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How to set up a verification plan

A verification plan (sometimes also referred to as a test plan, control plan or commissioning plan) is a plan that explains how you will organize the verification process to demonstrate compliance with the defined requirements.

A good verification plan answers the following questions:

  • When will requirements be verified?
  • How will they be verified?
  • By whom will they be verified?

To develop a verification plan in BriefBuilder, you first have to define the overall set-up (the phases, methods, roles & outcome categories). Basically, you are defining the columns for your verification table (sometimes also referred to as compliance matrix).

After that, you can fill in the plan for all requirements.

Both steps will be explained in this article.

Don’t forget to watch our 10 min verification plan video about the same topic. Perhaps easier to digest than this extensive article 😁

Some strategic questions to consider when making a verification plan:

1.
Should all requirements be verified or only those that are critical (those that have a large impact on the project’s budget and timeline if they aren’t met)? The first can be very time-consuming, the second comes with the risk of overlooking requirements.

2.
How rigorous should verification methods be? Can verification simply be a matter of ticking off boxes (‘yes, we looked at that’). Or does it always involve actual testing (‘yes, here is the test report that proves that we that are compliant’). Probably a mix, depending on phasing and the nature of requirements.

3.

Should requirements be verified once or multiple times? Verifying all requirements in all phases will overload your project. Yet, for critical requirements you may want to have multiple verification moments in order to be absolutely sure that they will be met.

Discuss these matters with the project team before diving into all the details in BriefBuilder.

Overall set-up

Setting up the verification plan begins with defining the relevant options for the earlier mentioned when, how and by whom questions. Furthermore, you may already want to define the possible outcome categories for verifications (compliant, non-compliant etc.).

When? (verification phases)

To define when a verification should take place, you can create verification phases in BriefBuilder.

Verification phases will typically correspond with the stages in your project’s timeline. E.g. concept design, detail design, construction and hand-over. Some projects also feature dedicated verification stages such as an acceptance testing phase, just before hand-over.

To define verification phases, you have head to Settings and then click on Verification Phases.

Once you have defined the relevant phases, these will show up in the verification table in the column Phases.

Note that each phase gets its own abbreviation. E.g. Concept Design becomes CD. You can manually adjust these. They are used to show verification data on the objects’ detail views. See example below.

Abbreviations for phases, as defined in the settings menu
Abbreviations for phases, as shown on the detail view of an object

How? (verification methods)

Next to when a verification will take place, you will also want to define how a verification should be performed. What should be done to demonstrate compliance?

Examples of verification methods are document review, calculation, inspection, simulation, performance test and functional test.

To define verification methods, you have to head over to:

Settings > Verification > Standard Properties

And then select Verification Plan.

You will get to see a default property called Method. Click on the Picklist Value field to be able to add or edit new methods.


Click on the Picklist value Field to be able to add or edit the methods

Once you have defined the relevant methods, these will show up in the verification table as a drop-down menu in the column Method.

If the Method property doesn’t exist yet, you can create it by clicking on Add standard property and then set the input type to Picklist.

TIP: If you already have a neat set of verification plan properties in another model, you can import these into your own model by using the import button (). See image below.

You can use the import button to get the verification plan properties from another model into yours

Who? (users, organisations, roles)

For reasons of accountability, it is important that there is a particular person or actor that is responsible for a verification. In BriefBuilder, this responsibility can be assigned on different levels. You can link verifications to:

  • Users (specific people)
  • Organisations (e.g. Architecture firm A or Contractor B).  
  • Roles (e.g. architect, engineer, indoor climate consultant)

Assigning verifications to users and organizations is easy in the sense that it does not require any adjustment of the verification settings. Both are readily available in your model when people have user accounts. The only thing you have to do is to make sure that these accounts are linked to the right verification roles and permissions.

But it is also possible that users and organisations are not yet known. In that case, you can choose to assign verifications to functional roles (e.g. architect, supplier, contractor etc.). These roles can be added via the roles menu:

Settings > Project model > Roles

Again, you have to ensure that these roles have the right permissions. Read more about that here.

Result categories

The different outcome possibilities for verification results can also be part of setting up your verification plan. By default, BriefBuilder provides the following outcome options for verifications:  

  • Compliant
  • Partially compliant
  • Non-compliant
BriefBuilder’s default options for verification result, which can easily be adjusted via the settings menu

You can easily edit these categories via the Settings menu. You may, for example, want to add an outcome option called Not yet verifiable. Or perhaps you want to add an extra field called Approval if your verification procedure follows a ‘four eyes’ set-up.

To define and edit verification result properties, you have to go back to Settings again and click on Standard Properties below Verifications.

Then select Verification Result (not plan!).

If you want to change the outcome categories, click on the Picklist values field for the property Outcome.

If you want to add a new property, click on Add standard property. Set the input type to Picklist if you want to have a drop-down menu.

TIP: In case you choose a Picklist, you can add an icon and different colours for the different values. Both are columns in the standard property settings menu.

TIP: you can import verification result properties from another model into your own model by using the import button (). See image below.

Making the actual plan

Once you have defined the overall set-up, you can start creating the actual verification plan.

To make the verification plan, go to the Verification table under Verifications in the main menu.

In this table, you will find all the defined requirements. For each individual requirement you can define how, when, and by whom they should be verified.

