Don’t Break the Chain

Every piece of information in a construction project is valuable to someone, somewhere, and perhaps sometime in the future.

The supplier of the shut-off valve may not care where his product installed on your project, but the plumber needs to know, as does the super who checks the plumber’s work and checks it off a punch list. Sometime in the future, perhaps after a few tenant improvements, it might break. That’s when there are LOTS of people who will want to know where it is.

From the moment a project begins, keeping track of information is vital not only to the project team, but to the facilities management and building maintenance team who will eventually oversee the operation of the building. Some managers that do a great job at planning ahead for a proper hand off of such information at closeout, but more often than not it’s a part of the job that’s left to the last minute.

So what’s the answer? Never break the chain of information.

Every piece of information is a link, and you need a system to connect those links that everyone understands, everyone can use, and that everyone can access. Just as important, the process has to start from the beginning to be effective.

The drawings from the municipal engineer used to layout the footings for the structure should be just as easy to find as the very last installation sketch of the cornice molding in the foyer.

Sounds like a big job, but if the system comprises a way to capture, tag, organize and store the information so it can be easily found and retrieved, you’ll never have to worry.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or enhancing a system you’re already using , look for these key components:

A universal way to capture and catalog information as it is generated. Sometimes that’s going to mean scanning paper, and other times that might be a simple download of an electronic file. Either way you’ll need the gear and expertise to do it, so that might mean working with a partner with the physical resources and experience you need and who will be there from beginning to end.

An organization scheme that makes sense to everyone. That means the project team has to understand where things are, where things should go, and where to find them later. Better still, the scheme should take into account which construction drawings, documents and other information will live on past the construction phase so they can be tagged and easily compiled at construction closeout.