Academic Master

Human Resource And Management

Examining the Role of Construction Documentation in Managing the Projects



In Construction Projects, Construction Documentation is t considered as he ‘Bible’for the whole process. These documents areintegral part of project contract. Which is agreed on between all parties. It’s typically containing drawings and specifications. Even though the information in drawings and Specs are essential but it’s not sufficient to construct the project solely .There is more supporting documents are required to explain the construction and justify its sequences. The drawings are accomplished in a variety of ways, from the use of computer drafting programs like AutoCAD to BIM (Building Information Modeling) software such as REVIT or even hand drawings if needed. The purpose of construction drawings is to carefully show the quantity and locations of the individual elements of each design.

Purpose of Construction Documents

The documents that are the part of the whole thing are building plans, specifications and the supporting documents. There are many purposes that these documents serve, for instance, they help in making sure that the needs of the owner and the developer can be translated into the format that is buildable. The other thing that they do is that they allow the requirement to be understood in a format that is comprehendible for project managers. They also help gaining permits from the local authorities.

The proper construction documentation is considered as the main tool to maintain the healthy relation between time, budget & scope through defining the level of required quality either on specs or a quantity as mentioned in the BOQ as shown in figure 2


Figure Healthy Relation between Project Aspects

Starting of the Construction Documents

The creation process starts with the selection of the developer. It might be a school district or any sort of construction. When one of the owners comes up with the concept of the new building, the architect would be brought on board to lead the design process. Several sets of the drafts and the building plan would be made by the architect. It would be then approved and modified at each of the respective state. The final plan is referred as the 100 % completion documents or the CD’s they are commonly referred as.


Figure Design Development Steps

Composition of the construction documents

It has to be noted that the set of the completed documents are made of two or three components. The largest component is that building and the drawing. It might range from the single sheet to the hundred of the pages and it constitutes of the floor plans to the eventual finished selections. It has to be noted that the plans for the project that is of an average size are broken down into many sections. The architected drawings as well as elevations all are the part of the structural and mechanical drawing process most of the times.

Other major part of the documentation is the construction document, also known as the spec book. The spec book is the project manual that goes to cover the materials and the methods that would be employed during the course of the construction of the project. These are text based documents in MS Word or any word processing software. The key purpose of these specifications is to make sure that the quality of the work is well defined as making sure that the performance requirements are made specific to say the least.

The spec book should not be ignored as it is a vital component of the way construction process is carried out.

Construction Drawings Components

Most of the times, the construction drawings comprise of the following elements.

  1. Perspective Drawings
  2. Plot Plans
  3. Floor Plans
  4. Exterior Elevations
  5. Roof Plans
  6. Sections
  7. Foundation Plans
  8. Framing Plans
  9. Interior Elevations
  10. Charts and schedules
  11. Other related details

Changing in Construction Documentation

Most of the times, the set of documents that are completed would be changed in some manner by the owner or the architect. Official changes are then brought in the form of the bulletin, press release, supplement or other directives that illustrate the change. These written changes then become the part of the document and become the part of the component of the set.

Issued for Construction term definition

Once the complete set of documentation has been issued by the architect, the key thing that is needed to be done is that it should be approved by the owner and must be ready for the bid. The owner has to them submit the drawings to the prospective contractors. They will then estimate the cost that goes in the completion of the job. Most of the time, the one with the lowest bid is awarded the project.

Benefit of having Comprehensive Construction Documentation

The only way to make sure that the scope of the problems is lowered is by making sure that all the relevant documentation that is related to the project is done in the right manner during the course of the construction of the building.

The documents can be tracked with a project documentation tracker as below attached sample photo to ensure its compatibility.


Figure Construction Documents Tracker

Approved Construction Documentation

Approved Construction documentation or (issued for construction drawings) is considered as the pre-signed agreement between the three main parties of the project (contractor,owner,consultant)

Figure Construction Documentation

Construction Documentation Role in Constructing Process

First it demonstrate the client requirement and needs on drawings and specs , also transfer this information to the consultant and the contractor , the contractor and the contractor role is to find a reasonable way to construct these requirement with the required quality in the specific time. In the same time the designer role was found to describe these requirement in the type of specs and drawings that exactly match the client requirement.

