DMS or folder structure: which do you need in construction?

Geschreven door:

Demi-Jo Smith, September 15, 2022

As a construction company, do you still use an old-fashioned folder structure to share files with subcontractors? A Document Management System (DMS) is more convenient and efficient. In this article, we explain the difference and the advantages of a DMS.

Document management

Working in construction means working together. Most developers work with many different subcontractors to complete a construction project. In doing so, it is important that the right documents (think instructions, blueprints, etc) reach the right party. We call this document management. Various software is available to support you and your company with this.

Read all about document management here.

Projectleider buigt zich over bouwtekeningen aan de hand van een DMS
A DMS is more convenient and efficient than an old-fashioned folder structure.

Folder structure vs Document Management System

Some construction companies use software like Google Drive or Dropbox to store and send documents. For large files, they additionally use WeTransfer. For a plastering or painting company, this might be sufficient, but for contractors and property developers, additional functionalities are useful.

After all, Google Drive and DropBox are nothing more than an online folder structure. You can share links to different folders or files, but it doesn’t do much more than that.

DMS stands for Document management system. This is software specifically designed to make file sharing as efficient and error-free as possible. As a construction company, you can even use a DMS for construction with construction-specific functionalities.

Also read: How Heylen Warehouses deploys a DMS for error-free projects

How can you be sure it is the latest version? That’s what you use QR stamping for.

Benefits of a Document Management System

Looking for a DMS for construction? Then go for software that enables your organisation to work securely, efficiently and error-free. In Prostream, for example, you will find these functionalities on top of the traditional folder structure:

  • Role management – Choose who has access to which files and folders. For example, a glazier does not need to be able to see the contract with the electrician. This way, files do not fall into the wrong hands.
  • Version management – In construction, it is important to always work with the latest version of a document, for example blueprints. With this functionality, you ensure that there are no wrong versions in circulation. This makes it impossible to use the wrong version digitally.
  • QR stamping – Blueprints are often printed out. How can you be sure it is the latest version? That is what QR stamping is for. Scan the QR code on the blueprint and you immediately see whether you have the latest version in front of you.
  • Keep logs – You know exactly when a file was uploaded and who viewed it at what time. Such a log helps in case of conflicts. After all, you can always prove that someone has seen a document.
  • Make documents ready – It is useful if you can already make a document ready, but in a way that it is not yet viewable. For example, the following files only become available when a subproject is completed.
  • Unlimited file size – In construction, you regularly send large files. Think of blueprints or BIM files. Programs such as WeTransfer have their limitations in terms of file size. In a DMS for construction, they can be as large as you like.
  • Previewing large files – It is useful that you can upload large files, but even more convenient is that recipients can preview them from within the software. On any device.

Also read: Improving collaboration within a construction organisation with software

Local system or in the cloud?

Some construction companies like to work locally. It gives a sense of security to have all files and folders on your local system. 

Yet, that image does not match reality. A local system needs regular updates and good security. Moreover, the old-fashioned folder structure does not have the advantages of a modern Document Management System.

A cloud environment is much more convenient. You can access it anywhere and at any time. The cloud party provides updates and security for all customers. So you don’t have to worry about that!

Convinced of the advantages of a DMS over an old-fashioned folder structure? Then read on in our article ‘How to choose the right software for document management in construction‘.