How Long Should a Contractor Keep Construction Project Information?

I Plan to Keep Mine Forever and I don’t Think That’s Any Too Long

As a note taking nerd, I tend to gather and keep a lot of information. Some people would say that I go overboard with this…and maybe I do.

Like note taking, the storing of construction project information is going to be different for everyone.

So, what do I consider to be “construction project information”?

When I talk about project information, I’m referring to things like –

  • Project Overviews – A OneNote document for gathering customer info, project info, project goals, meeting notes, preliminary scope of work, production teams and resources needed, etc.
  • Bid sheets – Word document where specific notes regarding dimensions, locations, materials, quantities, etc. are made and the scope of work is started.
  • Worksheets – An Excel spreadsheet where information from the data base is combined with the quantities needed for specific tasks to determine what the price will be for each task.
  • Supplier quotes – This provides a history of what was used previously.
  • Contracts – This Word document is what completes the proposal process and moves the project forward into production.
  • Payment applications – This Excel spreadsheet is used for preparing progress payments.
  • Invoices – QuickBooks documents that correspond with the payment applications.

These are examples of the things that I have saved electronically and/or physically.

I’m not going to tell you that you should gather and keep as much information as I do, but this works for me. The purpose of sharing this topic today is to give you some pros and cons to consider when it comes to saving project information.

The thing that prompted this discussion today is the preparing a window project proposal for a customer. We did the same basic work for them twice previously. Once in 2013 and once in 2015.

A lot of contractors would not still have any information from those projects.

I have everything.

The benefit to having saved all the information from those two previous projects is that it saves time in preparing the proposal for the current project. And we all need to save time everywhere we can.

The benefits include…

  • First – Having done the previous work it provides a jumpstart to the information gathering process. Reviewing the previous notes saves time when it comes to gathering and clarifying the details of what the project includes.
  • Second – The scope of work is almost identical. Whatever the differences are, it’s much faster to save a copy of one of those earlier ones and make the necessary changes. This saves a lot of time over typing it from scratch.
  • Third – The pricing worksheet has a few more changes than the scope of work because of price increases, but it still provides a jump start to the pricing process.

The downside to keeping this information is similar to note taking issues.

If you don’t know where it is and can’t find it…what’s the point of keeping it?

This is one of the great things about computers and storing things in the cloud. You can do a search and find it.

Knowing myself, I’ve figured out that I’m much happier with too much information saved rather than not enough.

Okay…Now I need to get back to work on that window project proposal. I sure am glad I saved all that info to give a head start.

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