In the construction industry, we are familiar with terms like as-built drawings and closeout submittals.
So, if you asked someone what the Project Record is, they likely would tell you as-built drawings and the closeout submittals. In fact, the Project Record includes ALL documents associated with the project, including bid documents and addenda, meeting minutes, RFIs, all submittals, schedules, reports, design changes and field instructions, change orders, correspondence, transmittals, and any other document prepared by one party and sent to another.
Given that the Project Record includes all of these documents, you now realize that assembling and maintaining the Project Record is not something that is done at the end of the job. It starts with the bid phase (bid docs and addenda), and continues throughout the construction phase and project closeout. For projects with full service Construction Managers (CM), the Project Record is assembled and maintained by the CM. If the Architect administers construction with no CM, or with a clerk of the works, the Architect assembles and maintains the Project Record.
Used on almost all projects, electronic project management systems (EPMS) are used to assemble and maintain an electronic Project Record. Through the EPMS, documents can (and should) be readily available to all project parties (Owner, Architect, CM, Contractors). When an EPMS has been used, the Project Record can be delivered on a portable hard drive or similar data storage device once the project has been closed out. Gone are the days of filing cabinets full of paper documents.
There are some documents which are part of the Project Record that should not be shared among all parties. Specifically, for multi-prime contractor projects it is reasonable not to provide primes with access to each other’s financial records. Also, legally sensitive documents should not be shared.
The Project Record also is legally significant. All documents that compose the Project Record, whether or not they were placed into the EPMS, can be requested via discovery. Therefore, give careful consideration to the documents you create, because once they exist, they become part of the Project Record.
Article by Doug Zaenger, P.E., LEED® AP
Senior Project Manager