Soft Documents -Designing and implementing a document management system (DMS) –.
Like Hard documents, many important soft documents (including manuals) within each design function are required for day-to-day operations in business. In addition, many of these documents must be submitted to management for decisions or auditors or statutory agencies.
These must be stored systematically and indexed properly for easy retrieval as and when required by operating teams, auditors, or statutory agencies.
These documents can be stored in-house or with an outsourced agency like cloud storage.
This article includes the following aspects.
· 1Types of core & statutory documents identified as used in building design functions.
· 2 Examples of a few core & statutory documents in 3 design functions
· 3 Types of Digital files are used in the development of building designs and
· 4 Types of digital documents used -other than drawings and designs
· 5. Twelve activities for developing DMS (soft documents)
· 6, Parameters for evaluating DMS solutions
1,Types of documents
The concepts shared in this article apply to any business/any function. However, as per the title of the author’s handbook, documents for three building design functions, Design Architectural, Interior Design, and Design of MEP, have been summarised below.
· Core documents=38 types 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 =Different types as relevant and required
The actual number of documents within each core and statutory document may run into several hundred /thousand/lacs per financial year as per the number range planned
For designers to understand, design 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.
2. Examples of a few core & statutory documents
Design of Architecture
1. Submission drawings for statutory approvals
2. Tender documents etc
And so on
1. 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 as
2. National building code
And so on
1. The design and drawings w.r.t Finishing, Furnishing and fixtures, Equipment for Interior design, Artwork, etc.
2. Specifications for BOQ
And so on
1 “Checklists for compliances” w. r. t. each statutory act /State regulation applicable to this function
2. Copies of all statutory records applicable to this function
Design of MEP
1. The design and drawings w.r.t HVAC
2. Specifications for BOQ -HVAC design package
And so on
1. 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
The list /names of such documents are included in chapter 17 of my handbook, per the few examples below.
3. Types of Digital files used in the development of building designs and drawings
§ AutoCAD drawings = DWG. (supports 2D &3D geometry)
§ Building information modeling =BIM (3D models using Autodesk Revit, ArchiCAD, or Bentley MicroStation)
§ Portable document format =PDF
§ Joint photographic experts group =JPEG. (Image format)
§ Tagged image file format =TIFF. (Image format)
§ Industry foundation classes. =IFC (for exchanging BIM data)
§ Portable network graphics =PNG. (Image format)
§ Graphics interchange format =GIF (Animation format)
§ Scalable vector Graphics =SVG (web-based drawings format)
§ Computer graphics Metafile =. CGM(For 2D vector graphics)
4. Types of digital documents used -other than drawings and designs
· Text file: Doc, Docx, Xls, Pdf, etc
· Image file: JPG, TIF, PNG, GIF, etc
· Audio file: WAV, MP3, etc.
· Video file: (e.g., AVI-Audio- Video interleave, WMV-window media Video, MOV-Quick time format, MP4, AVCHD-advanced Video coding- high definition
5. Twelve activities for developing DMS (soft documents
The following 12 activities have been identified. These activities are identical in each of the functions in the construction industry.
1. Identify documents and manual types –(Soft documents) that need to be stored digitally
2. Identify the form of documents -a core, statutory, drawings and designs, or manual types that need to be stored, such as summarized below:
· Design & Drawings & Graphics:
· Other than Designs & drawings
3 Classify each soft document into three categories as (A)Statutory type, (B) Confidential, (C)Operational.
This is to be based on guidelines from top management
4. Perform the following activities
Selecting Software for indexing document files/manuals, tracking documents retrieval pursuing an option as per the need of the organisation
· a) In-house central repository in servers or storage device
· b) In-house on the functional PC/Computer or storage device
· c) External outsourced location like cloud storage
5. Evolve Document retention policy with inputs from HOD of design functions, legal, and CFO independent of storage location
6. In case Soft Documents are planned to be stored in-house: Develop in-house software with at least the following software features based on inputs from functional HOD vis-à-vis soft documents to be kept in-house at a central repository
7. In case Soft Documents are planned to be stored outside: Evaluate features offered by external /Service Providers’ software solution
The solutions could be the following.
· Cloud storage based
· Non-Cloud-Conventional based
Critical evaluations steps include the following:
i) Preparation and floating of RFQ with required parameters such as listed in the activity
ii) For large-size customer organisations, Identifying various service providers for cloud storage, such as below:
· Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, Apple I Cloud, Amazon Drive, Dropbox
· Next cloud, Adobe, Box, Mega
Obtaining their technical features, commercial offers and arranging a Demo of the solution.
Once the negotiation is done, the purchase order is placed on the chosen service provider. Finally, the signup is done, and users can use these services easily as the installation is simple.
iii) identify local service providers offering Non-Cloud-conventional software solutions for small-size companies.
iv) Obtaining quotes and evaluating technology features vis-à-vis parameters listed in RFQ and compiled below beside the financial strength of the service provider and experience in business, market share, etc.
v) Negotiating prices Placing an order on the finalized service provider, and informing all concerned HOD
vi) Arranging training for using DMS
8. Develop SOP/guidelines vis-à-vis IT Security policy for uploading/storage, retrieval, backup, and deletion of soft documents
9. Evolve access rights for uploading, viewing, retrieval, and deletion of soft documents irrespective of storage location options as captured above
10. Collaborate daily for availing services from the cloud-based vendor or external service provider for DMS services for soft documents.
11. As and when hierarchical changes or movements (departures, retirements, transfers, or additions) happen vis employees and other authorised business associates to who access rights were previously granted, revisiting these access rights on a dynamic basis to ensure confidentiality integrity and availability of information
12 Avail of Day-to-day document services, as per SOP, from the service provider vis-à-vis soft documents to be stored outside the design function.
6, Parameters for evaluating DMS solutions
· Permissions and access- rights
· File management/File sharing
· Collaboration support
· Data Security
· Administration Control
· User Activity Monitoring Capabilities
· Access from multiple locations
· Access from multiple devices
· Interface with ERP for retrieval and storage of soft documents
· Storage space in GB/TB etc
· Automatic back up
· Downtime protection through multiple servers
· Service level agreement to minimize downtime
· Storage capacity in GB/TB
· Audit trails
· The initial cost of software acquisition
· Training person-days
· Recurring Cost Per Month
The list of activities for developing DMS-Soft documents is included in chapter 12 (annex 34C) in the author's handbook. It is titled” ETHICS in the real estate and hospitality industry, Volume 1- Architectural, Interior Design, and MEP Services.