One of the common requirements on all capital construction projects is that most project related communications, require attaching different types of documents and records that the communication is referring to. Those include shop drawings, as built drawings, pictures, videos, specifications, insurance documents, shipping documents, no objection certificates, permits, warranties, method statements, material and equipment catalogues, records of other project management business processes, email communications among others. For projects where project communications are still not digitalized, there is always the requirement to make and share copies of those attachments to all those individuals that the communication was issued to.
Nevertheless, with the growing demand for adopting a paperless strategy, this practice of attaching hard-copy documents to project communications becomes completely unacceptable. Further, the massive volume of documents generated by this practice is an example of the many non-environmentally friendly practices that must be stopped.
On the other hand, if a project is using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) solution like PMWeb to manage and communicate project information, then there is a more effective and waste-free process that can be implemented. For each business process managed in PMWeb, there is a tab called Attachments. The attachments tab provides the issuer of the transaction with different options to attach the needed supportive documents and records, allowing for a paperless strategy. Those attached documents and linked records automatically become available to all those PMWeb users involved in the review and approve workflow tasks assigned to each business process.
The first option for attaching documents is to upload and attach documents that could be located on any device the that user has access to. PMWeb allows uploading documents in bulk or one at a time. Although PMWeb allows attaching documents that has a file size of up to 1.9 GB per file, nevertheless, a recommended practice is to limit each file size to 250 MB or 150 MB, which continues to be large compared to most other type of communications platforms. In addition, PMWeb allows defining the type of files that can be uploaded to PMWeb which usually does not allow executable files for data security requirements.
The second option is to attach documents that have been previously uploaded and stored on PMWeb document management repository. The user needs to select the folder or subfolder where the document was stored at and attach it to the transaction.
The third option is to link records or transactions from the different business processes that are already being managed in PMWeb. The user can simply select one or many records from each business process to link to the current business process transaction.
Another available option is to link email communications imported to PMWeb. This requires setting the email mail server in PMWeb so it can import those emails as well as include the creation of an email address to each project. This project email address is used in the Carbon Copy (CC) field of each project email to ensure that a copy of this email along with its attachments gets imported to PMWeb and stored in the Email Inbox module.
Should there be a requirement to link a document that is on the website of another entity or just simply to make a link to another entity website, then there is the option available to create the link to the website by providing the URL address for that website.
The last option is to link documents that are stored on third party document management system like MS SharePoint. This requires adding the URL address of those documents that need to be linked to PMWeb business process transaction. For this option to be active, PMWeb document integration module needs to be used and properly setup. There is also the option for creating customized integration for other document management systems solutions provider.
All those attached documents and records are available on the attachment of the PMWeb business process transaction. Additional data fields can be added to each one of those attached or linked records to enable filtering and reporting on those attachments. It is also highly recommended to add comments to each attached document to provide better understanding of what the document was for.
If there is a requirement to include the list of those attached documents and linked records and emails when there this a need to formally communicate a transaction, then the output form of the business process can be designed to include this list of attached documents and linked records. The attachment table, which is part of the form, can be designed to display the required information for each attached document or linked record, email or website.
Further, if there is a requirement to email those attachments to other PMWeb and even non-PMWeb users, then this can be done using PMWeb notification option. Through this function which is available for all PMWeb business processes, an email can be created for which the user can select what attachments to be emailed. The log of all those sent emails is recorded on the notification tab. And with that, your everyday communication records will now have a paperless strategy put in place, reducing the projects environmental impact.