Blog Published: 05/07/2018

Blogger - Alec Milton

Top 10 Tips for Achieving Quality and Standards Compliance

It seems that for many design, BIM and IT professionals in the construction industry, the complications and frustrations in their day-to-day efforts to adhere to the standards that are imposed on their business and get the work done at a profit without creating unnecessary risk for the business, is just too hard. It’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The 10 areas below summarise the main pain points professionals within the construction industry face throughout the design process:



Whilst many businesses have degrees of control in working around these issues, it is highly likely that no one is confident in all.

Central Access

Many organisations have multiple places where documents are kept, and this is especially true for those with more than one office or site. Staff will often keep local copies which then become out of sync, resulting in duplication. Ideally, there should only be one place to look for everything.


Security

Companies that use Windows folders to store their documents and drawings will be limited by the security options that Windows offers. For instance giving someone access to a folder deep in the folder tree will require them to have access further up.

What if there are confidential documents within this folder tree that the person that has recently gained access should not be able to view? There are also the admin issues of updating permissions when people join and leave. It would be much more efficient to assign permissions based on job roles.


Quality

Whether it’s ISO 9001, GDPR, BIM Level 2 or any other standard, it’s a struggle to ensure that everyone in the same company is working to the standards, and that you will survive an audit. Preferably you would like people to be offered the correct templates for the project, for the file names to adhere to the standard, and for staff to be guided through the procedures without having to know them.

Version Control​

Most, if not all of us, have selected “Save” when we should have picked “Save As” and have overwritten earlier work. Similarly we may have edited an earlier version of a file because Windows doesn’t let us know that a colleague has created a newer one in the same folder. In the worst case, we may have sent the wrong version to a third-party. In an ideal world, staff would always be presented with the latest version of every document so that they can’t mistakenly edit or indeed send the wrong one out.

Email Management

It has been said that anywhere between 75% and 95% of business correspondence is via email and continues to grow. In many organisations email remains in personal inboxes and is not filed with the project. If people leave or are simply on holiday, it can be very hard for colleagues to get a clear picture. All emails should be filed to the relevant projects and accessible throughout the company, from any device.

Collaboration


Organisations can find themselves using consumer focused systems like Google Drive, OneDrive, DropBox etc to exchange documents. These have limited security and are widely regarded as too insecure for business use. In the ever-growing world of Building Information Modelling (BIM), construction organisations should be able to share documents securely with external parties and where needed, have their own company-branded file sharing site.​

Workflow/Approval

Whilst QA documents detail the procedures, staff work to the plan in their heads which won’t always align with the documents, and when required to approve documents, they will often bypass the processes to meet deadlines. Ideally, the systems within an organisation should know what the procedure/ workflow is, and automatically guide the user and trigger the next events as stages are completed. Similarly, it should enforce approval and allow it to happen from any device.

Finding Information

With documents in so many places and with the slow performance of basic
Windows search tools, it can be both hard and time consuming to fi nd anything. Add the fact that there could be multiple versions of each document, searching becomes incredibly frustrating. It shouldn’t be so difficult to be presented with the latest version and seek what is needed instantly.

CAD & BIM Integration​

Managing the creation and editing of drawing sheets in CAD and BIM applications can consume a huge proportion of time. The rising popularity of BS 1192 and similar standards has added its own complications, requiring staff to go back into the building models to change revisions, update suitability codes, and output them in multiple formats. These applications remember the last filename and path used, so as with the Version Control example above, staff can all too easily plot to the wrong folder with the wrong name or overwrite earlier work.

Files should be automatically named, title blocks automatically updated and you should be able to batch create multiple output formats without having to worry about names and locations.

Transmittals

Assembling a transmittal is a nerve jangling job. You need to: make sure you have the correct version of all the documents, that they have been approved, that they are not referencing another one that may have since changed, that it’s going to the right people in the required format, that the suitability codes have been set correctly and internal versioning has been stripped from the version number, and lastly you need to document this all on a transmittal sheet checking that the details on the sheet match those in the documents.

Ideally you would select a previous transmittal which has all the data about the documents and recipients. It would: select the latest approved versions of the files, allow you to change the recipients and add or remove files, then it would create the transmittal sheet to your preferred layout and create spanning zips for you.

The Way Forward

Overall, it is evident that there are a number of complications and frustrations in the day-to-day efforts of design professionals within the construction industry. Whether you have experienced all or a few of these pain points, you are bound to have wasted valuable time; time that would have been better spent on the real work of design.

You’ll only run into difficulty if you take no action and continue to operate inefficiently, as your competitors are not going to stand still. In every scenario outlined above, we’ve explained what the ideal way of getting around these issues would be, but the real question is how? The answer is Document Management.

At Excitech, we understand the pains that you are facing on an every day basis, which is why we created Excitech DOCS: our BIM enabling document and drawing management solution that automates these diff icult and lengthy processes and saves you money as the time it gives you back massively outweighs the cost.

Learn more about our industry specific solution Excitech DOCS at www.excitech.co.uk/Products/Excitech-DOCS
 

About the author

  • Alec Milton

Alec Milton

Head of Document Management Solutions

Alec joined Excitech from Arup Group Ltd where he lead the development of engineering software applications as director of the Technical Software Group. He was simultaneously the managing director of Oasys Ltd where he spent 13 years commercialising Arup’s software products. Alec is a Fellow of the British Computer Society and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering Designers.
 

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