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Finedata Limited - Document Control Tutorial

Lesson 5 - Document Review and Approval

Some documents need to be reviewed, or approved by the design team. In some projects this process is called collaboration.

Managing document approvals is one of the most difficult things document controllers are expected to do. Doing it correctly is hard work and requires care and a methodical approach, not doing it correctly leads to chaos and the possibility of claims for the untimely delivery of information.

A document subject to review is often received 'For Approval' and would be issued to a number of people for comment. In order for the approval process to be managed efficiently it is common practice to nominate one of the recipients as a 'Lead Reviewer' for each document. This person is then responsible for gathering together the various comments made by other reviewers and deciding on a documents' status. It is this person that is normally 'chased' for the status when time runs short.

When a document is issued to the design team for approval, they are generally given a certain amount of time to complete the review and return the document to the document controller with any comments. The document controller will then normally register the documents' status and return it to the originator.

This is not always the case, however, on some projects the design team works directly with trade contractors and decides a documents' status without reference to the document controller. When this happens, it is normal for the document controller to receive only those documents which have already been approved. Under these circumstances it is often still normal practice to return a copy of the documents to the originator with the status clearly shown - as this gives them a chance to prevent the document being issued if revisions are in progress.

Typically, a documents' status falls into one of three categories:
  • The document is satisfactory and may be used for construction, this is generally defined as status 'A'.
  • The document is fairly satisfactory and may be used for construction once comments have been incorporated, this is generally defined as status 'B'. The originator is generally expected to submit a revised version of the document.
  • The document is unsatisfactory and must be revised and resubmitted, this is generally a status 'C'.
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