Construction projects require special filing because the documentation for each project becomes part of the public record. In addition, project files must occasionally be carried to external meetings and must be housed so that they are not incidentally lost. Construction companies often work with a binder system, as well as a drawer filing system where blueprints are retained. A single project may require a series of binders that can be labeled according to their purpose, such as "accounting" or "legal."
Start the filing system as soon as the first document is generated for the project. Initial documents include a prospectus or a site appraisal. Open the binder. Press back simultaneously on the two metal tabs at the opposite ends of the metal apparatus in the middle of the binder. The rings should pop open with some resistance. Set the left margin of the document in mouth of the hole punch just as it would look if you were to read it. Press down on the lever with heel of your hand. The document should have three evenly-spaced holes punched in a straight line down the left margin.
Create labels for index tab dividers. Index tab dividers will separate each genre of document. Tab label stickers usually come with packaged sets of index tabs. Otherwise, most Avery labels are have a corresponding template preloaded into Microsoft Word for easy label printing. Open Word to a blank document. Click "Tools" on the top toolbar. Click "Letters and Mailings," then "Envelopes and Labels." Click the "Labels" tab. Click the label icon in the bottom right corner of the dialog box. Select an Avery template number (located at the bottom or top of the label sheet) from the drop-down menu. Click "OK." Indicate that you wish to print a page of labels by highlighting the appropriate radial dial. Click "New Document."
Enter label names in each label section on the template. A label should be named to indicate what documents are in each section. Common construction labels include "Site Acquisition," "Planning," "Pre-qualification Bidding," "Bidding," "Construction," "Inspection," "Contracts," "Warranty," "Accounting" and "Legal." Place the label sheet in the printer before printing. Remove labels one by one and attach to the tab section of the index divider. Dividers may already be hole-punched.
Place documents in the binder under the relevant tab. For example, appraisals, surveys, soil tests, site approvals, eminent domain documents and escrow information will fall under the "Site Acquisition" tab. As the binder fills up, add additional binders and move sections according to need. Accounting and legal will require their own binders as the project progresses.
File blueprints in a flat-drawer blueprint filing cabinet. Alternative blueprint filing systems include a stackable-roll filing cabinet or a rolling stand with pivot hangers. The flat filing cabinet is the most efficient. Staple multiple blueprints together with the use of staple strips, which protect the integrity of the blueprint from the staple.
- ablage image by Klaus Eppele from Fotolia.com