The ideal document management for contractors and developers
[This month’s series features excerpts from our conversation with M-Files user Peter Uhlman, president of the Philadelphia-based Percheron Group, a commercial and residential real estate development company].
How do you track files on the construction side of your business?
Uhlman: We maintain all of our construction drawings the same way we maintain signed legal documents, whether they are blueprints from our architect or old plans from an acquired property. We have a blueprint-sized scanner, which we use to put the prints into M-Files as PDFs. We can attach the appropriate metadata details to identify the plan, including project number, property location, architect, and so on. If the plan is already there, M-Files designates it as a new version automatically.
Again, this is for all the same reasons as keeping a complete record of our legal files. We need version control to prevent serious error, and we need a precise history of past actions in case there is some dispute or misunderstanding.
I would recommend the M-Files document manger to small- or medium-sized construction firms. What do you do with the blueprint that is no longer valid because it has been followed by another print? Well, most of us crumple it up and throw it away, or throw it in back of the truck or push it to the other end of the desk. But there’s risk in that. It’s actually more costly to have the old blueprint on site than to have no blueprint at all because someone might inadvertently start working from the old, now incorrect, version.
M-Files document management software is the kind tool that really helps cost-effectively manage change. When architects produce more than one version of a blueprint, M-Files allows the building contractor to easily store it digitally, archive it, and keep everything organized as these architectural documents evolve.
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