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This article is the second in a series to address the subject of Document Control. The series addresses the storage, retrieval, internal use and distribution of electronic information. The first article focussed on file naming conventions. This article (in 4 parts) deals with 'Internal Filing Systems' for external and internal documents in an architectural practice. The various documents being filed may be related to the management of the practice, the management of a project or to resource materials available.
Part 2 discusses consideration for the filing of documents related to the management of a practice.
Practice Management Files
Practice management files may include files related to administrative tasks such as office and equipment leasing, accounting, marketing, customer relations management, consultant contracts and human resources:
Administrative tasks for Practice Management involving legal and accounting documents, some RFP proposals, pre-commissioning correspondence, human resources and financial information, etc. may require secure access due to personal privacy requirements and/or because of office policy issues.
Network permissions, password access, file encryption, etc., among other means, may be used to ensure an appropriate level of security for the files.
Folder Structures & Arrangement
Practice management related information is not monolithic, but comprises groupings of information that bear little relationship to other groupings. The file storage will involve a series of folder hierarchies rather than a single hierarchy.
Marketing files may have sets of folders for marketing to existing clients, to potential clients, and for public service type opportunities. There may also be files for RFP or competition responses. These may be organized chronologically, by client, by project delivery type (P3, DB, competition, etc.), or by project type (hospitality, health care, commercial, etc.).
The filing of accounting information may largely be dictated by the accounting software used.
Human resources files may be organized into sets of folders for current and former staff (partners, employees, casual labour, consultants, etc.), applicable legislation, mandatory policy statements, office policies, health and safety committee minutes/inspections, new employee packages, employee training records, etc.
For example, portions of the file structures may be organized as follows:
Naming conventions for files are discussed in detail in the previous article called ‘Electronic Project Document Filing Conventions’.