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Getting Started with the Correspondence Tool

 

Introduction to the Correspondence Tool

The Correspondence tool is so flexible that you can use it to manage just about any communication that you want to elevate outside of your email and instead maintain in your formal Procore system of record.

Below are some ideas on what you can do with the Correspondence tool, based on how our current customers are using it.

  • Change directive, change notification
  • Issue resolution
  • Non-conformance report (NCR), response and review
  • Notification of backcharge
  • Permit request
  • Project weekly status update

Setup

In order to start using the Correspondence tool on your projects, a company admin must first create Correspondence Types and Fieldsets (e.g. templates) at the company level. 

For those without company-level admin permissions - if you want to start using the Correspondence tool (check out the lists above for ideas), talk to your company’s Procore Administrator

Steps for admins:

The Correspondence tool is unlike any other tool in Procore. Whereas most Procore tools apply to a specific business process, such as RFIs and come pre-templated with associated fieldsets, for example all RFIs have “assignee” and “due date” fields, the Correspondence tool is open for you to configure. When setting up a new Correspondence Type for your company, you are essentially building a “custom Procore tool” from scratch, including deciding what data fields will be associated with it. That means there are a couple of initial setup steps involved.

Note that we do provide the following pre-built templates for Correspondence Types: 

  • Addendum
  • Bulletin
  • Change request
  • Client instruction
  • Extension of Time
  • General correspondence
  • Letters
  • Notice of delay
  • Notice to Proceed
  • Notification of backcharge
  • Site Instruction

You can find the pre-built templates in the company-level Admin settings, within the Correspondence tab - just select “Add Template.” These templates are an easy way to get started with the Correspondence tool - then, when you’re ready to customize your own Correspondence Types, follow along with the steps below.

Below, we cover the recommended steps for setting up new Correspondence Types for your teams. You can create up to 30 different Correspondence Types for your company - the following instructions walk you through setting up one Correspondence Type. 

Create a Correspondence Type

Things to Consider

  • The name you give to the Correspondence Type should clearly describe its intended use (some examples are shown in the lists above). The Type is the first thing the project teams will see when they initiate a new Correspondence within a project, so pick a name for the Type that they will recognize and understand.
    • Recommended - Define a prefix within the Correspondence Type name, which can be easily understood and recognized by the project teams. This will make it easier for the project teams to quickly recognize the Correspondence Type when using it in Drawing markup or linking to other tools.
  • Permissions are applied at the Type level, and are template-based (usually by role, within the company-level Permissions tool). So consider who will need to view and use this Correspondence Type and create separate Types to accommodate correspondence with separate audiences (for example, a general notice to a subcontractor would be a separate Type than a general notice to an owner). See this support article or this video for more information on Permissions.
  • Recommended - select “private by default” when you create the Correspondence Type. Because Correspondence permissions are role-based, taking this step will ensure that only specific parties (e.g. a particular subcontractor) will be able to see Correspondences assigned or distributed to them (rather than all subcontractors). (Conversely, if the intent of the Correspondence type is to broadcast information to all members of a particular project role [e.g. all subcontractors], then you should deselect the “private by default” option.)
  • The Correspondence Type also shows up in its own line on the Project Overview chart, on the Project Homepage. This way, you can easily keep track of item statuses within each Correspondence Type.
  • If your company is using a custom tool (built by the Procore Custom Solutions team), you cannot have Correspondence Types that match Custom Tool names. If you’d like to use a Correspondence Type that is already associated with a Custom Tool, we recommend that you change the Custom Tool name.

Steps

Every correspondence requires an associated correspondence type, you may create a new one if a suitable one does not already exist.

Click here to view the steps.  

  1. Navigate to the Company level Admin tool. 
  2. Under 'Tool Settings', click Correspondence.
  3. Click the Types tab.
  4. Click + Create.
  5. Complete the following information for the new correspondence type:
    • Field Name: Enter a name for the field.
    • Number prefix: Type a three-digit number prefix.
    • Select the Private by Default checkbox if you want all items that are created under this correspondence type to be private by default.
  6. Click Create.

