What to Include in a PCG Report

Doug Vincent
Doug Vincent
March 31, 2024

Creating a Project Control Group (PCG) report can be tedious for project managers in the construction industry, especially when working with critical project decision making information and old software tools. A detailed PCG Report helps ensure the successful completion of capital projects in all aspects, including the timeline, budget, and quality standards.

In this article we'll dive into what should be included in a PCG Report.

What is a PCG Report?

A PCG report is a formal document that provides a detailed overview of a construction project's status. Traditionally, this has been A4 Portrait format prepared in Microsoft Word, however recently, forward thinking Project Management Consultants are using A4 Landscape 'dashboard style' PCG Reports with majority visualizations. This style of innovative new PCG Reporting saves time and also provides a great prop for the PCG Meeting.

A screenshot of a software system showing a PCG Report dashboard with charts and visualizations
An old PCG report (left) vs a new PCG report (right)

Who reads a PCG Report?

A PCG report is typically distributed to all the stakeholders in a construction and the Project Control Group. PCG members, who also attend the PCG Meeting, typically include:

  • Project Owners - i.e. who the construction project is for
  • Client-side project managers - appointed by the Project Owner to manage the project
  • General Contractors - a construction company appointed in construction phases
  • Design Consultants - architects, engineers etc
  • Project Sponsor - often a role from the Project Owner, who is funding the project
  • Other stakeholders / end users

Reading a PCG Report or in attending a PCG Meeting, you can expect updates on all aspects of the project, from project milestons, design decisions, budget reviews, risk analysis, and open dialogue on challenges or ways to optimize the project's path forward. It should also be highlighting key performance indicators (KPIs) that help everyone involved in the project to track its progress

PCG Report Templates & Writing

Writing a PCG Report can totally suck! It takes time, and a you need to gather all necessary data from teams, systems or stakeholders before you can get things started. Isn't it easier if there is a PCG Report Template? It is! 😁 and we will walk you through that in this article.

Please note! No 'perfect' template or format exists for writing a PCG Report. Any template will need to be 'massaged' depending on your project or client. Knowing your target audience alone can make an enormous difference in how you write an effective PCG Report.

The key 🔑 to writing an effective PCG report is to include vital details about the project's progress and not overdo it. Writing too many words can be counterproductive and too much for stakeholders to read. It is always best to write concisely - straight to the point without missing any detail.

What to Include in a PCG Report

Ok, let's get to it! What to include in a PCG Report 😁

Project Details

The first section of your PCG Report is the Project Details, which includes:

  • project's name
  • code, or number (if applicable)
  • report series number (e.g. project report #10)
  • report's publishing date and version history
  • your name as project manager
  • report distribution list
  • the customer or client's name
  • other related information about their company.  

All these ensure that all project information and records are accurate, which is necessary for compliance and record keeping. These details are essential to identify the document you and the rest of the stakeholders are reading. It is handy to have this information on top of the document like in the image below, to quickly sort out which document is which, especially when opening multiple reports across many projects as a Project Owner.

A screenshot of a PCG Report prepared in Microsoft word showing a cover page and project details page
An example Project Details page of a typical PCG Report

Table of Contents

The PCG Report should include a table of contents at the begining of the report, so show the read its contents. Below is an example, however you can explore a free PCG Report template and its contents here.

A screenshot of a PCG Report table of contents showing two A4 pages side by side
A typical PCG Report table of contents

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary, should contain a concise, high-level summary of the project, such as:

  • brief overview of current status
  • goals & objectives
  • critical aspects
  • introduction to the rest of the report.  

A compelling project overview should give the reader an idea of what to expect in your PCG Report, and what it contains, so tht if they only read the summary - they would be across the high level status.

Dashboard / Current Status (optional)

It is always great to add a visual representation of something, especially when it involves a lot of words and numbers. That is the purpose of a Dashboard for showing current status. This is an optional takeaway component that provides a concise one page report of critical information upfront. Imagine a TLDR that someone could put in their pocked!

The Dashboard could be any shape or form as long as it is the best one to represent the data needed in the report. This includes

  • charts
  • graphs
  • maps
  • tables
  • brief text summaries

Report dashboards, especially a one page project report, can improve transparency, efficiency, communication, and decision-making within the team and the stakeholders since they help create a concrete picture of all the data discussed in the report.

