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Finedata Limited - Document Control Tutorial

Lesson 9 - Distributing Documents: Distribution Matrices.

A distribution matrix is one of the ways document controllers work out the 'Who' and 'Why' parts of distributing documents. A distribution matrix can be as simple as a rubber stamp with spaces for the names of the intended recipients which is then completed by a planner, resources co-ordinator or construction manager. Some projects create and maintain matrices on spreadsheets or they may form part of a computerised document control system.

Generally speaking, where electronic matrices are concerned, there are two levels of detail involved:

  • Generic Matrices - Where actual document numbers are not listed, but document originators, types, their 'topic' (electrical, mechanical, floor plan etc.) and reason for issue may be.
  • Specific Matrices - Where individual document numbers and titles are listed, sometimes down to revision level.
Until some documents have been received, or at least their existence known about, it is normally only possible to create the Generic Matrices.

When a number of documents can be identified it is not unusual to create quite specific matrices - but maintaining them becomes a substantial task.

Click here to see an example of a distribution matrix.

Distribution matrices of one form or another are becoming increasingly common and usually provide document controllers with a 'base-line' or minimum from which to decide the distribution of individual documents. Matrices are not 'set in stone' and additional recipients can be required.

Where matrices are employed, their creation is often part of the document controllers job, in that they may have to supply a list of documents in a nicely presented fashion on a spreadsheet. The completion of recipients, particularly in the early stages of a project, or where the document controller is relatively inexperienced, normally falls to other members of the project team such as planners, construction managers and resource co-ordinators.

As projects progress, and confidence in individual document controllers increases, it becomes quite common for document controllers to largely decide on distribution themselves with little reference to other members of the project team. Getting the distribution of documents correct is very much part of the skill of the job.

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