    The new type is added to the Types page and the associated fieldset is added to the Fieldsets page. You have the option to edit the fieldset.

Back to Steps


Create and Apply a Fieldset

Things to Consider

  • In this step, you are deciding what information (or data fields) will be associated with this Correspondence Type. The fields you add will dictate what information the project teams will collect “out in the wild” when they use this Correspondence Type on an actual project. For example, does this Correspondence Type need a due date, an attachment field or a place to document cost impact? 
  • You can mark fields as “required,” “optional,” or hide them altogether.
  • You can add custom fields, to further customize the Fieldset.
  • You can create multiple different Fieldsets for a given Correspondence Type, in order to accommodate variations on data needs for different project types.

Steps

After you have created the Correspondence type, you are automatically taken to the Fieldsets page to create a fieldset

Optional: Update the Fieldset Settings

If the default fieldset is not suitable for your correspondence, you may want to update the fieldset to add or remove existing fields.

Click here to view the steps.  

Manage the settings for the fieldset by selecting one of the following options for each field:

  • Click on the toggle switch to the ON icon-toggle-on.png position to make the field visible in the section.
  • Click on the toggle switch to the OFF icon-toggle-off.png position to hide the field in the section.
  • Select the 'Required' checkbox to designate a field as required or optional.
    A selected checkbox icon-checkbox-marked.png indicates that users will be required to complete the field in the section.
    Note: If you are unable to click on an option, this indicates the field is a Procore default that cannot be modified.

Back to Steps


Optional: Add a Custom Field to a Fieldset

If a field you want to add is not listed in the fieldset settings, you can add a custom field to the fieldset.

Click here to view the steps.  

  1. Optional:To add a custom field, click Add Custom Field and choose one of the following options:

    correspondence-add-custom-field-dropdown.png

    • Click Create New to create a new custom field. See Create New Custom Fields.
    • Click Choose From Existing and from the Add Custom Field dialogue, click Add next to the field that you want to add.

      Note: You can add up to 15 custom fields to a fieldset.
  2. Click Save.
  3. Click Save again to save the fieldset without applying it to any projects.
    OR
    If you want to apply the fieldset to existing projects, click Assign Projects and mark the checkboxes next to the projects you want to assign the fieldsets to.

Back to Steps


Finish Creating Your Fieldset and Apply it to Projects
  1. After you have added one or more custom fields to the fieldset, click Save.

  2. Mark the checkboxes next to the projects you want to assign the fieldsets to.
    OR
    Click Select All to select all projects.
    OR
    Search by project name or number.

     

     Note
    The fieldset must be applied to specific projects to enable the project teams to view and use the correspondence type.
  3. Click Update.

  4. Click Confirm to confirm that you want to apply the fieldset to the selected projects.

  5. To set the fieldset you created as a default for the Correspondence Type, click the vertical ellipsis (⋮) at the end of the row for the fieldset that you want to add as a default and then click Set as new project default.
    A checkmark will appear for the fieldset in the Default for New Project column.

Assign a Fieldset to a Project

Things to Consider

  • This step is required in order for the Correspondence tool to appear in the project-level Toolbox dropdown and for the Correspondence Type to be available within the project. (If you don’t do this, the project teams will not be able to use Correspondence!)
  • You can assign one fieldset (e.g. template) per Correspondence Type, per project. So pick the version that makes the most sense for the project! And remember, you can always go back and make modifications later on if needed.

Steps

  1. Navigate to the Company level Admin tool. 
  2. Under 'Tool Settings', click the tool you want to view fieldsets for.
  3. Click the Fieldsets tab.
    Note: Tools without other settings in the Company level Admin tool will open to this page automatically. 
  4. Locate the configurable fieldset you want to apply to projects.
  5. Click the fieldset's link in the 'Assigned Projects' column.

