A Framework for Enhancing Contract-Related Documentation in Construction

  • Author / Creator
    Jafari, Parinaz
  • The management of project documentation involves processing a large amount of important information embedded in different contract and project specification documents. Although contract-related documentation is critical for effective information flow and—in turn—successful project management, it remains a relatively underexplored area of construction management research and practice. The few studies that have explored document processes in construction have limited their focus on the development and improvement of various document management systems. These improvements, however, have failed to achieve the anticipated performance in construction. Documentation requirements remain scattered haphazardly throughout project contracts, complicating their identification and management by practitioners. Moreover, documentation processes are often overlooked and mismanaged, lack efficient planning, and are prone to variability, ultimately resulting in time and cost inefficiency. Structured methods capable of addressing the underlying problems and limitations of contract-related documentation in construction, however, have yet to be developed.
    This thesis is proposing a two-phase framework designed to enhance documentation, communication, and sharing practices in both the planning and execution and control phases of construction projects. For the planning phase, a method capable of automating a portion of the administrative process and enhancing decision-support for administrative resource planning is proposed. Here, a natural language processing approach capable of automatically extracting documentation requirements embedded in contract documents was developed. Then, a Monte-Carlo simulation model was created and used to predict the overhead costs and durations associated with completing contract-related documentation. Application of the planning phase portion of the framework is anticipated to improve estimation and planning of administrative resources, while also enhancing the ability of practitioners to negotiate for the reduction of redundant or irrelevant contract requirements, thereby improving value to all stakeholders.
    During the execution and control phase of documentation processes, Lean approaches and network studies are used to enhance the overall performance of documentation processes in construction projects. First, a structured procedure for applying Lean construction principles to enhance and support document management processes through the reduction of hidden waste (such as non-value adding activities) is proposed. In this procedure, value stream mapping is integrated with simulation modeling to quantitatively assess the performance of the documentation process, to identify potential improvements to the current process, and to quantitatively predict the impact of proposed improvements on future project performance. Then, social network analysis is employed to measure and analyze communication of project participants in the documentation process network. Application of the execution and control portion of the framework is expected to reduce waste, rework, omissions, and errors, in turn increasing profit and value for both contractors and clients.
    The feasibility and functionality of the proposed framework was validated using practical case studies, the results of which have also provided valuable information for practitioners. Altogether, this research has developed a procedure that can facilitate (1) the extraction of documentation requirements; (2) the forecasting of process time and cost uncertainty measurements; (3) the elimination of excess production and document processing to increase transparency and reduce waste within the administrative process; and (4) the discovery and quantification of documentation process networks for improved efficiency.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.