The Life Cycle of Documents in Design Time: From Draft to Approved

    The Life Cycle of Documents in Design Time: From Draft to Approved

    In the world of design, documentation plays a crucial role in ensuring that projects are well-planned, communicated effectively, and executed smoothly. The life cycle of a document during design time involves several stages, each critical to transforming a draft into an approved document. Let's explore this process using the example of a "Project Design Basis" document.

    Stage 1: Drafting the Document

    The life cycle begins with the drafting stage. Here, the document is created by the author, typically a design engineer or project manager. This draft includes all the necessary information, data, and guidelines that form the foundation of the project design.

    Example: Drafting the "Project Design Basis"

    Imagine a design engineer named Alex is tasked with drafting the "Project Design Basis" for a new infrastructure project. Alex includes sections on project objectives, design criteria, technical specifications, materials to be used, and safety standards. At this point, the document is a rough draft, containing all the key elements but not yet refined or validated.

    Stage 2: Internal Review by Senior

    Once the draft is complete, it is reviewed by a senior team member, such as a lead engineer or project manager. This review ensures that the document aligns with organizational standards and project requirements.

    Example: Senior Review

    Alex sends the draft to Maria, the lead engineer. Maria reviews the document for accuracy, completeness, and alignment with project goals. She suggests a few modifications, such as updating the design criteria to reflect recent regulatory changes and clarifying certain technical specifications.

    Stage 3: Internal Document Check

    After incorporating feedback from the senior review, the document is issued for an internal check by team members. This internal review involves other engineers and team members who will work on the project, ensuring that all aspects of the document are feasible and practical.

    Example: Internal Check

    Alex incorporates Maria’s feedback and then shares the document with the rest of the design team. Team members like John, an electrical engineer, and Sarah, a civil engineer, review the sections relevant to their expertise. They provide additional comments and corrections, such as refining the electrical load calculations and updating the material specifications.

    Stage 4: External Review (if applicable)

    For certain projects, it’s necessary to have the document reviewed by external reviewers. These might include clients, regulatory bodies, or third-party consultants who provide an additional layer of scrutiny to ensure compliance and feasibility.

    Example: External Review

    In this scenario, the "Project Design Basis" needs to be reviewed by an external consultant who specializes in environmental impact assessments. Alex sends the document to Dr. Williams, an environmental consultant, who reviews the sections related to environmental safety and sustainability. Dr. Williams suggests some changes to minimize the project’s environmental footprint.

    Stage 5: Implementing Comments

    After receiving feedback from all reviewers, the author implements the comments and suggestions. This step might involve several iterations as the document is refined and improved.

    Example: Implementing Comments

    Alex reviews all the feedback from the internal team and Dr. Williams. He makes the necessary changes, ensuring that the document meets all technical, regulatory, and environmental standards. This might involve adding new sections, modifying existing ones, and ensuring that all suggestions are addressed comprehensively.

    Stage 6: Issuing for Approval

    Once all comments are implemented and the document is refined, it is issued for final approval. This stage involves senior management or project stakeholders who give the green light for the document to be used as an official project guideline.

    Example: Final Approval

    The final version of the "Project Design Basis" is now ready. Alex submits it to the project steering committee, which includes senior managers and key stakeholders. They review the document one last time to ensure that it meets all strategic objectives and compliance requirements. After a thorough review, the committee approves the document, marking the end of the document’s life cycle in design time.


    The journey of a document from draft to approval is meticulous and collaborative, ensuring that every detail is scrutinized and refined. Using the "Project Design Basis" as an example, we've seen how each stage—from drafting and internal reviews to external reviews, implementing comments, and final approval—ensures that the document is robust, accurate, and ready to guide the project to success. This rigorous process is essential for maintaining high standards and achieving project goals efficiently.

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