Also the set of knowledge and abilities that usually the designer should have is a critical item for the development process of client needs or request

Peer Review of Construction Documentation

As previously described in Ernest. L Grispy that the design and construction documents represents the best described solution for the client problem or mission statement but the items they didn’t consider as effective are as per following :

Documentation of Creating the Construction Documents

The researches didn’t mention if the developer of the design and construction documentation are the same firm or different firm .as if they are not the same firm, there is some consideration that has to be transferred.

Transferring the information between different firms

These considerations transference are the only way to make sure that both of them are aligned to the client needs which should be matching the project goal & mission statement.

Documenting for information recalling

Although that most of researches may consider this transferring information is not important but, later on in construction phases this log would play an important role in taking decisions .this should lead to a proper system of documentation for affecting changes.

Peer Review for Drafting Systems

The missed point between most of researches is the documentation of client need or request in a type of construction documentation that is different than Drawing and Specs .In this thesis it considered as the project management methodology output which is usually missing from any constructed project such as project scope statement , project charter etc.. Is one of the most critical required items that should be best described in construction documentation.

Drafting system used for producing Construction Documentation

Also one of the affecting factors is the CADD system (Computer Aided Design and Drafting) system that used in developing the project construction documentation

CADD system has been discussed and fully covered by a lot of researches and papers which all conclude that using the proper system is related to the project type and complication .as the more project complication the more details are required also the more detailed CADD software used that help in producing the project document faster and more accurate .These software that gives the firm the ability to communicate to each other and merge the data between them.

Required Drafting Skills and its effect on Construction Documentation

The skills that is required in the CADD team from detailing and architectural knowledge is usually affects the project process and in construction phase as the less detailed drawings leads to a project changes due to unavailability of the information or being not matched to other disciplines. This changes can be predicted early before project start if the construction documentation is coordinated and well described.

Client usage of Construction Drawings & as built drawings

Client use of construction documentation is not limited to describe his needs, it’s related to using and maintaining the project after construction, however the accuracy of using the construction documentation after constructing is related to the amount of changes that happen on delivering the site due to any circumstances

These changes which is documented and described during the construction is reflected on the as build set of drawings which is considered as part if project close out documents

Unplanned Items that has effect of Construction Phase

During the construction there is some items that if it’s not planned & estimated properly, it has its effect on the construction phase such as:

Material availability and its effect on construction process

One of the aspects that is not predicted is the material availability which is depending on the project start date and the material delivery also the long lead item schedule.

These factor if it is not considered as early as possible, it leads usually to a change in the project to use the available material in the specified time frame.

Equipment and machinery effect on construction process

Also the machines and equipment that used in construction phase is affecting the project by a way or another which should be described in construction method of statement that in some times affect the project and leads to a change .when entering the equipment or the machine maneuver is affected by the project steps .

The Equipment and machinery work should be mentioned in construction documentation by a way or another either on split drawings to stages or on a set of detailed drawings developed by CADD systems .But the problem appears when the CADD systems describe the final phase without any mentioning or imagining how these steps will be constructed and if it can affect each other.

Team Staffing and its effect on Construction Process

Team consideration is mainly one if the critical items in project deliverytime as team assembly and grouping is affecting the project time frame. Also the project nature differs from a project to another in its resources need. For example some projects that has hard constructability nature requires a structural team members more than others that has an architectural detailing nature.

As a conclusion the site staffing and requirement should be part of construction documentation that best describe the project and the client need together in one document .also no. of staff and classification should be specifically as per the project requirement

Archiving system for project development steps

In the previous papers and researches most of them concentrate on finding the best documentation of describing the client requirement in which is the bid component but the best describe documents steps to achieve the client requirement is not usually archived .

