Document management in construction is slightly different from document management in other industries. As a builder, you work with lots of different parties and on different projects. This makes it difficult to keep track of projects and deadlines. Not to mention determining who can see which information and how to organise that. Yet, it does not have to be very complicated. That is why we would like to give you a few tips for smart document management in construction.
Tip 1 for document management in construction: create an overview
The most important thing in document management? Overview. You need to know exactly what information is available and be able to quickly access all the data you need. So all the constructional blueprints of a project should be easily accessible, as should budgets, e-mails and photos. Of course, you can store all those documents in folders on your computer, but that quickly becomes a digital mess. By choosing a document management system (DMS), especially if you choose one specifically designed for the construction industry, you create insight and overview. All your documents are centralised in one place in the cloud. So you and your partners can access all relevant documents anytime, anywhere, from all devices. You can easily find the documents by name, keyword or tags you have given the documents yourself.
The solution lies in automatic version control, so that everyone is always sure they have the most up-to-date document in front of them.
Tip 2 for document management in construction: keep it up to date
Storing documents safely and conveniently is one thing, making sure everything stays up to date is another. Because we all know examples of construction projects that went horribly wrong, and cost a lot of extra money, because someone started working with old blueprints. The solution lies in automatic version control, so that everyone is always sure they have the most up-to-date document in front of them. Through the DMS, you can ‘stamp’ your file or drawing with a QR code. When users scan this code with a phone or tablet, they are immediately notified whether they are working with the most recent version.
Tip 3 for document management in construction: keep it centralised
All kinds of different construction partners work together on a construction project. From architect to contractor, work planner, foreman and supervisor. A major risk here is that mutually shared communication gets lost or snowed under. So do not mail, Whatsapp, Airdrop or transfer files separately to people, as this will result in different versions circulating. Make sure all files are stored centrally in one place where everyone can access them. If there is then an automatic record of who has done what in the file, no misunderstandings can arise. Also, do not email important project information to construction partners outside the DMS. Keep all communication centralised in the platform and set access rights and permissions properly. That way, everyone always has all the information they need. No more, but especially no less.
Tip 4 for document management in construction: keep it safe
Working safely is, of course, top priority. Your files may contain sensitive information on zoning, budgets or other issues. So you want to be 120% sure that people who are not supposed to, cannot access your files. You achieve this by storing and managing your documents in a secure document management system. You set access rights per document or project. You can specify per document whether someone is only allowed to view it or also edit it. You can also password-protect files and work with expiry dates. Often, sufficient attention is paid to security, but things still go wrong when (too) large files need to be sent. People tend to choose a random platform, with all the security risks that entails. So make sure you choose a DMS that also allows you to send large files, such as BIM files, within the platform.
But the location of the data centres and the location of the provider are also important.
Tip 5 for document management in construction: keep it local
Of course, you choose a DMS that is hosted in a secure environment and automatically backs up. But the location of the data centres and the location of the provider are also important. Preferably choose a European provider so that the services are GDPR compliant. Moreover, with a European provider, you are much more likely to have quick and easy access to a customer service or help desk for questions or in case of problems. Have you ever tried to get a question answered at a major US company, through a call centre in India? We rest our case.
Insight, overview and reduction of failure costs
With smart document management in construction, you create insight, overview and a reduction in failure costs. And the best part is, it doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Selecting the best document management system for you will get you a long way. And if you keep thinking logically when using it, you can’t really go wrong.