Research reveals scale of missing project information

Image to illustrate the 2023 State of AEC Project Management Research Report from Mail Manager
Image: 182485929 © Info723783 |

A third of respondents to Mail Manager’s latest annual research are concerned about where project information is stored and information not being readily available.

The 2023 State of AEC Project Management Research Report also reveals that the number of businesses experiencing disputes is on the rise. More than 550 senior construction professionals worldwide responded to Mail Manager’s questions, and 91% reported a dispute. That’s an increase from the 2021 report’s figure of 63% and the 2022 report’s 78%.

Project scope changes, payments and timeline disagreements continue to be the leading causes of these disputes. “Considering the majority (85%) of project scope information resides in emails and formal documents, and firms cannot easily access this, it’s hardly surprising that they are continuing to dig themselves into trouble,” the report states.

Email remains easily the most used project correspondence tool. The vast majority of respondents (88%) indicated that the volume of emails has increased in the last 12 months. A similar number (83%) agreed that emails have become more important in their businesses.

Information lost when staff leave

More firms are aware of the importance of filing emails as part of the offboarding process when people leave the business, according to Mail Manager’s research. In 2022, less than half of respondents (44%) indicated that employees were required to file all project-related emails into a central location. This year, that number has risen to 58%, which is a great sign. Unfortunately, 28% still do not require filing of emails, thus losing this information.

Stuart Rowe, senior vice-president for collaboration at Ideagen (Mail Manager’s parent company), said: “Our research has indicated that while firms strive to collaborate, they are disadvantaging themselves as most project correspondence remains in email inboxes.

“This makes it increasingly difficult for firms to locate and retrieve project information when they need it. This is concerning when looking at the latest regulations, particularly The Building Safety Act 2022, which stipulates all project information must be easily accessible. Information management must remain at the forefront of our minds.”

A total of 557 people worldwide responded to the survey between December 2022 and January 2023. The majority of respondents were from the US and UK.

This story was originally published on BIMplus. Register to watch the webinar: Information management’s role in avoiding and easing disputes

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