In spite of most of researchers found that archiving the method or the way to find the goal is not necessary as long as the client need is described well in a proper set of drawings & specs that is considered the goal, But in this thesis we found that archiving client needs along with the way followed to achieve his needs and retrieving it when its needed is one of the required methodology to avoid further client changes.

Archiving will avoid duplication of requests .This archiving also has to be with a proper way with a proper methodology that allow easy retrieving thus will be described later on. The short iteration connected with the user stories that the client needs based on it. The provided archived steps prevent needs duplication

On the other hand, the process that used to produce the construction documents also describe for the contractor the best way to construct the project

Project Short Iteration Deliverable Quality Checks

The process of producing the drawings usually has a several check points starting from the quality checks in the production phase continuing to the development stage that has a systemic review process to ensure the coordination between all discipline packages .

This review includes confirmation of implementation of standard and specifications in the project documentation. Usually every discipline review and recheck his drawings and make sure that it adheres to the common standard and specs. On the same time the whole project team should meet regularly to coordinate between each other about the construction drawings.

Project Meeting Reviews

These meeting is one of the communication methods that has to be followed to make sure that the information is transferred from discipline to another. Also mails, MOM (Minutes of Meetings) and RFIs can be considered as one of the communication record method.

Documentation of Project Communication

In every project, probably there is a communication management plan, but the documentation of the communication itself and changes that usually happen that result in the end product is not properly documented. The process of documentingthe design development steps in most of production firms is not important, however in the construction phase the availability of scenarios of development is affecting decision making in construction changes.

The documented scenarios represent to the contractor, why the designer chose that specific solution and also clear the project vision for every participant in the project .This clear vision gives to the constructor the ideal solution that should be selected that match the previous design methodology if the constructor has to take a decision in absence of the designer

On the same page, this documentation keeps the designer on track while preparing the design as he has to justify his selections and design to the client and the constructor later on.

Figure Sample of Communication Management Plan

Benefit of Documentation of Communication

Although this process of documentation will definitely slow down the development process and may also affect the delivery time of the end product, but by using this method we can guarantee that the outcome is matching the client needs , specs , site obligations and location standard

This slow down should be including the approval of the client on every deliverable our sub-deliverable that considered as a step on the way of producing the final product.

Also the scenarios should be based on the client or the user stories that explain his intentions in using the project or the project land. documentation of the user stories is also a must as it’s the emitter for the deliverable and also it’s the only parameter that can be used to judge if the final outcome is matching the client need or not

Peer Review of Project Estimation

As described in researches that estimation is one of the important factors that do an early judgment for the project success as the rough estimated time and cost are considered later on as the judgmental tool that used to find out if the project successes

When estimation goes inaccurate, In spite of the proper procedures that has been taken to put the project on the right bath, wrong estimate may judge on a project to fail before its start .as long as the project comparing base is wrong, that put the whole project process in a critical situation to try to achieve the wrong commitment that has been taken based on inaccurateestimation.

The nature of progressively elaborated of planning is usually not taken in consideration while doing the first project estimation, however the developing process should not affect the base estimate too much.

Estimation and planning are considered as the best tool that can forecast the project timeline and needs as they support taking decision and reducing uncertainty.

However the project estimation usually used as a commitment to be followed. The base of estimate usually is not documented .As the base of estimate and the data collected that the project projection based on it ,needs to be accurately documented .Also the base of estimate followed method is not documented in the tender construction documentation.

Peer Review of Project Changes

In the researches, the changes are considered as part of the project process which has to happen. The project manager and project team has to find a way to manage these changes which is usually called the change management process. Some researches talked about how to reduce the change and others concentrated on how to put a proper methodology in dealing with change and validate it. Although that in normal practice they considered project with zero changes is almost impossible due to unexpected items but what is targeted of the zero changes is managing the project and forecast all unseen items with a way that never allow for any changes . This possibility is related to covering all aspect that could result in changes



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