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4 best practices for construction document management 

4 Best Practices for Construction Document Management 

Paperwork may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about construction or fit-out projects. But the reality is that programmes would fall apart without the administration that supports them.  

From purchase orders and meeting minutes to labour allocation, project timelines and inventory management, countless behind-the-scenes factors go into completing a successful project.  

Today, more companies are moving away from pen and paper towards digital document management software to manage projects effectively. This is where all documents relating to a project, such as reports, plans, BIM models and general administrative information, are stored on a computer network instead of (or as well as) a physical location.  

Digital document management is an excellent way of regulating the flow of information in any business, improving control, consistency and project outcomes. But even with sophisticated software, your company still needs a finely tuned process to manage data effectively.  

With this in mind, here are our top four tips for best practices in construction document management.  

1. Centralise your information 

Information silos can be a huge problem in any business, especially in construction and fit-out projects. Without one person owning project information and specs and standards data, it’s easy for inconsistencies to creep in. Plus, if your team can’t access accurate information, it’s harder to get tasks right the first time.  

Read more: The problem with paper: redefining construction document management.  

One of the best things you can do to improve the success of any project is to centralise your information using a document management tool. A digital software solution makes it far easier to control information and ensure everyone is using the same documentation  (one version of the truth). It’s also faster and simpler to spot issues and work collaboratively to resolve them.  

Centralising your information using a document management tool increases the likelihood of your construction or fit-out projects finishing on time and within budget, enhancing the value you provide to your clients and your business reputation.   

2. Make documents accessible anywhere 

The growth of home and hybrid working has changed the demands on construction document management. Half of construction employees had no work-from-home experience before the pandemic, but flexible working is now much more commonplace.  

Choosing a cloud-based solution like IconSystem enables software owners and operators to make real-time updates from any location or device. This is ideal for managers of multiple or large-scale construction and fit-out projects where it’s impossible to be on-site liaising with every team member the whole time.  

In addition to making information more accessible, cloud-based document management systems offer further benefits, including: 

  • Eliminating the costs and hassle of maintaining physical documents, as most cloud-based document systems can be set up in just a few days and require little to no maintenance by an in-house team. 
  • Additional security, reducing the risk of loss/damage. 
  • Real-time updates on documents, meaning everyone is working on the same version. 
  • Scalability, as cloud-based systems can evolve alongside your growing business. 

3. Improve control over document management processes  

It’s all very well having everything in one place. However, you must still set processes to coordinate how and when information is updated. These must be standardised, too, so that everyone on your team follows the same protocol.  

To improve document management and control, your company will need to:  

  • Determine the process for updating and sharing information 
  • Decide whether or not there will be an approval process for making changes 
  • Control software access so that only approved users can edit documents 
  • Format documents in a way that can be easily understood by internal and external stakeholders 

Refining your document management processes will also ensure that information is accurate and consistent for future projects.  

4. Increase accountability  

A document management system allows people and teams to take ownership of specific information – namely, the project area they are responsible for. But your project managers still take overall responsibility for the accuracy and reliability of programme documentation.  

A good project manager will use document management software to create an audit trail for project documentation, increasing accountability by: 

  • Ensuring the origin of construction documents and any subsequent changes can be traced back to an individual user. 
  • Protecting sensitive information and ensuring compliance with privacy regulations. 
  • Promoting ethical practices in data handling. 
  • Supporting efficient decision-making and ensuring that the projects align with the values and goals that have been set. 

Introduce document management best practices with IconSystem

Refining how your company improves document ownership, increases control and ensures accountability will make it easier to manage documentation during construction and fit-out projects. And the software you choose can significantly impact how easy it becomes to introduce best practices. 

IconSystem is no ordinary information management tool. It uses a dynamic cloud database for building design specifications and standards, enabling teams to effectively manage any project at any time, from any location.  

Major companies like Asda and Sainsbury’s are already using IconSystem to manage store fit-out projects, while Prosper is using our software to store architectural and construction data, retail fixtures, equipment and signage information as its business expands.  

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