While some might find this an additional load to a project manager's job, it is easier to generate the dashboard with the help of tools or software that can convert data into any visual representation they like. Investing in these reporting tools and software is worth it for project managers and if you need help on how to arrange it or some tips for your project report dashboard, check out our blog: 10 Tips for the Best Project Status Report.

Project Scope

A Project Scope details the boundaries and expectations or what is included and excluded from the construction project deliverables.  

As a project manager, it is crucial to communicate this information to your stakeholders to ensure that they have a clear understanding of what is being constructed (and what is not 🏗). This helps manage their expectations and prevents any misunderstandings or disagreements arising due to assumptions beyond the agreed scope.

In your PCG Report, you can present:

  • the primary scope items being delivered
  • scope that is not being delivered
  • scope that is being considered
  • scope variations register
  • changes made to the scope / scope alternations
  • identify any unapproved additions (e.g. scope creep) and propose ways to manage or solve them.

The Project Scope should be updated monthly, especially when there are significant changes, so you and the stakeholders can assess whether the project is on track.

Budget or Financial Updates

The Budget & Finances section of the PCG Report provides a comprehensive overview of the project's financial health. It should include a detailed breakdown of the current budget and expenditures, highlighting any variances between planned and actual spending. There is a few key parts to budget and financial reporting, so we will break it down:

  • Start with an executive summary of the overall budget status, followed by a Budget Breakdown that outlines costs by category, including contingency funds remaining in a brief table.
  • List out any Budget Adjustments that have been made, to show the transfer or changes.
  • Present an Budget / Final Forecast Cost report comparing actual expenditures to the planned budget, identifying significant variances and providing explanations.
  • Include a Forecasts and Projections or a Cash Flow subsection that offers cost-to-complete estimates and cash flow projections for the upcoming reporting period.
  • Incorporate a Variation Summary to show the financial effect of approved or unapproved changes on the scope.
  • Finally, an Updated Risk / Contingency assessment to ensure sufficient contingency funds remain available for unforeseen risks.

All together, these elements will offer PCG Report reader and PCG Meeting members a clear and accurate picture of the project's financial status.

A PCG Report screenshot showing two A4 pages side by side with financial charts, tables and comments
An example of a cost and budget section of a PCG report incorporating visualizations

Health and Safety

Construction projects are risky and life is important ❤. It takes a lot to convince the stakeholders that the project is in the right hands—meaning there are little to no incidents. The Health and Safety report should cover all that information. As a project manager, adding this section to your report shows your dedication and commitment to ensuring a safe and healthy working environment for all personnel working on the construction project.

This part of the report should include at least:

  • Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR): Number of recordable incidents per 200,000 hours worked.
  • Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR): Number of lost-time injuries per million hours worked.
  • Severity Rate: Average time lost per lost-time injury.
  • Near Miss Frequency Rate: Number of near misses reported per 200,000 hours worked.

It is also good to add how you ensure the safety of your personnel, like any safety activities and drills, training and workshops, inspections and observations, and other initiatives you have taken. These initiatives may include safety materials and equipment and overall emergency preparedness.

Risk and Opportunity Assessment  

The Risk and Opportunity Assessment summarises identified factors that may affect the project positively (opportunity) or negatively (risk). This allows the management to evaluate the situation, mitigate potential threats of the identified risks, and maximise the potential benefits of the opportunities presented. This assessment also helps create action plans, especially those that need urgent action. It does not only help in enhancing project control but also improves how project management will make decisions moving forward and improve the overall project outcome.

Some common risks that are discussed in a Risk and Opportunity section of a PCG Report are:

Creating a risk and opportunity assessment in the report also requires updating the risk and opportunity registers. We recommend attaching to the project report your risk registers, and including a short summary table of high or key risks in the body of the report.

Two screenshots of a PCG Report showing a Risk Register and Risk Table
The body of your report should include an assessment of key risks, with a complete register in the Appendix.

Schedule

The project schedule or timeline is a key pillar of project controls, so your PCG Report should provide an overview of how the project is progressing against the approved schedule, showing a breakdown of milestones achieved and upcoming. Identify any foreseen delays, notices, or extensions of time. Best practice is to include notes under a comprehensive table to explain or justify changes to the schedule.

In summary, this section should include:

  • Milestones Completed
  • Milestones Coming Up
  • Foreseen Delays
  • Notice of Delays
  • Extensionsof Time

Below is an example of schedule reporting from an older report template.

