Don't get screwed by poor document management (with free webinar)

Everyone in construction has a story relating to a time when a lost or out-of-date document caused a project to be delayed. The costs associated with wrong documents can get excessive with rework, correcting mistakes, and additional labour needed. In webinar Fonn ran in 2023, 96% of attendees could recall an experience of working from an incorrect drawing with 46% saying the cost of those mistakes cost upwards of £20k+. That's a staggering amount of money when you consider how tight budgets and timescales are on-site. 

And cost isn't the only reason why proper document management matters. Having a robust process in place protects the relationships between clients, main contractors and subcontractors, ensuring that collaboration and communication is centralised - which is where digital solutions clearly have the edge over traditional tracking methods. 

If you don't have a project management app or solution in place yet, there are few simple tips you can implement to help get your document management process up to standards - avoiding costly errors.

Avoid printing drawings

Printing a drawing can often lead to one of the most common issues in construction - working to an out of date drawing. Drawing revisions are common, and they can occur at any time during a project.

If you keep working to an old drawing there is always a risk of building something incorrectly. If you have to print a drawing, make sure to check the revision every day to reduce the chance of it being out of date.

Use a common data environment (CDE)

This will be your single source of truth. everyone on the project knows that if they need a document, they go to the common data environment (CDE) - not a email, not an old WhatsApp message, or a printed drawing.

Most CDEs will ensure you are working to the latest drawings. A construction specific CDE is always better than a generic data storage solution like Dropbox as they include features like revision control, audit history and mark ups, but Dropbox is better than nothing!

Put approvals in place

Make sure that all the documents being shared have been approved. Most construction CDEs will have a built in approval process tool - this will ensure that the documents being shared have been signed off by the relevant parties to ensure they are ready for construction.

A staggering 96% of people Fonn surveyed experienced delays on projects due to wrong documentation

Most of them will display the approval and let you know who signed it off and when. This will help reduce the risk of working to the incorrect information. This can be managed via email - but it becomes quite difficult to track with a large amount of documents.

Collect documents for O&M manuals

At the end of the project you will probably need to collect all of the documents together and sort them for the Operations and Maintenance Manual (O&M) and hand these over to the client as part of the CDM regulations. It's often one of the most time consuming admin tasks, owing to the sheer level of documentation and paperwork involved on a typical build. 

Most construction CDEs will make this very easy to do, and some even automate the process, making it a lot less labour intensive than manually building the manual!

Want more? Watch our free on-demand webinar with David Lawrence (Fonn) and Anthony Anderson (Harkmac) where they discuss common use case scenarios where better document management could have saved a lot of pain. 


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