Controlled and Uncontrolled Documents


It may not always be obvious to determine what type of documents must be controlled and what type of documents can remain uncontrolled.


However, let’s start by defining what is a controlled document?


Simplistically, a controlled document is a document that must undergo formal review, formal approval, controlled distribution, controlled modification and controlled storage and access. Or, in other words, a controlled document is a document that goes through Document Control processes.


So, how does one determine if a type of document must be controlled?


Normally, all documents must be controlled. 


However, if your entity does not have the resources to manage all documents as controlled, the below figure maps out the minimum types of documents that must be controlled.




The classification of documents as ‘controlled’ must be a discussion between Document Control and Management.


Document Controllers have the moral responsibility to highlight to their management that a certain type of document must be classified as ‘controlled’ – if it is not already.


Document Controllers protect the interests of the entity wherein they work by managing controlled documents through a set of controlled processes and practices.


This role comes with great responsibility and a need for pro-activeness on the part of Document Control professionals.



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Other blog articles that might interest you:

KPIs: Monitoring the Performance of Document Control

Document Control Checklists

Document Controller: A Career Roadmap

Write a comment

Comments: 6
  • #1

    Karen (Monday, 21 January 2019 01:17)

    Hi Julie
    Thanks for the continued information have agreed with your comments to date and trying to elevate D C as a profession is one of my highest priorities hope that with you permission i am able to paraphrase and use some of this gold.
    Keep up the great work

  • #2

    MAhir (Saturday, 06 July 2019 07:36)

    Hi julie ,

    i need some advise , we recently had a client qms audit , and the auditor when checking for controlled documents mentioned that there should be a control reference number mentioned on the document as well for each controlled document , he said that a record of how many copies of the controlled version of a particular document distributed shall be monitored ? , i have never come across this anywhere before and been googling and researching this to figure out if it is being implemented anywhere else , can you shed some light on this subject , is it necessary to do so, and how can i reply to them to avoid this

  • #3

    Ann Taylor (Saturday, 29 August 2020 00:40)

    Hi, I recently asked for some CC&R docs to be made available to me for a prospective commercial real estate transaction and I was met with complete resistance for some reason. I am not willing to make an offer without first knowing precisely what I’m getting into and they all calling my request a controlling document and they are not willing to share— my question : is the withholding of such documents typical or atypical? I personally don’t see anything wrong with being thorough from the outset.

  • #4

    mudassar (Monday, 25 July 2022 11:54)

    kindly share the project closeout procedure

  • #5

    Medel (Tuesday, 06 December 2022 00:18)

    Thank you for the substantial information you have shared regarding good documentation practice.

  • #6

    PaigeD (Thursday, 18 April 2024 17:05)

    Thank you for such valuable information! I am in the process of building document control processes from the ground up and all your information is so helpful!