Designing and implementing document management system (DMS) –Physical /Hard documents -Building Design functions.

 In the real estate &  hospitality Industry, critical documents like original land deeds, licenses & Statutory approvals, customer agreements, and contracts with vendors/contractors must be kept securely and safely.Within the Designing of Architect, Interior designing, and MEP Services functions, many documents like designs and drawings, specifications, etc., 69 types of documents, and 18 types of manuals have been identified.This blog covers the following aspects:·     Function-wise listing of 69 (sixty-nine) types of documents & 18 (eighteen) types of manuals associated with building design functions·     List of 12 (twelve) activities for ensuring a robust document management system·     Selection criteria for an outside storage facility·     Risks associated with hard documents All such documents must be stored systematically & securely and retrievable easily for access by building designers, management, other authorised users, and auditors.The hard documents are usually stored in-house but can also be stored with an outsourced agency outside the company premises.The types of documents (function-wise) identified for 3 Project design and engineering functions are summarised below.·      Core documents=38types and expandable to 300 types·      Statutory documents=31 types and expandable to 300 types·      Unique Functional manuals=15 types and expandable to 30 types·      Statutory manuals =1 type and expandable to 2 types·      Similar type manuals=2 types and expandable to 5 types·      Drawings and Designs =As relevant and requiredThe list /names of such documents are included in chapter 17 of my handbook, mentioned below.The actual number of drawings/design documents within each core and statutory document may run into several hundred /thousand/lacs per financial year as per the number range planned.  Function-wise examples (2 types each) of a few cores and statutory documents (hard or soft) that need to be stored, accessed, and retrieved are below. Design of ArchitectureCore documents1. Submission drawings for statutory approvals2. Tender documents etcAnd so onStatutory documents1. Copies of Applications and fee payment challans" applicable to this function for each type of Licenses, Sanctions, Approvals, renewals w. r. t. Central Government statutory documents such as2. National building codeAnd so onInterior DesigningCore documents1. The design and drawings w.r.t Finishing, Furnishing and fixtures, Equipment for Interior design, Artwork, etc.2. Specifications for BOQAnd so onStatutory documents1 "Checklists for compliances" w. r. t. each statutory act /State regulation applicable to this function2. Copies of all statutory records applicable to this functionDesign of MEPCore documents1. The design and drawings w.r.t Electrical package2. Specifications for BOQ -Electrical design packageAnd so onStatutory documents1. Specific acts related to documents, e.g., The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1987.2. Specific acts related to documents, e.g., The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,1987.And so on  Activities for developing DMSThe following 12 activities have been identified. These activities are identical in each of the  three design functions in the construction industry.1. Identify documents and manual types –(hard documents) that need to be stored physically2. Identify the form of documents and manual types that need to be stored, such as summarized below: Core Documents/functional manuals in 3 functions·      Hard paper form -usually in A8, A4, A2 or equivalent sizes, etc. e.g.A few examples are as below.Architect drawings or engineering layouts· Hard plastic film form -usually in A1 size or bigger and used for Engineering or Architectural drawings or engineering layouts.And so on.3 Classify each hard document into three categories as (A)Statutory type, (B) Confidential, (C)Operational4. Perform the following activitiesSelecting storage locations for hard documents·       a) In-house Central location or·        b) In-house storage within the respective function·        c) External outsourced location5. Evolve Document retention policy with inputs from HOD of design functions, legal, and CFO independent of storage location6. Sanction by management of the following for Hard documents planned to be stored at the Central Repository in the organization for all functions·      Physical storage place and infrastructure for storing documents with the required capacity·      Resource for indexing, receiving, accessing, viewing, retrieving, and issuing documents, providing physical storage place and infrastructure for storing documents with the required capacity7. Identify storage location for hard documents planned to be stored within own function) and providing guidelines to designers for storage, retrieval  8. Develop a system for documents deposit, safe storage, and retrieval system  based on inputs from 3 functional HOD vis-à-vis hard documents9. Evaluate facilities and processes of external outsourced /outside storage locations and then negotiate prices. A few of the evaluation parameters are as below.· Building's construction features (like RCC building, lighting, handling facilities)·      Fire protection arrangements·      Water logging prevention·      Termites and insects protection·      Accessibility of storage but at not prominent locations·      Building distance from construction project sites and offices·      Security arrangements·      Reputation for ensuring safety and confidentiality·      Layout efficiency·      Handling and logistics arrangements for physical/hard copies of a document or manual for safe storage, pick up, and delivery.·      Confidentiality of client's name on boxes/files for documents or manual at storage premises·      Storage capacity·      Features of software for indexing, storage, and retrieval of documents·      Throughput times for pickup and delivery, photocopying, etc10. Develop an SOP covering the below activities vis-à-vis hard documents to be stored in the outsourced facility:·      Pickup timelines of documents to be stored from time to time (for different service levels-normal, urgent/immediate, etc.) from the designer's location and transport to the service provider's outside storage warehouse and storage·      Retrieval and transporting of documents- delivery timelines of the document (for different service levels-normal, urgent/immediate, etc.) from the outside storage location of the service provider to the designer's location·      Retrieval of documents for weeding out as per retention policy·      Access rights for conducting Periodic audits of the designer's documents at the service provider's storage location·      Obtaining photocopies of prescribed documents lying in the outside storage location·      Authorisation rights for requisitioning pick up or retrieval or and return and storage or and weeding out of hard documents11. Evolve rights for requisitioning pick up or and retrieval or and return:12. Avail Day-to-day document pickup and retrieval services, as per SOP, from the service provider vis-à-vis hard documents to be stored outside the function.Risks associated with hard documents·      Liberal access rights for retrieval of documents leading to compromise in confidentiality and unauthorised changes of contents of documents·      Inadequate protection of documents for damage caused by water, termites, rodents, fire, etc.·      Limited shelf life of hard documents·      Inappropriate housekeeping makes timely retrieval extremely difficultTherefore, soft copies of all such documents are preferred over hard documents, which are also covered in detail in the book.In the case of an outside storage option, a cross-functional team comprising of projects, building design, and IT team must evaluate reputed vendors to ensure safety, efficiency, and authorised retrieval.Handbook of the author A template illustrating the list of activities to be performed for developing DMS-Hard documents is included in chapter 12 of the author's handbook and titled" ETHICS in the real estate and hospitality industry, Volume 1- Architectural, Interior design, and MEP services.