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How to Create Effective ‘Documentation SOPs’ as a Restoration Company

Restoration Company: Contractors Creating Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) planning in a table.

Collecting thorough documentation is crucial in restoration work. You can make sure that happens consistently, across all projects, by drafting a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) guide for your restoration business.

Defining ‘Documentation SOP’

In the context of restoration, a Documentation SOP is a comprehensive guide that outlines the documentation steps and protocols to be followed during various stages of a project. In other words, it serves as a roadmap for capturing critical information from start to finish.

The Difference Between an SOP and a Policy

A policy establishes rules for routine operations or behavior.

But an SOP is different: It is a practical document that tells employees how to perform a specific workflow, and it provides detailed instructions to enhance efficiency and thoroughness. Those instructions are presented in actionable, hierarchical steps, to make sure every project is approached with the same level of professionalism and precision.

For example:

  • You can have a policy that states “every stage of every project must be thoroughly documented.”
  • And you can have an SOP that explains the exact documentation workflow for each stage of every project.

The Benefits of Having  of a Documentation SOP

This essential guide will:

  • help your current employees understand how to properly document new projects
  • help you train new employees on the subject of proper documentation
  • help prevent employee disagreements about proper documenting procedures
  • help improve employee job satisfaction
  • help avoid documentation mistakes and miscommunication
  • help make project documentation more efficient and consistent across the board
  • help ensure no important project details go undocumented
  • help ensure adequate documentation is gathered for estimating, planning and insurance-claim purposes
  • help ensure compliance with regulatory and standards requirements
  • help ensure everyone involved with a project is fully informed
  • help your business perform appropriate and high-quality work for every project
  • help your company speed up approval of clients’ insurance claims
  • help you improve your recordkeeping for better protection against disputes

Restoration expert working on iPad going through the Standard Operating Procedures of the Business Checklist

An Important First Step

Start out by doing this: Decide what type of system your company should use for project documentation. You have two choices: An old-school paper-document system or a modern digital system.

Many contractors are realizing that a paper-document system is a poor way to manage information.

Paper documents can be tedious to create, cumbersome to store, and difficult to find, retrieve and share. 

In comparison, digital document management is much easier and faster.

This method streamlines document development and organization, making any file easy to create, store, find retrieve and share.

The most efficient digital tool is an all-in-one field documentation app, such as magicplan.

A robust app will:

- provide comprehensive documentation features that will standardize the way your company collects and organizes project notes and data

- allow easy creation of custom forms and custom attributes templates that can be set up to collect data in a uniform way across their entire team (for example, adding a custom attribute to moisture meter objects within the floor plan to document daily moisture readings)

- enable fast, easy sketching of rooms that require restoration services

- permit sketches to be enhanced with photos, notes, objects and attributes (even custom objects and attributes that you create)

- allow project materials and costs to be estimated immediately, based on captured floor plan data

- simplify documentation of equipment placement and use at a job site (e.g., use of water restoration equipment)

- permit easy creation of a field report that can be exported and shared (e.g., a structural fire damage assessment report, a moisture inspection report, a mold inspection report, a water damage assessment report, a mitigation report)

- integrate automatically with Xactimate®

magicplan Custom form SOP checklist for a water damage initial inspection assessment report with questions about the cause of the water damage on iPad

How to Develop and Implement a New Documentation SOP

1. Begin By Building Lists: Start by listing the different restoration and mitigation project types or processes your company handles. (‘Water Remediation Process’ and ‘Mold Remediation Process’ are just two examples.) Next, list the specific documentation stages and requirements of each project type. These details will serve as the foundation for your new SOP.

2. Draft a Comprehensive SOP Document: This SOP should specify the essential information that should be collected for each type of project your company handles. That essential information may include a scope of work, timelines, materials used, equipment used, methods used (e.g., water-damage drying processes), instrument readings, and so on.

3. Gather Employee Input: Involve key team members by having them read your draft. Instruct them to identify any missing hierarchical steps and to offer suggestions for improving the wording. Then incorporate their feedback to improve the accuracy and quality of your SOP.

4. Review and Polish Your SOP Draft: Ensure that the language used in the document is clear and concise. Avoid unfamiliar terms, abbreviations and acronyms. (Ambiguity can lead to misinterpretation, errors and questions.)

5. Implement the New SOP Across Your Team: Introduce the SOP to your team through appropriate notification and distribution, as well as comprehensive training sessions. Ensure that every person responsible for documenting projects is able to use the SOP.

6. Make It Mandatory: To guarantee consistency and reliability, communicate the fact that the SOP must be used consistently. Emphasize its significance in maintaining quality standards and meeting client expectations.

7. Invite Feedback: Encourage team members to contribute insights and suggestions for continuously improving the SOP.

8. Schedule Periodic Reviews of the SOP: This way, you can be sure to update the document when necessary – so that it aligns with changing industry standards and evolving best practices.

Creating an effective Documentation SOP for your restoration company is not just a procedural necessity, but a strategic investment in the success and reputation of your business. Once your new SOP is completed and implemented, you can be sure that every project will be captured with documentation that meets the highest standards of excellence.





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