The importance of Document Control

Document Control and Management are key day-to-day activities that any constructor must do in order to successfully deliver a project. Simply explained, this must-do activities encompass tasks such as keeping track of RFI’s – both sent and responded– in an organized manner; making all RFI responses accessible to all the team and trade-partners; keeping all revisions on record and updating the greatest and latest set of documents (this includes drawings, specs and submittals); and, most importantly, doing so in the least time-consuming way. This last characteristic of a proper Document Control is key as it may turn into an overhead cost root-cause if otherwise. 

Accessibility to the latest and greatest is also key to a proper document control operation. Throughout the last ten to five years, construction companies around the globe have been focusing on implementing technological solutions that also include document control and management. Softwares as a Service such as BIM360, Procore or CMiC have turned into very common tools to cover some essential requirements for an optimal document control operation, although they all require some human back-end interaction to work properly, such as assigning RFI markups to the impact zone within drawings, slip-sheeting previous drawing versions to update the latest and greatest set, or simply uploading all newly received files to the corresponding folder. This human interaction, frequently assigned to project engineers, might turn extremely time consuming, especially during the first part of the learning curve. This time consumption has been shown to create overhead costs, as these same PE’s could be investing this time in much more important tasks on site. 

Companies such as Hyperplanned have, as one of their main goals, to help construction companies reduce these overhead costs by charging a small fee for completing all the tasks that a proper document control operation requires. By hiring these type of DocControl gurus, such as ourselves, General Contractors will be –not only freeing project engineers from these never-ending scat work– but also ensuring that their team will always have the latest and greatest responses, drawings, specs, submittals and any other relevant set of documents, as well as a perfectly functional construction software were trouble-shooting would not be a problem for the construction team to think about. 

Attracting this new technical talent has also proven to be a challenge for legacy AEC companies, given that digital transformation per se is already a rather constant obstacle that needs to be overpassed.

On a more positive note, it has been noticed how, once a company adopts these new pro-technological policies and migrates to the new softwares and methodologies, very positive outcomes are obtained. For instance, various AEC companies around the globe are now widely utilizing BIM methodologies – mostly 3D modeling and rendering – as a very successful method to sell their ideas to clients. As well, BIM methodologies have been proven to be quite useful for site safety teams as they have helped reduce the potential risk situations.

It is in the nature of experienced builders to be risk averse. After all, if they weren’t, they probably wouldn’t be very profitable. This is a problem when migration from legacy methodologies to new IT solutions is seen as a risk rather than a very advantageous tool. There is no doubt that time will surely prove these new technologies to be the latter, although those who take the path towards innovation first, will most certainly be much more resilient against the vast changes that the globe will face in the next years to come.

Author:

The Hyperplanned Team – Document Control Service