Document control in building design and construction
An understanding of where documents are, who created them, what they are for and how to retrieve them is extremely important in order to avoid confusion and mistakes.
Organisations may have their own internal quality management system or iso 9001 certification that sets out their document control procedures, but on a building design project, the consultant team members and the client may wish to agree a common system of document control.
Automatic, electronic systems for document control can be used (document management systems (DMS)) that will automatically name, create versions, track, archive, retrieve and share documents, however at the very least a document control system should be agreed that standardises:
- Document naming.
- Revision numbering.
- Checking and approval systems.
- Status of documents, such as 'for construction', or 'for information'.
- How changes are recorded and highlighted.
- Templates, such as document titles and drawing title blocks.
- Formatting (page sizes and orientation, fonts and font sizes etc).
- Systems for storing and issuing documents (distribution matrix).
- Control of externally created documents.
It is important that the whole project team buys into and supports the document control system as such systems can only be effective if they include all documentation, and there can be a tendency for members of the project team to allow systems to slip if they see that others are not following agreed procedures. See collaborative practices.
Increasingly, project teams are establishing online environments for file sharing and / or document control. It is important that it is clear who is responsible for maintaining such a system, and whether it is a contractual requirement for members of the project team to use it.
NB: The ARB (Architects Registration Board) Code: 'Standards of professional conduct and practice', requires that architects have adequate quality management systems in place to protect a client's interest. Standard 4: 'Competent management of your business' states: 'you should ensure that adequate security is in place to safeguard both paper and electronic records for your client, taking full account of data protection legislation, and that clients' confidential information is safeguarded'
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Building information modelling.
- Change control.
- Common data environment.
- Computer aided design.
- Construction drawing.
- Construction industry knowledge standard.
- Collaborative practices.
- Global Unique IDs (GUIDs).
- Information and communications technology.
- Information manager.
- Knowledge management.
- Native file.
- Project extranet.
 External references
Featured articles and news
CEOs and high-level executives explain who they expect to be the most successful players in the future of construction.
What are package contracts and how are they broken down? Find out in our introductory article.
Identifying sustainable shoreline protection solutions in the face of rising sea levels and storms in the US.
Budget documents state modern methods of construction will be favoured for public infrastructure schemes from 2019.
A walk-through exhibition of an emergency humanitarian shelter is officially opened at BRE's Innovation Park.
How to work safely on a construction site during winter.
Housing is the big winner in Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Budget.
The winner of our BSRIA competition, Tomorrow's challenges in today's buildings, is.... Bob Hendrikx. A big thank you to everyone that took part.
Committee of MPs accuses government of dealing billpayers a 'bad hand' over the guaranteed power price.
In 1992, the Joint Fire Code was first published. What influence does it still have on construction sites today?
"Companies will have to adapt or go out of business" - how are virtual reality and big data disrupting digital construction?
International Well Building Institute and BRE collaborate on multiple levels to advance human health through better buildings.
"The industry has tried moving away from prescriptivism to focus on performance, but maybe that’s no longer working".