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Facilities Management (FM) Must Shirk Complacence in Engaging Document Controllers / Project Administrators

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In the FM business, the role of a Document Controller / Project Administrator is crucial, but very few people acknowledge this. In fact, this is amongst the most understated roles. A transactional approach is taken from their appointment to day-to-day engagement. Instead of leveraging them by mapping their role in staff engagement and payroll, procurement support and work order management, stakeholders rarely appropriately utilize them. Unfortunately, other than reprimands, they hardly get recognition for their work. Let me first expand on the criticality of their role so that people within and outside the FM organizations understand their importance. A document controller or project administrator in Facilities Management has multiple responsibilities that include ensuring that all documentation is accurate, properly recorded, accessible, and managed, which in turn supports efficient and effective contract administration. Here are some key points highlighting the importance of a Document Controller’s role in this context:

 

A Document Controller is responsible for organized documentation, ensuring that all documents related to facilities management contracts are systematically organized. This includes contracts, amendments, communications, compliance documents, and other relevant paperwork. Organized documentation helps quick retrieval, reduces the risk of losing important information, and keeps everyone informed. From risk mitigation to resolution, this aspect is crucial.

 

They are responsible for maintaining document accuracy and ensuring all information is up-to-date and compliant with relevant laws, regulations, standards, and internal controls. This is crucial in facilities management, where adherence to safety, environmental, and operational standards is mandatory.

 

Document Controllers manage version control, ensuring all stakeholders work with the most current documents. This prevents confusion and errors from using outdated information, particularly important in managing contracts that may undergo multiple revisions.

 

They create and maintain a comprehensive audit trail of all document-related activities. This includes tracking changes, approvals, and access history. An audit trail is essential for accountability and transparency, and it is particularly invaluable during audits or disputes.

 

Document Controllers facilitate efficient and effective communication by ensuring that all relevant documents are promptly distributed to the relevant parties. This supports seamless collaboration between different teams and stakeholders in the facilities management contract.

 

Document Controllers play a vital role in risk management. Ensuring that all documents are accurate, compliant, and securely stored helps mitigate risks associated with legal disputes, non-compliance, and operational inefficiencies. Proper document management reduces the likelihood of errors and omissions that can lead to costly penalties or project delays.

 

They play a support role in decision-making. Accurate and readily accessible documentation supports informed decision-making. Facilities managers and contract administrators rely on well-maintained documents to make decisions on contract renewals, amendments, and compliance issues.

 

One of the most critical roles that they play is in cost efficiency. Efficient document control can lead to cost savings by preventing redundancies by managing attendance rosters and overtime, reducing administrative overhead, and ensuring that resources are allocated based on accurate and current information.

 

Considering the sensitivity of each contract, definitive security protocols exist, and therefore, they have a crucial role to play in enhanced security. Document Controllers implement and manage security protocols to protect sensitive information. This includes controlling access to documents, ensuring that only authorized personnel can view or modify them, and protecting against data breaches.

 

A critical aspect of FM is the standardization of documents and processes. They help establish and enforce document management standards and procedures. Standardization ensures consistency in how documents are created, reviewed, stored, and accessed, which enhances overall efficiency and quality control in contract management.

 

In true essence, the role of a Document Controller in facilities management contracts is vital for maintaining the integrity, accuracy, and accessibility of documentation. Their work supports compliance, reduces risks, enhances communication, and contributes to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of contract administration. However, the industry needs to shirk complacency in this aspect. We first need to define transparent selection processes with due merits, not just picking random profiles, and building a clear engagement process for them on their training, development, and progression.  If chosen and adequately engaged in their respective roles, they have the potential to shine in their FM career. Industry professionals need to see the aforementioned and how to leverage this role for the overall fit of the contract and the company by harnessing good talent.

 

A Document Controller / Project Administrator assumes the centre stage of the contract along with the Facility Manager.

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