How to Organize Project Folders and Files (Free Template Included)

Do you find it hard to organize project files and quickly find what you need? It can be frustrating and time consuming to search through folders trying to find project files right when you need them. This is due to a lack of consistency in naming project folders and storing files.

The solution is to use a standardized project folder structure. This will keep project documents organized systematically across all of your projects. Everyone within the company that works on your projects will know where to locate the files they need.

Here is the format that works for me. At the bottom I’ve included a project folders template you can download for free.

Top Level Projects Folder

Create a top level folder in your company server to store all project folders. Add this folder to your quick access menu to quickly get to your projects. For any projects that you work on frequently, add those folders to your quick access menu.

  • Project Data Folder [top level folder that stores all project folders]
    • 01-Project Setup Folder [copy when setting up a new project]
    • 101-Project ABC
    • 102-Project DEF
    • 103-Project GHI
    • Completed Projects [move closed projects inside this folder]

Single Project Folder Top Level

This is how I structure the top level folders and files within each project.

Project Folder Structure
  • 01-Submittal Drawings
  • 02-Fabrication Drawings
  • 03-Detailing
  • 04-RFIs
  • 05-Estimate and Budget
  • 06-Plans and Specs
  • 07-Potential Change Orders (or Change Order Requests)
  • 08-Material Purchase Orders
  • 09-Packing Slips
  • 10-Photos
  • 11-PO Documents (from GC or customer)
  • 12-Invoices
  • Loose Files:
    • 04-Job Closure Checklist
    • 05-Lessons Learned Template

Project Folder Structure Expanded Version with Sub Folders

This is the expanded view of all project files and folders.

Submittal Drawings Folder
  • 01-Submittal Drawings
    • 01-Phase Name
    • 02-Phase Name
    • Etc
    • 1900-Coatings
    • 2000-Grating
    • 2100-Railing
    • Shop Certifications
    • Welder Certifications
    • Loose File: Submittal Response Template
  • 02-Fabrication Drawings
    • Sub-folder for fabrication drawings from supplier
  • 03-Detailing
    • Store your CAD files or detailing standards here
  • 04-RFIs
    • Loose Files
      • RFI Checklist
      • RFI Log
      • RFI Template
  • 05-Estimate and Budget
    • ITBs (Invitations to Bid)
    • Material Quotes
    • Pre-bid RFIs
    • Loose files:
      • Quote in PDF Format
      • Quote in word document
      • Estimate Spreadsheet
  • 06-Plans and Specs
    • Optional sub folders for addendum, specifications and drawings. My preference is to store all files here instead of using sub-folders.
  • 07-Potential Change Orders (Or Change Order Requests)
    • PCO Template Folder
      • Material Quotes Folder
      • Plans and Specs Folder
      • PCO XX Estimating Spreadsheet Template
      • PCO XX Quote Template Word Document
    • PCO Log
  • 08-Material Purchase Orders
    • Cut Lists
    • Material Test Reports (MTR)
    • Stock Pull Sheets
    • Loose Files: PDF of each PO Document
  • 09-Packing Slips
  • 10-Photos
  • 11-PO Documents (from GC or customer)
    • Reference Only (store older versions of the contract here)
  • 12-Invoices
  • Loose Files:
    • 01-Schedule of Values Template
    • 02-Contract Review Form
    • 03-Job Start Checklist
    • 04-Job Introduction Letter
    • 05-Job Contact Info
    • 06-Job Closure Checklist
    • 07-Lessons Learned Template

I hope you find this useful in organizing your project files and folders. If you have any suggestions on how you would improve this, I would love to hear from you. Below is the link to download the project folders template.

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