How to Organize Your Electronic Construction Project Documentation
One of the things that can be quite helpful when we are using electronic documentation is to use a common nomenclature or structure. What do we mean by the terms “nomenclature” or “structure?” In other words, using consistent naming or numbering documents so they are easy to find.
Let me give you an example. I do a lot of work for the Department of Veterans Affairs. On many projects that I’ve been involved with, the project documentation was organized by Request for Information (RFI) number. For example, if the contractor submitted a RFI, it ultimately led to a change order, and extensive correspondence between the parties as it related to that problem. All the information relevant to that RFI was stored in that RFI file, and it remained there until it became a formal change order. At that point, as the files were transferred to paper change order files, it ended up being a good system. Once you knew the issue and its RFI number, you could go to that RFI file and find anything related to that issue. On other projects, I have seen the documentation organized by specification number. In other words, how it related to a particular specification section.
I have also seen it organized by a predetermined file structure, where the entire organization used the same numbering system. For example, you might find correspondence under file 1302.1 where 1302 was the project number.
There is no standard organizational structure for documentation on a construction project. Each organization develops its own. Sometimes the project establishes its own. It is important to establish a consistent nomenclature and implement it. Why? So that everybody follows the same system in order to easily find the proper documentation.
Scott Lowe is a Principal of TRAUNER and is an expert in the areas of critical path method scheduling, construction claims preparation and evaluation, and specification writing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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