Insights and best practices for construction management technology and project delivery

Four Principles of Document Revision Management

Rob Phillpot
Global Vice President, Product Strategy

I'd like to share some of the good practice processes that we’ve identified through working with clients on Oracle Aconex. These can help projects run better and avoid the cost and time impacts of poor document management.

The control and revision of documents is one area where establishing good procedure between participants can really help a project. Areas to focus on include the numbering, revision and status of documents, the control of transmittals, and the maintenance of a document issue register.

Use of an online document management system can ensure a best practice approach to the generation and management of document registers. We’ve identified four principles of good revision management that should be agreed between the collaborating parties – whether or not an online document management tool is being used.

1. The document numbering system should be agreed at the start of the project

Clients may insist on implementing their own document numbering system, or participating organizations may combine to create a new system. Whichever way is chosen it is important to make a clear statement about the system and to ensure all parties are aware of it and use it.

2. The revision coding system should be agreed as part of the above numbering system

The most common revision systems are based on a numeric (1, 2, 3 …) or alphabetic sequence (A, B, C … AA, AB, AC …). In some cases, numbers are used for revisions up to the ‘For Construction’ issue of documents, with letters used for revisions from that point on. Alternatively, letters and numbers can be combined, with the sequence reverting to a letter at agreed points in the revision process (A1, A2, A, B1, B2, B, C1…). Some organizations develop more complex coding to reflect their own internal review stages (e.g. A1-01, A1-02, A2-01…).

3. The revision code must continue sequentially from the first issue of a document through its entire life

This allows all participants, including those not involved in the creation of a document, to understand how versions of documents relate to each other. There can be exceptions to this rule if predefined. For example, the revision code may revert back to A or 1 at the completion of each stage of a project. This is a complicated requirement and requires careful management and quality control.

4. Revisions must be clearly identified within a document

In the case of a drawing, there will normally be a revision cloud around the area of change, with a revision letter placed inside a triangle attached to the cloud. CAD drawings would have this on a revision cloud layer, with a new layer created for each cloud.

We see these four principles as being essential for effective document revision management. Let us know if there is anything you think should be added to this list.

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