Over the course of a construction project, parties will find that they generate hundreds of documents and records. If these items are not managed properly, many of them can be lost or destroyed. As the construction industry evolves, the need for sound document retention policies is a must. If you want to ensure that your document and records retention procedures are sufficient and that your discovery challenges are minimized, it is best that you consult with one of our Birmingham construction lawyers. Read on to learn about the importance of a document retention policy and practical steps for getting your policy started.
Practical Steps to Creating a Document Retention Policy
Maintaining a document retention policy for your construction team is essential and requires research, careful planning, and a commitment to implementation. An effective document retention policy should be in writing and must be well-managed and communicated to your employees. The following are basic steps to creating and maintaining a document retention policy:
- Think about what your employees need
- Be sure that management is on board and ready to enforce policies
- Identify your document retention expert
- Assemble key team members to perform their core competencies
- Create protocols and procedures and put it in writing
- Train and incentivize employees to incorporate document management into their workflow
- Seek feedback about the policy from employees and team members
- Determine how long documentation will be retained
- Audit and review the policy periodically
Litigation Holds and Social Media
Litigation holds and social media should be covered when creating your document and records management policy. Litigation holds involve preservation of records when a litigation is anticipated and on through the completion of the litigation. Once litigation is contemplated, your normal document retention policy must cease as normal. As Birmingham construction lawyers, we know all too well the legal ramification of destroying documents that should otherwise be retained in the event of a litigation. Social media posts can be used during litigation, therefore, educating employees and creating and implementing social media policies protects your construction business.
Consult With an Attorney
Maintaining a project documentation system is a critical foundation on which disputes, claims, and proposals are built. If your project goes south, the paper trail you meticulously create can serve as significant evidence to support your claim. Do not hesitate to speak with an attorney to craft a policy that fits your construction business as well as practical strategies for handling electronic information to meet e-discovery requirements.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.