Managing Document Transmittals for Construction Companies



Throughout the life-cycle of any construction project, documents represent an essential building block. Each and every construction professional has to deal with loads of documents in a way or another by either submitting leaves, claims, daily employees attendance, AFPs, RFIs, or exchanging documents/drawings with third parties.

We all know that the construction industry is one of the least digitized markets and most projects (if not all) are suffering delivery delays and they are exceeding their initial budget. For that, old methods of managing information has to be changed to drive more operation efficiency thus helping in reduce the project delays and minimizing costs.

Construction companies must start transitioning from paper based documents to digital ones and work on a proper plan to implement project level document control system or ECM solution specialized in this field to drive the flow of information, control the document life-cycle. and manage the transmission of data between different parties involved.

In this blog post, we will talk about how documents are sent between clients, contractors, subcontractors, vendors officially and how using a potentially ECM solution specialized in construction will give you the power of creating and maintaining these communications digitally but first make sure to subscribe to my blog for future exciting topics.


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What is a Transmittal in the construction world?

When different parties such as client and contractor need to exchange documents formally, they should be sent as a transmittal. A transmittal is a package for a document or multiple ones that are transferred from one company to another. The package often comes with a cover sheet that details the documents that are sent and their metadata.

Having the ability to digitally manage transmittals in the same solution your organization is using to control the flow of documents throughout the project life-cycle has a lot of advantages as follows

  1. Digitally logging each transmittal received or sent
  2. Having a complete audit trail of transmittals at any point of time
  3. Easily locate and have access to transmittals documents
  4. Built in security management
  5. Automatic notifications of each transmittal through emails.
  6. From the document audit trail, you have the capability to see which transmittal this document was part of.

Transmittals Types

Transmittals differ by their types: Incoming, Outgoing and internal. in this section, we will detail each transmittal type and the advantages of having these managed digitally

Incoming Transmittals

As the naming hints, all documents received officially by a party should be logged as incoming transmittal. The Document controller will check the attachments and acknowledge receiving them by signing the cover sheet and create the incoming transmittal in the system which is usually followed up by creating an internal transmittal (to be discussed later) to be distributed to the concerned group or department for review, comments, and approvals.

Ultimately if the client and the contractor share the same solution, the client would create an outgoing transmittal (and the cover sheet could be automatically generated) and the receiver will be notified (email notification) about the received transmittal (incoming) to take action upon

Outgoing Transmittal

Outgoing transmittals are packages that a party would like to officially notify the second party about. The document controller prepare an outgoing transmittal cover sheet listing all attachments/revisions to be sent under this transmittal.

As such, usually two copies of the cover sheet is produced. One for collecting acknowledgment to be returned to the document controller.

Internal Transmittal

Once the document controller receiving an incoming transmittal (documents / drawings), an internal transmittal should be distributed as soon as possible to the concerned parties for review, comments, and approval following the distribution matrix.

When creating an internal transmittal, the document controller should be able to select the recipients (groups or individual users) or have it predefined on a based on specific document types and upon creation, the receipients should be notified by email detailing the documents attached, their metadata, and the ability to download their attachments directly) .

Summary

Currently most of the construction companies are still using old method to handle most of their workflow including the transmittal management. Imagine how the above process would be if it has to be done manual and the risks/mistakes that would occur.

An ECM solution specialized in the construction industry should have this capability included to digital drive the information flow and keep record of each transaction happening officially between different parties involved.

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