I got a call the other week from an ongoing client of ours. He asked if I could come by his office to talk about a new project they were planning. Over the years I have come to recognize that documentation for some of you are an important part of your building’s identity, and for others, you barely recognize the term. We’ve worked with both of you. This client is the latter. They have a whole room of file cabinets filled with blue prints from previous projects (in full disclosure the attached picture is not their plan room, but theirs does have plenty of flat files). So you can understand my surprise when I showed up and on his desk was a pile of 11” x 17” copies. I said “Steve what is going on?” he said “Well good news – bad news”. The good news is that we have documentation of the area for this project. The bad news is that our large size printer is down for repair so you will need to piece the individual sheets together to get the information. I was glad for the information and tried not to be too annoyed by the “jigsaw puzzle” laying in front of me. Having facility documentation is a little bit like having a will. You don’t think much about it until it’s too late. Here are some reasons why you may want to invest some time and money into your documentation:
- It speeds along your planning and expansion process. Your Architect/Engineer/Contractor will want to reference your “paper” prior to starting their work on your project. If you have accurate documentation, they will be able to start right away, and there won’t be delays with field verifications.
- It is an excellent maintenance tool. Your documentation can be an excellent source for troubleshooting inside your facility. When “things” happen, and they will, it is good to know your documentation will allow you to respond accurately and quickly.
- It will keep you out of trouble with Government agencies. When those pesky inspectors come on your property, and they will, you may need documents to keep you out of trouble! Your documentation may be the only thing between you and a fine.
One more tip for you. Paper media is fine, but electronic media is the best. Electronic media is updatable, provides “what-if” scenarios, is easily referenced, allows for a shared resource, and is expandable. However you decide to document your facility, whether you choose paper or electronic media, always maintain records! It will save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.
If you’d like more tips on Facility Documentation or help in beginning the process of documenting your facility, give us a call. We’re happy to help you with all of your Planning & Design needs.