to capture details of documents and records uploaded during the project life cycle stages. The attributes could include, for example, bid package number, discipline, category, location, print size, and Contractor name, among many others.

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Access to each folder will be restricted to the project entities and individuals authorized to access the document folder. PMWeb allows setting the permission rights for who should have full control, view, manage the folder, upload files into the folder, delete uploaded files, edit uploaded files and edit the security access permissions set for the folder.

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The authorized document controllers and other project team members for the different project entities can upload documents into their respective folders. Documents can be uploaded in bulk when needed to expedite the process. The document controllers and project team members need to provide the relevant attribute values for each uploaded document. If documents are uploaded in bulk, a table will be displayed to complete these attribute values quickly.

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For projects that have the continuous requirement to upload documents in bulk but need to do it in a more structured format, an interface can be created to enable batch upload folders, subfolders, and documents, automatically attach the documents to the record and upload from a Drive, Compact Disc, Memory Device, Shared Directory, and Cloud while integrating and enforcing PMWeb security, folder security, and conditional security.

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Although PMWeb permits uploading documents with a file size of up to 2 GB each, it is recommended to set the limit to 250 MB per file. Also, although PMWeb allows uploading all file types, it is highly recommended not to upload executable (.exe) files. In addition, the Project Owner should have a clear and strict policy to enforce all these organizations uploading files to run virus security checks on their files before uploading them into PMWeb. The attributes list will include a field to confirm if a virus check was done or not before uploading the file.

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Similar to what is expected from a document management system, PMWeb allows maintaining document versions. When this option is enabled, the document controller must first check out the old document and then check in the new one with the revisions. Both documents must have the exact electronic file name. PMWeb allows showing all versions or only the last version. Further, for uploaded documents, the PMWeb document management repository will display the image of the uploaded document. These could be pictures, PDF, MS Word, or MS Excel files, among others.

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Project team members can also subscribe to a specific folder to receive email or online notifications when documents or revisions are added, checked in and out, downloaded, and when these documents are moved out or deleted. Notifications may be sent to PMWeb users as well as non-PMWeb users.

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PMWeb comes ready with its redlining tool to provide reviewers with the function to add their review comments and remarks on the submitted documents. The PMWeb markup tool allows each reviewer to have a different layer and a different color to be assigned to each reviewer. The markup tool also allows hyperlinking PMWeb records to the document, as well as displaying stamps for approval, rejection, or comments. These features will apply to documents submitted in PDF or Picture file formats. It is common practice that documents are usually submitted in PDF file format to prevent any changes to what is being transmitted.

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PMWeb also provides the option of advanced reviewing capabilities with the Bluebeam Revu integration module. The document review and approval team can use Bluebeam Revu to compare transmitted documents and add their comments and remarks to these documents. The PMWeb Bluebeam Revu integration will import those remarks into PMWeb to be documented and reported on.

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The complete review and approval process for many organizations that use Bluebeam Revu will usually be done in Bluebeam Revu using Bluebeam’s workflow. When the review and approval process is completed in Bluebeam Revu, the review team’s remarks and comments will be sent to PMWeb using the integration module. In other words, the PMWeb workflow will only have a single workflow step for the review and approval process as the detailed steps will be managed in Bluebeam itself.

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For all business processes managed in PMWeb, supporting documents usually associated with each transaction can be attached to the template. It is highly recommended to add details to each attached document to better explain to the reader what is being attached and viewed.  In addition, links to other relevant records of other business processes managed in PMWeb can also be linked to the reported progress. Further, links to imported emails and website URLs can also be added.

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The document management system register enables to PMWeb users to filter the data in each column using basic as well as advanced selection commands to display the required documents. The sequence of the columns can be easily ordered by dragging and dropping the column headers. Grouping and subgrouping of displayed documents will be available by dragging and dropping the column headers’ grouping space.

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Different types of document management reports can be generated using either PMWeb business intelligence report writer or MS Power BI. If MS Power BI was used to create the output report, the report can then be configured to include a search field for the document subject. In addition, donut visuals can be added to group documents by their status, type or any other attribute used to categorize uploaded documents.

Further, a slicer will be usually added to display the filing structure for the selected project where when a folder is selected, only documents uploaded in that folder will be displayed. Finally, regardless of the tool used to create the document management report, every document will be hyperlinked to its stored file in PMWeb to enable viewing the document when required.

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The content of this article was extracted from the book titled “Let’s Transform: Enabling Digital Transformation of Capital Construction Projects Using the PMWeb Project Management Information System – 2nd Edition”. The book was written by the author of the posted article, Bassam Samman.

The book provides project owners with oversight on how technology available today can support their efforts to digitally transform the management of their projects’ portfolios. For each capital project life cycle stage, PMWeb is used to detail how the relevant project management business processes can be digitalized to enforce transparency and accountability in delivering projects. In addition, MS Power BI was used to show how the real-time, trustworthy data captured in PMWeb can be aggregated, modeled, monitored, evaluated, analyzed, and reported at anytime, anywhere using any device.

About the Author

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant withfounder

more than 35-year service record providing project management and control services to

over 100 projects with a total value of over the US $5 Billion. Those projects included

Commercial, Residential, Education, and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure,

Entertainment and Shopping-Malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, and

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


Bassam is a frequent speaker on 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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