Undoubtedly, paper plays a significant role in a construction project. This physical paper and the data which it contains must be managed efficiently, safely and accurately. Furthermore, the nature of construction is such that data and key information is required on site through mobile devices, thus there has to be a way to access and retrieve any document that is necessary seamlessly, whilst on the job.

Before we introduce a paperless/paperlite solution to the problem, let’s examine some of the types of documents that make up a construction project.

Documents involved in a construction project

Drawings are important to any construction project. Such architectural drawings consist of plans and drafts of how a building or a building extension is to look. Often these drawings need editing and thus have multiple drafts (in the instance planning permission is rejected). In this case managing the drafts and having effective version control is paramount. Other drawings/graphical information may include utility diagrams and ordinance survey maps.

The second type of document involves more textual data. A key component is a planning application. A planning applications acceptance is based on the necessary information filled in as well additional supplementary documents that are pre-requisite for the local authority to even consider an application. These documents include a location plan, site plan, ownership certificate and agricultural holdings certificate. It is important to manage these documents under one efficient document management system that will prevent things from getting complicated.

The third type can be categorised as legal documents, which are arguably one of the most important to maintain and manage. It is imperative to manage contract agreements so that if there is a discrepancy later down the project timeline, having easy access to agreements that are digitised and searchable allows for quick and efficient conflict resolution, potentially reducing any unnecessary legal costs.

The fourth and final type is financial documents such as invoices, purchase orders and quotes. Paying invoices on time and paying the right amount is obviously a given. Manually managing accounts payable leads to many issues such as delayed payments, lost invoices and so forth. Read more here.

The solution to effective document management

Manually managing such complex and mass volumes of paper throughout a construction project is inefficient. Let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks. Firstly, manual data entry for accounts payable is time consuming and prone to error. Secondly, perhaps, the greatest Achilles heel for construction companies is the storage of all the paper. As a construction project progresses, manually storing and receiving documents becomes increasingly difficult. Some of the problems include the struggle to maintain version control, document indexing and classifying, knowing the status of each document and more. On the whole, retrieving and identifying documents becomes time consuming, notwithstanding the costs of storage. What’s the answer to the problem: a paperless, digital solution. This is how it works…

An offsite or (preferably) onsite scanning solution, will scan all paper documents, digitise, identify and classify documents

Import

All existing paper documents are imported into the scanning solution. Paper is scanned in huge batches.

Recognition

The scanning solution recognises the text contained within the document or the document type in order to classify and identify the document. Using intelligent extraction techniques such as OCR, the data is converted into searchable and editable text.

Indexing

You have the option to manually or automatically index documents by type depending on preference.

Document export

The digital document, either in a PDF or PDF/A format is exported to your document management system or electronic archive. These can be used and accessed whenever need be.

Advantages

  • Access documents from mobile devices, online or offline
  • Share documents securely and control who sees what
  • Upload files from a mobile device or computer
  • Create a link between like for like documents
  • The system is scalable
  • Easy file distribution and document submission means you can meet deadlines in advance
  • Save office space, less printing, save time and money
  • Real time visibility of data
  • Hugely reduce likelihood of accidentally deleting files, recover files if need be
  • Staff work more efficiently, owing to the digital system
  • Customers receive a better all-round service, owing to the digital system

For more information or a demo run through, please get in contact.