A PCG Report screenshot showing two A4 pages side by side with schedule information in tables and text formats

Authority Approvals

This is a short section, but detail any authority-related items that affect the project such as statutory approvals and utilities. These authorities should be identified and consulted early to avoid delays. Think of things like water or electrical utilities, councils, municipalities, governments or other groups that need consulting.

Community Engagement & Stakeholder Communications

If you project interacts with the community, you can include Community Engagement and Stakeholder Communications section in your report to ensure your construction project fosters a positive relationship with its surrounding community.

Community Engagement should highlight:

  • your efforts and other initiatives in informing the neighbouring community about the upcoming project
  • the projects impact on them
  • community feedback, especially if they have major concerns.
  • any work done at council meetings, bulletins, letter drops, posting on the community paper, and the like.

The goal of Community Engagement is to foster trust and understanding, minimise disruptions, and maximise benefits for the community.

Your report must include all your efforts and a thorough update of what the community thinks about your project being in their neighbourhood. As mentioned, they may have any concerns and input that can be valuable to present to the stakeholders, especially if it will also affect the construction project. On the other hand, Stakeholder Communications provides updates on any interaction with stakeholders about the project. A project’s stakeholders include any key persons or organisations with a buy-in on the construction project. Thus, any input, including design input and approvals.

Appendicies

Often, a PCG report requires appendices to provide additional, in-depth information that supports the main body of the report. Also, it serves as a record for historical purposes. Consider these appendices to ensure that stakeholders have access to all relevant data and insights for informed decision-making and drill down.

Other Information to Include in Your Monthly Report

In some instances, there is a need to include additional information in your PCG Report, such as Key Performance Indicators (KPI). KPI are the very measurement of progress and success over time. The KPIs set at the beginning of the project anchor something to compare the progress of the project to, in terms of budget, schedule, resources, and overall plan.

Monitoring, updating, and reviewing the KPIs of the construction project in your PCG Report shows the trend in the project and helps you see whether things are going in the right direction. Expect the numbers (or the charts) to occasionally go up and down (like the stock market), which aids in quick decision-making moving forward. Try to include things like:

  • Schedule Progress vs Plan: Difference between planned and actual progress in project timeline.
  • Cost vs Budget: Difference between budget and actual project costs.
  • Planned Value (PV): Budgeted cost of work scheduled.
  • Earned Value (EV): Budgeted cost of work performed.
  • Actual Cost (AC): Actual costs incurred for completed work.
  • Cost Performance Index (CPI): Ratio of earned value to actual costs, indicating cost efficiency.
  • Schedule Performance Index (SPI): Ratio of earned value to planned value, indicating schedule efficiency.
  • Scope vs Plan: e.g. things like number of change orders issued during the project.
  • Safety Incidents: Number of safety incidents or near misses reported.
  • Cash Flow: Net cash inflow or outflow over a specific period.

Effective Tools for Monthly Reporting

Creating a PCG Report can be tedious for project managers in the construction industry, as it involves gathering information about the project, collating data from different areas, and typing out a report. This can be a time-consuming process, but it is an essential task for ensuring the successful completion of the project in all aspects, including the timeline, budget, and quality standards.

In preparing for an easy life pumping out PCG Reports, look to create a system or buy a tool that:

  • Reduces double handling: You dont want to be copying and pasting information from spreadsheets >  word processing > presentation tools > PDF. Find a tool that captures data once and goes straight to PDF in the way you need it
  • Automates production of charts: Remove silos of your cost tracking, risk register and other project controls from your reporting. You want to have the right charts and visualizations produced automatically, instead of f***ing around in excel or PowerBi for hours.
  • Eliminates duplication of effort: Find ways to enter data once (e.g. a variation) and automatically updates cost trackers, reports and visualizations.
  • Publishes straight to PDF: Most clients want a PDF, so make sure you can produce a PDF
  • Stores data over time: To power KPI, you need a standardised format to capture data over time and track reporting 'commits'. You can store reports easily here and see how you can understand reporting cadence for KPI.

A tool like Mastt gives you a centralised solution to all your construction project controls and reporting needs, alleviating your pain points in creating any report, not just a PCG. There is no need to collate different data sources into a report. Instead, it's like a one-stop-shop of the latest project data for your report, making it more accurate when presenting all the information needed.

How Mastt can help with Project Reports

👉 Head to Mastt's Reporting Module or download our free Project Report template.

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