Document management in construction
Written by Ana Canteli on 20 September 2019
Construction document management has become one of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks for staff. No one works in the construction industry because they like managing documents. They do it because they are passionate about building. However, that is why it is still a fundamental task that supports all aspects of the construction business. Without it, it would be challenging to carry out construction projects within the agreed time and budget, and even more challenging to prove the work was done correctly.
Each project includes many construction documents: permissions, contracts, subcontractors, supplier budgets, customer specifications, plans, blueprints, data, and information on payroll and human resources; to name just some examples. All this makes access to project information and documentation, whenever necessary and wherever you are (in the office, at public administrations or on-site) critical. That all the actors involved are up to date and sure that the version that they handle is correct is essential to carrying out successful projects.
And for this, using constructive software is crucial. Not only to minimize risks, but also to grow the business, guaranteeing compliance with the highest quality standards: energy efficiency, environmental protection, and workplace hazard preventions.
Next, we will cite the most outstanding benefits of having construction document management.
Benefits of document management in the construction industry
There are companies that use specific software for architecture, engineering, or project management, trusting that the verticality of the various solutions will help the construction projects without noting that there are other essential elements.
- Creation of a centralized repository: with a multitude of workers and collaborators involved in each project, the consolidation, and centralization of all the construction document sources with which the construction company works is essential. The OpenKM document management system makes this objective possible, adapting to the reality of each organization. From the use of the document manager in cloud-based mode to software acquired in perpetuity and installed on the company's servers. It has features that make more accessible the import of repository, as well as ad-hoc applications, such as the Import Station, which are used to manage complex import processes. The company can use OpenKM as a front-end or be completely transparent to the user in back-end mode, using its existing general application for the user interface while making use of OpenKM’s functions behind the scene. This approach is possible thanks to the integration facilities presented by the open-source software of OpenKM.
- Accessibility: All the personnel and companies involved in construction projects must have access to the documentation that they need. But in addition to that, management software should assist them with notifications of changes and updates. Nobody wants a subcontractor or workforce to continue working on an outdated version of the project, incurring the unnecessary time and money costs and deviating from the objectives. The constructive software of OpenKM has a task manager that allows you to manage each of the phases of the entire project quickly and efficiently while gathering all the relative documentation. Notifying the parties of the related documentation, as well as the updates or changes applied along the way. With this, we guarantee that the staff is aware of the latest official version and subsequently ensure proper project collaboration. In case of doubts or discrepancies, the chat, or the forum attached to each project document, facilitate the achievement of agreements and the resolution of questions. And if necessary, the OpenKM version control allows the restoration of alternative versions, stored in the history.
- Security control: The OpenKM construction document management system not only serves to keep all our files under the same umbrella. One of the most vital functions is that it allows access to the information we need, at the time we require it, and in the conditions that each user needs to work. For example, an AutoCAD plan (OpenKM is the only document management software on the market that offers an integrated AutoCAD plan viewer) is presented to the customer for approval. The plan may be accessible to several departments, but only architects and engineers will have the right to edit it. At the moment when the client approves that version, the security applied is updated, and in addition to being notified of this fact automatically, this event changes the security, causing the ability to edit the cad file to be blocked for all users, including the team of engineers or architects. They can see that map, in read-only mode, once the client has approved it, but not change it.
- Mobility: With the OpenKM constructive software, nobody needs to stay in the office waiting to receive any documents. The OpenKM mobile app and access through the internet, allows any user to work with the document they need. Signing reports, approve items, any business process can be implemented in the construction management system, and the assignment of each project phase will be carried out in compliance with the requirements stipulated by the company.
- Control and reduction of expenses: Implementing a document management system is in itself an ambitious project, but the benefits obtained from it are substantial. With OpenKM, the company can dispense with budget items for paper or couriers, by establishing a paperless office. Automation allows you to implement business processes automatically, something that directly saves time and reduces project costs alongside human errors. Also, within the document management software, you can reflect the relationships that maintain project documents and define what type of connections bind them. So, if we look for a file using the search engine, we can see the rest of the files with which a construction document is related. We can also filter searches by categories; at a simple glance, we can see all the documentation related to the same topic. Everything contributes to maximizing financial management.
- Improvements in quality management: it may not be obvious, but the use of construction management systems contributes to achieving a diverse set of objectives; among them control over quality standards. In OpenKM, we can generate reports on any aspect that interests us - quality relationship with the source, electrical installations, material suppliers, in the area of prevention of occupational hazards, absenteeism, risks due to accidents at work - etc. Returning to more specific objectives, related to document management, OpenKM facilitates the digitalization of the repository. This is done with tools such as the scanner client included in the software suite, through the zonal OCR engine or the workflow engine that streamlines project management.
Construction management systems help implement and apply policies that promote our leadership in the construction industry.