Typically, you do this in batches: you select groups of requirements that have to be verified in the same way. For example: you select all requirements concerning floor sizes and then define that all these should be verified during the concept design phase, by means of a calculation, with Architect Firm X as responsible.

You can make these selections by means of the table’s selections and filters.

Selections

The selections are shown before you get to see the actual table.

Playing around with these selections will give you a better understanding of what is possible and will help speed up the process of making a verification plan

Selections for verifications

  • Phase: relevant when wanting to define verifications for a particular phase
  • Verification plan: relevant for finding requirements that don’t have a verification plan
  • Responsible: relevant for finding verifications that haven’t been assigned to a responsible yet
  • Outcome: only relevant when the verification process has taken off

Selections for requirements

  • Tree: the tree or tree part that your set of requirements is part of (e.g. Spaces & Locations)
  • Object type: relevant when interested in a particular object type (e.g. only spaces)
  • Labels: relevant when looking for requirements that related to objects with a particular label (e.g. “office space” or “meeting space”)
  • Requirement subject: relevant when looking for a particular type of requirement

For the verification plan, you will typically start with selecting a phase and then finding a particular set of requirements by selecting a tree (or tree part) and a requirement subject.

Once you have made you selections, click on Show, and you will get to see the set of requirements for which you want to define your verification plan details.

In the table itself, you can narrow your selection further down by using the column filters (the little filter icon ( above each column).

Especially the filter in the column Requirement type will be relevant as it allows you to make a very specific selection of requirements.

Use the filters in the table to further narrow down your selection of requirements

Please note: it is easier to use selections and filters if you have a good understanding of what kind of requirements are present in your model. So carefully go through the requirements model, get a sense of how the model is built up, and then start your verification plan.

Adding verification plan details

Once you have selected the set of requirements that you had in mind, you can start filling in the verification plan details for these requirements.

You can define who is Responsible.

You can add a verification Method.

And there may be other verification properties to be filled in, if you have defined those earlier in the settings menu.

TIP: When working with large sets of requirements, it is good to know you can click on a cell in the bottom right corner and pull the values down for the rest of the requirements.

In the table, you can ‘pull down’ values, just like in Excel

TIP: you also edit large amounts of verification data by means of the the bulk edit button at the very top of the verification table. This article explains how the bulk edit works.

The bulk edit feature is great for when wanting to add verification details to large numbers of requirements. Use it with care, however, as you can also make bulk mistakes, so to speak.

TIP: When done making the verification plan, you may want to check whether you missed something. With smart use of the filters, you can easily find that out. E.g. filtering on Yes in the column Verify? and then on Empty in the column To be performed by. This way you will see all the verifications that haven’t been assigned yet.

Duplicating verification plans

While working with your verifications, you might want to re-use the verification plan of one phase for a new, different phase. This can easily be done by cloning a verification phase in the verification settings.

To do that, you first have to navigate to the verification phases in the settings menu (Menu > Settings > Verification > Verification phases).

There, you will see the verification phases that you have defined.

By clicking on the clone button (), you will get a copy of that phase plus the related verification data.

When making the clone, you get the option to include or exclude the verification results. The default settings is that verification results are not included, but there are use cases in which this can be relevant (see next topic, ‘Planning re-verifications’).

Please note: the cloning of verification phases comes with the risk that you are overloading your verification plan. It is seldom true that verifications are the same for all project phases. For example: verifications in the design phase of a project tend to have different methods than those during the construction phase. Also, the level of detail tends to differ.

Planning re-verifications

It is also possible that you want to (or have to) re-do a number of verifications for a particular phase – typically those verifications that have a non-compliant result and/or those where the results were not approved by the client (if that is part of your set-up).

In that case, we recommend that you make a clone of verification phase in question (and put something like ‘re-verification’ in the newly created phase’s name), and then remove the ‘non-compliant’ results from that phase so that these can be verified again (without losing the earlier results).

In addition, you may choose to remove all the verifications that were already compliant, so that the phase only contains those verifications that need to be re-done.

For this, do the following:

  • Go to Settings > Verification > Verification phases.
  • Make a clone of the verification phase in question and include the verification results (!). Put something like ‘re-verification’ in the name.
  • Go to Verifications > Verification table.
  • Select the re-verification phase that you have just created, and select non-compliant for result.
  • When clicking on Show, you will see all the verifications of which the outcome was ‘non-compliant’.
  • To delete these results (!), click on the bulk action button ().
  • In the bulk action, select clear values for all verification result (!) properties.

When you have done this, you have a copy of your original verification plan, but you emptied the ‘non-compliant’ results so that these verifications can be re-done.

Additionally, you may want to remove all the verifications that were already compliant. In that case, you need to do so some additional actions:

  • Stay in the verification table, but go back to the selection screen (click on Selection, at the top of the table).
  • Select the same (re-verification) phase, but this time select those verifications were the result was ‘compliant‘. This will give you all the verifications that will need no further attention.
  • Click on show and go the bulk action button.
  • In the bulk action menu, select Clear values for the property Verify?

When having done all that, all compliant verifications have been removed. And that means that your re-verification phase only contains those verifications that really need to be redone.

Do you want to see both the original and the new verification together in your verification table? In that case, select both phases on the selection screen.

Doing the actual verifications

Once your verification plan is set up, it is time to do the actual verification and fill in the results. How to do so is explained in a separate article.

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