There are more documents to a project than the initial proposal and the final payment. There should be those documents and files that also list the products, depict the layout, and script the installation.
How you document your projects depends on requirements which may be set forth by the buyer, by your company policies or your personal work habits.
Although many circuits are pretty simple and many have a lot of things in common, each installation is unique, and they require more than being something you keep in the back of your mind or on a paper napkin in the glove compartment of your van.
By setting up a folder with files inside it, you leave a trail for the rest of the team to follow if it is necessary to retrace your steps.
Another big advantage to keeping documentation is that if it was a good design once, it will be a good design again, and pulling up an archived file is faster than re-inventing the wheel each time you have to propose a similar project.
Then there is the question as to how to create your documents. It’s very likely you or someone in your organization knows how to use a computer.
Even if you are the pen and pencil type, you can sketch your diagrams on paper and can have them scanned into the hard drive.
Over a few decades in security I have transitioned a bit, especially with regards to the use of computer technology. Currently I use Visio for diagrams. It is part of the MS Office Suite and it gets along well with its siblings MS Word and MS Excel.
Some folks like to use AutoCad. There are many other programs and the choice is yours. Once you begin using your computer for creating documents, you will develop a style and build up a library of drawings and images which you can call upon and speed up the creative process.
The saying goes that one picture is worth a thousand words. I think you could also say “a diagram can save you thousands of dollars” in saved time and increased productivity.
Documentation will enable you to delegate projects, empower your technicians, project a more professional image to peers and clients, and generate proposals faster and more consistently.
Here are a few representative types of documents and a brief description of what purpose they serve. It is not a complete list; you may call these documents by another name, or have your own unique way of organizing your data. I suggest your adapt to the industry standards rather than embark on breaking the mold.
This is the starting line for most jobs where you have an opportunity to view the site firsthand. If you are instead provided construction drawings, because they haven’t built a site for you to survey, then you’ll have to rely on these instead.
During your site survey besides performing an inspection of the physical premises, use this opportunity to discuss the project with your client so there is a mutual understanding about what they expect from the system and what you are promising.
This is a parts list showing all the items. Typically there will be a hardware schedule for each unique door situation, and a separate schedule showing common items.
For example, a project may include several doors which are identical and are being equipped with the same equipment, so a single hardware set can be used. If there are only minor differences, a subset may be used instead of creating an additional hardware set.
Common items are those for the head-end of the system and will be interfaced with other equipment and doors.
The hardware list for an opening (a door) can be used to list existing hardware, indicate items which will be re-used and those which you will be replacing / upgrading. Quantities, part numbers, architectural finish and specifications such as operating voltage may also be on the hardware schedule.
The hardware schedule is useful to price out the project, evaluate the design and spot where you might have omitted necessary or added unnecessary items.
Whether working for a construction company or owner, commercial and institutional locksmiths may be furnishing or installing hardware specified by a set of plans.
For professional installations, planning and documenting is essential.