In 2017, archSCAN, LLC was tasked with leading this document management effort to sort, catalog, digitize, and index the architectural and engineering drawings for each Northern Virginia Community College Campus. archSCAN, LLC specializes in creating digital libraries for building-related documents. archSCAN, LLC sent a team of trained archivists to meticulously catalog, index, and research the existing drawings, both paper-based and electronic-based. Their task was to record information about each set of drawings such as the campus name, building name, date of the drawings, the issue (As-Built, Permit, Revision), the disciplines in each set (architectural, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, etc), how many pages in each document, and where the paper document is located. Additionally, the archivists recorded if the document was a paper file or electronic file. This allowed archSCAN to know if the document needed to be scanned, or if it already existed electronically. Finally, archSCAN archivists separated out the duplications and superseded sets, which were approximately 50% of the total drawings. archSCAN archivists entered the information into a customized database, which was designed specifically for NOVA and their buildings/campuses. The database allows users to quickly look up documents, perform searches for specific criteria, and click on the hyperlinks to the electronic files.
This project will have lasting benefits for Northern Virginia Community College. Facilities and Maintenance Staff will no longer lose time searching for documents. They can look up information from their desks; they can share documents easily with contractors; and when beginning renovation projects, they can provide architects with all of the building’s past documents, which reduces change orders and errors.
Finally, this project protects the information going forward because the documents are now in a digital format. The paper copies are no longer at the risk of being lost or ruined in case of a disaster. The drawings will not have to be re-measured, re-drawn, or recreated because the information is safely stored in a digital format.
The documents themselves were a mix between paper and electronic files. They resided in over six different campuses. Over 50% were duplicates or superseded sets and needed to be sorted and discarded. NOVA’s management decided to invest in the archiving and scanning of the documents to safeguard the information for the future and allowing staff to have access to the information from any campus and using any device. This saved tremendous time, money, and frustrations.
Prior to beginning the Facility Records Management Project, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) had a wide range of drawings in different locations and they did not have a good understanding of what they had or where to find it. At the beginning of the project, NOVA facility management staff thought they had 75% of the documentation already in a digital format, but the reality was that 75% of the documents only existed in a paper format and no digital copy existed. When emergencies happened such as a burst water pipe, a leaky roof, a power outage, or AC unit failing, facilities and maintenance staff needed to fix the problems as quickly as possible. NOVA staff were frustrated because they could not find their information quickly to be able to solve the problems. Time and money were being wasted looking for documents but not being able to find them.