Records retention for design firms is a very important part of your business. If the project were to have issues or even go as far as a claim being filed the records are your firm’s defense and beneficial for your attorney to have. Ultimately, it is a business decision as to how long your firm should retain records but there are some helpful hints.
It is important to determine what types of records that should be retained. Is it a permanent document or temporary document? Permanent documents can be items such as project correspondence, contracts, phone logs, journals. Temporary documents may be things such as report drafts, rough calculations, and draft sketches. Your firm needs to determine, in writing, what types and how long each document type will be retained.
Another consideration in records retention is the length of time to keep the records. A good rule of thumb is at least one year beyond the length of the statues of repose and statute of limitations in the states governing projects. Some government projects may include record keeping obligations.
Most important piece of record retention is that your firm develops procedures for maintaining records. What types of records are you keeping and for how long are you retaining those records. Additionally, how your firm will discard of the records you are no longer keeping.
These days records retention do tend to be electronically which makes the storage issue a little easier. But be sure that your system is backed up and that your firm is able to get to those records, if needed, in case of a breach in your system.
There are many resources for records retention though your associations and your PUI agent is here to help with ideas and questions. Please call or email with questions.