Are you a construction company that knows all the best document management practices yet still struggles with document control? Let us explore the issue many companies face, as well as the solution to help with your documentation woes for your next construction project.
When it comes to best practices for construction documentation management, experts often explain the importance of accessibility, centralized storage, scalability, authorization, and automation. Though these components are crucial to the management and growth of your system, companies tend to come up short because of who oversees their management systems. Often the responsibility falls on the contractor manager or another employee, who is already handling their initial workload, now in addition to this large project. Consequently, important information may not be up to date or simply difficult to find. For a construction project, poor construction document management can lead to costly errors and valuable time wasted.
Effective construction document management is crucial for the successful execution of construction projects. It ensures that all project stakeholders have access to the necessary information, helps maintain project transparency, and minimizes errors and delays.
So, how can we solve this problem? The solution is to hire a technical writer. And not just any technical writer who usually develops general content for all areas of your organization, but a writer whose job and focus are specifically about improving construction document management. With a specialized tech writer, other staff members are able to get back to their original duties, and your company are sure to have better and effective documents practices in place.
What is a Technical Writer?
When hiring a technical writer, it is important to understand what these types of writers can produce. A technical writer is a professional who specializes in creating written content that communicates complex technical information in a clear and concise manner. They play a vital role in various industries, including construction, software development, engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, and finance.
The main responsibility of a technical writer is to gather information from subject matter experts and translate it into user-friendly documentation. This documentation can take various forms, such as user manuals, installation guides, standard operating procedures, training materials, online help systems, and technical specifications.
Technical writers need to have a strong grasp of the subject matter and be able to understand complex concepts and processes. They then use their skills in writing, editing, and organization to create documentation that is accurate, accessible, and understandable for the intended audience. They often work closely with software developers, engineers, product managers, and other professionals to ensure the accuracy and clarity of the content.
In addition to writing technical documentation, technical writers may also be involved in tasks such as conducting research, interviewing subject matter experts, creating diagrams or illustrations, and formatting and publishing documents. They may work independently or as part of a larger technical communication team.
Overall, technical writers play a critical role in bridging the gap between technical experts and end-users by providing them with the information and instructions they need to effectively use a product, understand a process, or troubleshoot issues.
Technical Writers and Construction Document Management
Here is some way technical writers can lift the burden of maintaining your construction document management systems, making it easier for all future projects to be successful.
Technical writers can develop a centralized document system. Allowing staff members across different departments access to documents located in one place. Making it easier to search and retrieve the information whenever they need it. This structure will resolve the issues of lost or duplicate documents. Once this structure is developed, it can improve collaboration and communication among staff. They can review, finalize, and respond to document changes through better workflows. Standardized construction document management systems ensure documents are easily managed, organized, and searchable.
Documentation Vision Control
In a construction project there can be a variety of unexpected changes whether in plans, labor, materials, weather, drawings, and more. Having to track and document every change can be challenging especially if a business is still using paper-based systems. Often it leads to companies wasting time and money trying to fix the errors of using an outdated system in the first place. With a technical writer, your company can have better control managing any change that may come your way. Project managers and other staff have access to the latest information. Technical writers can ameliorate documentation, so there is less money spent on project reworks.
Furthermore, it is commonplace for companies to invest in the wrong software. With the help of a technical writer, they can determine the right technology that best suits your business needs. Whether it’s cloud services so you can integrate cloud-based applications with existing systems or on-premise software. Also, they can inform you on the best software solutions that encourage scalability as business operations grow and stay consistent. Time and money are significant factors in a construction project. With the technological know-how, technical writers can save you money. Tech writers can determine what automation tools and devices will allow staff easy access to documents and usage. Tech writers can help avoid communication delays that slow the progress of any project.
Documents need to be organized in a structured manner to ensure easy reference and retrieval, especially when it comes to construction document management. This typically involves using organization methods such as standardized naming convention, categorizing documents into folders or subfolders, and establishing a logical hierarchy for the document repository.
Construction documents are typically stored electronically to ensure accessibility and facilitate collaboration among project team members. Cloud-based document management systems or project management software are commonly used for secure storage and centralized access. Technical writers are proficient in these types of software and will be able to properly store any type of important document for your project.
Communication and Collaboration
Construction projects involve multiple stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors. Construction document management systems enable collaborative work by allowing users to share, comment on, and update documents in real-time. Technical writers know how to properly operate integrated communication tools within these systems, which can also facilitate effective project communication.
During construction, various documents need to be shared with different parties, such as contractors, subcontractors, and regulatory agencies. Document management systems provide secure methods for distributing documents, such as controlled access and encrypted file sharing. Through collaboration with different parties, technical writers will be able to adequately distribute documents.
Construction projects often undergo changes due to design modifications, scope adjustments, or unforeseen circumstances. Effective construction document management ensures that change orders and associated documentation are properly recorded, tracked, and communicated to all relevant parties.
Construction documents need to be retained for future reference, legal compliance, and potential warranty claims. Technical writers can assist in establishing retention policies to determine how long documents should be stored and when they can be safely disposed of.
Security and Access Control
Construction documents may contain sensitive and confidential information. Technical writers can assist in the protection of this important information. Implementing appropriate security measures, such as user access controls, encryption, and data backups, is crucial to protect the integrity and confidentiality of project documents.
Compliance and Audit Trails
Construction projects are subject to various regulations and may require periodic audits. Construction document management systems can generate audit trails, providing a record of who accessed or modified documents, when changes were made, and other relevant information for compliance purposes.
Here are additional advantages of hiring a construction technical writer to be in charge of your construction document management:
- Technical writers incorporate technology that allows documents to be backed up as frequently as needed. Technical writers thrive on improving disaster recovery and protection
- Increases remote access to construction plans with security and theft protection
- Creating training documents for digital devices and security awareness
- Help the company stay compliant with all industry guidelines and regulations, ensuring your company remains ready for future audits when needed
By implementing robust construction document management processes and utilizing appropriate tools, project teams can streamline collaboration, reduce errors, improve efficiency, and ultimately enhance project outcomes.
Finding the right people to manage your construction document management systems is crucial for the success of a company. While you may know the best course of action to improve your system, it starts with having the right person to enforce it. With a trained technical writer, they can implement good documentation practices that ensure construction companies can streamline their business process, minimize errors, control & reduce spending, and increase the efficiency of their time.
How can EDC help?
Whether you need a team of consultants or a single technical writer to produce a complete line of documentation, at Essential Data Corporation we can help you organize and manage ISO standards documents in any industry. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Kimberly Jones