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Inter-Disciplinary Commenting / Squad Checks

Inter-Disciplinary Commenting - also referred as SQUAD Checks - During the Engineering of projects - there are certain documents on which there is a dependency of other documents. 

Example - a plant layout specifies the relative orientation of the various structures in the plant and if there is any change in the layout of the plant - the work of other disciplines will get affected, say if these structures are connected by pipes, then the length required to connect the pipes will change if the relative distances between the structures will change. The above implies that in the above case - if there is a change in the plant layout - which is controlled by the project team - then the said change should also be notified to the Piping team always. 

Normally, the discipline - which is custodian of the documents, will review the document and then will circulate the document to the respective disciplines for their comments. This process of circulating the document for the comments of the respective disciplines is referred as a Inter-Disciplinary Commenting or SQUAD CHECK. 

Usually, the originator discipline will select the disciplines to which this document needs to be circulated and usually these reviews are parallel reviews where all the people can review the documents parallel manner and not sequentially. 

tBits CollabWrite Document Control Module enables the stakeholders of the documents to initiate the multi-discipline reviews / SQUAD Checks, the recipient disciplines can markup the drawings and documents with their comments (either on the document itself or may create a different comment document or may even perform the commenting realtime along with the other members who have to comment on the document) and send the same to the originator discipline.

The originator discipline then aggregates / consolidates all the comments, resolves the conflicts in the comments if any, and then give the final decision on the document. There are various method of doing the commenting on the document. Some of these methods include:

1. Annotations feature - as offered by various applications - as Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader, AutoCAD etc, and/or markup/review mode as is offered by Microsoft Products.

2. Using the visualization & markup application - there are visualization and markup applications as Autovue, Brava etc available. 

These application have the capability to enables the reader to view the files in web-browser and also give options to the users to make markups on the files without the need of the native authoring applications. This is convenient - particularly if the file formats that are received are quite varied and you may not want to purchase softwares catering to each one of them. 

These are also useful - if you want to have the comments available in the centralized place. 

  1. The drawback ofcourse is that you need to be connected to the network to use them and offline commenting is not possible. 
  2. There also issues in the export of the annotations back onto the native document and sending the same to the external vendors who had sent the document to you. In some application used for commenting on documents, the export of annotations back on to the document flattens the files and hence any pop-up notes that you might have written - will get deleted leading to a loss of information. Also the export is possible only to TIFF or PDF and during the format conversion from native file format to these formats - there is a possibility of errors leading to loss of fidality in the resultant images.