    Note: This link indicates the number of projects the fieldset is currently applied to, out of the number of projects in the account.
  6. Mark the checkboxes next to the projects you want to add the fieldsets to.
    OR
    Mark the checkbox next to 'Select All' to select all projects.
    Note: To search for a project name or project number, enter it into the 'Search' box.
  7. Click Update.
  8. In the 'Apply changes?' window, click Confirm.

Adjust Permissions

Things to Consider

  • Permission settings for Correspondence are template-based (usually according to Role), and are handled in the company's Permissions tool.
  • Each Correspondence Type gets its own set of permissions, just like any other Procore tool. Permission settings include None, Read Only, Standard, Admin and granular permissions.

Steps

  1. Navigate to the company's Permissions tool.
  2. Click the Project Permissions Templates tab.
  3. Click Actions next to the template you want to grant granular permissions for and select Edit Template.
  4. Scroll to the 'Correspondence Types & Custom Tools' section.
  5. Select the button in the None, Read Only, Standard or Admin column on the row for each correspondence type.
  6. Click the angle bracket > icon to open or close the granular permissions menu for each correspondence type.
    Note: This icon only displays when the button for Read Only or Standard is selected.
  7. Mark the 'Turn ALL ON' checkbox to enable all of the Correspondence tool's granular permissions on the permissions template.
    Note: This checkbox name changes to 'Turn ALL OFF' if all of the Correspondence tool's granular permissions are enabled.
    OR
    Mark the checkbox for each granular permission you want to enable on the permissions template.

permissions-grant-granular-permissions-correspondence.png

 Important
Granular permissions for the project's Correspondence tool can be granted for each of your company's correspondence types individually, rather than a tool-wide basis. For information about creating correspondence types, see Create a New Correspondence Type.
  • View Private Items Accessible to Users within Same Company. Grants users the privilege to view 'Private' correspondence items that are accessible to another user within their same company.
  • Respond to Items Accessible to Users within Same Company. Grants users the privilege to respond to correspondence items that are accessible to another user within their same company. Users with this granular permission cannot view 'Private' correspondence items unless they have also been granted the 'View Private Items Accessible to Users within Same Company' granular permission.
  • Create Item. Grants users the privilege to create a correspondence item.
  • Edit Open Items They Created. Grants users the privilege to edit 'Open' correspondence items that they created.
  • Respond to Items They Are On. Grants users the privilege to respond to correspondence items that they are added to the item's 'Assignee' field, 'Received From' field or 'Distribution' list.

See the Permissions Matrix for the Project level Correspondence tool for more information about the different actions that can be performed by users with the permission level you select.

  1. Click Save.

Configure Advanced Settings in a Project

There are additional settings you may configure for each Correspondence Type at the project-level. You can use these settings to:

  • Enable email reminders for overdue items
  • Define a default distribution list
  • Set automated response due dates
  • Add a default description
  • Add project-level custom statuses

Steps

Tab Settings

  1. Navigate to the project's Correspondence tool.
  2. Click the Configure Settings  icon and select the correspondence type you want to configure settings for.
  3. Click Tab Settings in the sidebar.
  4. Complete the following as necessary for your project:
    Note: Users who create or edit a correspondence item using this correspondence type can change the Distribution, Due Date and Description fields for individual items.
    • Enable Email Reminders for Overdue Items: Mark this checkbox if you want Procore to send automatic email reminders to assignees when an item they are assigned to is overdue.
    • Default Distribution: Select one or more users or distribution groups from the drop-down menu. Click the  icon next to a user's name if you want to remove them from this list.
      Note: Users must have 'Read Only' level permissions or higher on the correspondence type to be added to this list. See Grant Granular Permissions in a Project Permissions Template.
    • Responses will be due: Enter a number for the default working days after which a response will be due.
    • Default Description: Enter a default description to add to items created using this correspondence type.

