In Engineering and Construction projects, Transmittal is one of the most used formal communication method among the project parties. Transmittal is a kind of “packing slip” for a document or collection of documents that are used to formally dispatch technical documents from one project party to the other. The transmittal is the front page that contains details of the documents that are sent along with the needed action on those documents.
What Transmittal is Used For?
There are many uses for transmittals but they are mainly used for
· The issue of drawings, meeting minutes, letters and other documents by the Engineering Consultant, Project Management Consultant or the Owner to the contractor for the purposes of procuring the work or items specified on the document.
· The issue of drawings, project schedules, letters and other documents by the Contractor to the Engineering Consultant, Project Management Consultant or the Owner, for which approval is sought.
· The return of these documents indicating their suitability making comments or markups as required, but including a “Status”. The status could be approved, approved as noted, approved as noted resubmit, rejected or for information.
What is Being Transmitted?
The transmittal could include hard copies of the documents being transmitted and/or soft copies of those documents. Those could be the original documents or copies of those documents. In addition, in most projects, contract agreements require submitting three or four sets of the hard and soft copies.
Why is Being Transmitted?
Transmittals are made to fulfil contractual obligations set by the contract documents that the project parties need to comply with. Therefore, the transmittal needs to identify the reason for why the transmittal is made which could include:
· As Requested
· For Information
· For Record
· For Approval
· For Review and Comment
· For Your Use
What Actions Are Needed?
When a transmittal is made, the party who issued the transmittal is expecting an action from the party the transmittal made to. Those actions usually include:
· Approved As Noted
· Approved As Submitted
What A Transmittal Should Include?
Usually a transmittal will include details on
· Date of the sending.
· Name details of sender/company and recipient/company.
· Project name, number, and other references to the project
· WBS level for the project scope of work the transmittal covers
· Subject or description of the transmittal
· Actions to be taken by recipient
· Deadline or Due Date for those actions
· Transmittal status
· List of documents sent
Transmittals for Technical Submittals
In addition, for transmittals that are made to fulfil the project’s technical submittal requirements, additional details need to be added to cover
· Specification section reference
· Submittal documents type, for example, product data, test reports, design data, material sample, shop drawings, catalogue, manuals, certificates among others.
As a best practice, it is not allowed to bind together separate submittals from different specification sections. In addition, transmittals should only include submittals that are not deviating from what was specified in the contract documents. Should there be a deviation, then a separate document template form needs to be used for those transmittals.
In addition, it is recommended to add a “Contractor Certification” for those technical submittal transmittals. The certification statement will usually state that the contractor has formally verified that all material or equipment contained in the submittal meets all the requirements specified with no exceptions.
How Can Technology Improve the Managing of Transmittals?
Projects can often involve hundreds of transmittals per month. Failing to manage Transmittals could result in delays that could have drastic impact on the project’s milestone dates. Transmittal is a critical project management process where the project team members must have rapid and correct identification of who has seen specific documents or drawings, what version they saw, when they saw it, and what response they issued.
PMWeb Project Management Information System is used to automate and control project’s transmittals. The out-of-the-box transmittal module will be used to capture the transmittal data, attach or link the transmittal documents, automate the transmittal review process, monitor, evaluate and report on the transmittal process among others.
The Transmittal Form
The PMWeb transmittal form comes ready with most of the fields that are usually needed for Transmittal Forms. In addition, PMWeb comes ready with the option of adding custom user defined fields to capture additional data that the default transmittal form does not have. Of course, there is also the option of creating the organization’s own transmittal although this is rarely needed.
Adding the Documents to Be Transmitted
Although PMWeb provides the option to generate transmittals from other PMWeb records like meeting minutes, submittals, drawings among others, nevertheless, we are assuming that the organization will use the Transmittal module to initial all transmittals Accordingly, when selecting the option to add documents, PMWeb provides the option to add those from scratch or add those by linking the relevant PMWeb record to the transmittal. For example, the contractor could be using PMWeb Drawings List module to maintain the register for all shop drawing and as-built drawings that need to be transmitted for approval. The link command will allow the transmittal issuer to drag and drop those drawings on the transmittal form. The same also applies when there is a submittal set that is ready to be transmitted.
Should the Transmittal initiator selected the option to add those documents from scratch, then again there are a number of option to attach the documents being transmitted. Those documents could be already uploaded and stored on PMWeb document management repository, or still need to uploaded, or need to provide the hyperlink on where those documents are located.
Aligning Contract Clauses and Technical Specifications with What Is Being Transmitted
PMWeb comes ready with the option to capture all contract agreement clauses and technical specifications in a module called clauses. This enables the Transmittal Issuer to add those clauses and technical specifications to the transmittal. This will ease and expedite the Transmittal review process as the review team can review and verify the transmittal compliance with the contract documents.
Another best practice for expediting the process of reviewing and approving what is being transmitted is to have an agreement among the parties of the contract of what to be checked against each type of documents being transmitted. Those checklists will be based on the organization’s past experience in delivering similar projects as well as the requirements of the project being delivered. The transmittal issuer needs to drag and drop the checklist that is relevant to what is being transmitted.
Adding Text Notes
In addition, all text notes and remarks that are usually added by the project team members to the transmittal document can be added using the notes option. For each note, PMWeb will capture the details of when it was added and by who and if it was edited, when and by who. Since PMWeb allows rich text, those notes can be formatted in a desired format.
Automating the Transmittal Review Process
The transmittal responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) is an important document for enabling governance when it comes to transmittal review and approval. Since transmittals can be used to transmit different type of project documents and records, the team involved in reviewing and approving what is being transmitted. Sometimes there is the requirement of joint review of those documents or review to be done in a specific sequence. The authority for approving or rejecting a transmittal could be affected if the transmittal could have implications on the project scope and objectives. Further, the team involved in the transmittal review and approve process could change due to the unavailability of those were originally assigned to the review and approve resource due to vacations or being replaced. Adopting a manual process for the transmittal submission, review and approve process not only carries the inefficiencies of delayed transmittals circulation but also carries the high risk of not involving the right reviewers in the process.
PMWeb workflow module allows the organization to capture all those workflows including the conditional branches, time allotted for each reviewer, conditions for approving the transmittal when multiple reviewers assigned to the same step, what will happen when a transmittal is rejected, who replaces who in case the original reviewer is not available among others. All comments made by the reviewers during the review process gets captured and documented.
Sharing the Transmittal with Others
Sometimes, there could be a need to share the transmittal with project team members that could not be part of the workflow as well as with other individuals who might not be PMWeb users. In this case, PMWeb notification will be used to share the transmittal with those individuals by sending a notification email along with the transmittal details.
Formal Transmittal Submission
If the organization wants to generate the transmittal and print it to be sent along with the documents and communications being transmittal, then the transmittal issuer can print the transmittal form. The form can be designed in any shape or format to match the organization branding and relevant project management processes.
Monitoring, Evaluating and Reporting on Transmittal Status
The data captured from each transmittal will become available for Business Intelligence (BI) reporting from within PMWeb itself using SQL Reporting Services or by using other applications like MS Power BI. Reports can be created to provide a log of all transmittals. The report can group and order data in any desired format as well as include filters to select the needed transmittals to be reported on. The user can drilldown to the source transmittal if a link was created in the report.