      correspondence-configure-settings-type-settings.png
       
  5. Click Update to save your changes.

Statuses

  1. On the Tab Settings page, scroll to the Statuses section.

    correspondence-configure-settings-type-statuses.png
     
  2. To add a new status, enter a name for the status in the Add New Status field and click Add Status.
    Notes: 
    • Any items created or edited using statuses added here are considered 'Open'.
    • Email notifications are sent for all correspondence items until their status is changed to 'Closed'.
  3. To delete a status, click Delete Status next to the status you want to delete.
    Note: 'Global Statuses' (Open, Closed, and Draft) cannot be deleted.

Permissions Table 

  1. Navigate to the project's Correspondence tool.
  2. Click the Configure Settings  icon and select the correspondence type you want to view user permissions for.
  3. Click Permissions Table in the sidebar.
    The User Permissions table displays for the correspondence type.
    • The green checkmark green-check.png icon indicates the permission level the user has been granted on the correspondence type: 'None', 'Read Only', 'Standard', or 'Admin'.
    • The red red-x.png icon indicates which permission levels are not assigned to the user.
    • The gray  icon indicates which permission levels are not assigned to the user and cannot currently be changed since the user has been assigned a project permissions template. To change their permissions in the Project level Directory tool, see Change a User's Permissions in the Project Directory.
       Tip
      See User Permissions Matrix - Web and User Permission Matrix - Mobile for more information about the different actions that can be performed by users with the permission level you select.
  4. To change a user's permission level on the correspondence type when they do not have a project permissions template assigned, click the red red-x.png icon for the permission level you want to grant to the user.
    The red red-x.png icon is replaced with green checkmark green-check.png icon and the user's permission level to the correspondence type is automatically saved.

 

Best Practices

Planning

Because Correspondence is so flexible, it’s important to have a comprehensive plan upfront so you can make sure you are using it in an efficient way that best suits your teams’ needs.

Things to Consider
  1. Survey internal stakeholders. You can create 30 different Correspondence Types - make sure you’ve gotten the teams’ input on which are most critical or beneficial for their projects.
  2. Identify good-fit processes. For a given process, if you answer “yes” to the below questions, then Correspondence is likely a good fit. 
    • Is this process based on sharing information and communicating with other stakeholders? Do you need stakeholders to be accountable for receiving or responding to this information?
    • Is this process currently being handled via email or even phone/text?
    • Would it benefit your business to formalize and centralize the communication around this process? 
    • Is there a risk of lost time or money if this process is not tracked or recorded properly? 
    • Do you have existing templates you use for this process?
    • Are you currently completing this process outside of Procore or within one of Procore’s custom tools? 
    • Is there a need to tie this process to RFIs and Change Events for complete tracking and follow through?
    • Would this process benefit from being linked to a drawing markup?
  3. Assess the big picture. Map out your plan for Correspondence Types and their associated data, to ensure you are using Correspondence efficiently, without redundancy and in a way that will make sense for your teams and processes.

Rollout

Successful rollout and adoption require the teams to get on board and start using the new functionality. That means people need to be aware of the functionality, its expectations for use and where to go for help and feedback!

Things to Consider
  • Socialize. Make sure the project teams are aware of the Correspondence Types that you’ve set up and clarify expectations for using Correspondence. Make broad announcements and provide opportunities for Q&A (ideally, more than once). Update company procedure manuals accordingly.
  • Train. If your teams need training on Correspondence, direct them to the Procore support site or in-app Help icon, webinars page, or work with your Procore point of contact to request custom training.
  • Collect feedback. Keep an open line of communication with the project teams so you can get direct input on what’s working well or where you may want to make adjustments.

Use reports and dashboards. Monitor the numbers and statuses of Correspondences across projects, so you can identify areas to improve adoption, clarify expectations or make changes to your templates.