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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.

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

In order to start using the Correspondence tool on your projects, a company admin must first create one or more correspondence types 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 Procore provides the following pre-built templates for orrespondence Types: 

  • Addendum
  • Bulletin
  • Change Request
  • Client Instruction
  • Constraints
  • Early Warning Notice
  • Extension of Time
  • General Correspondence
  • Lessons Learned
  • Letters
  • Letters of Intent
  • Material Request
  • Mitigation Plan
  • Notice of Delay
  • Notice to Proceed
  • Notification of Backcharge
  • Permit Request
  • Project Request
  • Risk Identification
  • Site Instruction

You can find the pre-built templates in the Company level Admin tool. See Add a Template Correspondence Type. These templates are an easy way to get started with the Correspondence tool - then, when you’re ready to create 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 multiple 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 communications 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

  1. Navigate to the Company level Admin tool. 
  2. Under 'Tool Settings', click Correspondence.
  3. Click the Types tab.
  4. Click + Create.
  5. In the 'Add Correspondence Type' window, select the Make New Custom Type button. (See Add a Template Correspondence Type for information about the Start from Template option.)
  6. Complete the following information for the new correspondence type:
    • Name: Enter a name for the correspondence type.
       Tip
      Based on the text you enter in the Name field, the system suggests similarly named template correspondence types that have not yet been added to your company's Procore account. You can select the button for a template correspondence type to finish populating the Name field and to automatically populate the Number Prefix field.
    • Number Prefix (Optional): Enter an alphanumeric prefix (up to 10 characters long) for the correspondence type.
    • Optional: Mark the Items are private by default checkbox if you want all items that are created under this correspondence type to be private by default.
    • Optional: Mark the Send an email notification when items are closed checkbox if you want email notifications to be sent when items created with this correspondence type are closed.
  7. Click Add.
    The new correspondence type is created and a banner stating "The template was successfully added." appears. You are then redirected to the 'Edit Fieldset' page for the new correspondence type where you can update the fieldset and apply it to one or more projects (which will allow you to start creating and viewing correspondence items with the new correspondence type on those projects). See Create New Configurable Fieldsets.
     Tip

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 can then finish creating the fieldset for the correspondence type.

Update the Fieldset Settings

Start at step 6 below:

  1. Navigate to the Company level Admin tool. 
  2. Under 'Tool Settings', click the tool you want to create configurable fieldsets for.
  3. Click the Fieldsets tab.
    admin-fieldsets-tab.png
    Note: Tools without other settings in the Company level Admin tool will open to this page automatically.
  4. Click Create New across from the section you want to configure fieldsets for.
  5. In the 'Create Fieldset' window, enter a name for the fieldset and click Create.
  6. On the 'Edit Fieldset' page, each field name has the following options:
    • Click the toggle to the ON icon-toggle-on.png position to make the field visible in the section.
      OR
      Click the toggle to the OFF icon-toggle-off.png position to hide the field in the section.
      Note: A icon-toggle-on2.png icon indicates that the field is visible by default and cannot be changed to hidden.
    • Mark the 'Required' checkbox to designate the field as required.
      OR
      Clear the 'Required' checkbox to designate the field as optional.
      Notes:
      • Fields without a checkbox are optional by default and cannot be changed to required.
      • A gray marked checkbox icon-checkbox-marked-grayed-out.png indicates that the field is required by default and cannot be changed to optional.
  7. Click Save.
  8. In the 'Apply changes to [#] project(s)?' window, click Assign Projects to add the fieldset to projects.
    • In the 'Assign Projects' window, mark the checkbox next to each project you want to apply the fieldset to and click Update.
    • In the 'Apply changes to [#] project(s)?' window, click Confirm.
  9. Optional: To set a fieldset as the default for new projects, click the icon-ellipsis-options-menu.png icon at the end of its row on the 'Fieldsets' tab and select Set as New Project Default.
     Note
    Projects created from a project template that includes fieldsets will inherit the fieldsets from the project template instead of your company's default fieldsets. See Configure a Project Template.
Optional: Add a Custom Field to the Fieldset

Start at step 3 below:

  1. Click the Fieldsets tab.
  2. Click Edit next to the fieldset you want to add the custom fields to.
    OR
    Click Create New to create a new fieldset. See Create New Configurable Fieldsets.
  3. Scroll toward the bottom of the page and click Add Custom Field.
     Tip
    Custom fields can be added to custom sections on supported tools. See Create Custom Sections and What are custom sections and which Procore tools support them?
  4. Click Create New.
  5. Complete the following information for the new field:
    • Field Name: Enter a name for the field.
    • Field Type: Select the type of field you want to create.
      Note: Some field types may not be available for all tools.
      • Checkbox: The field will be a checkbox that can be marked or cleared.
      • Company: The field will be a drop-down menu that allows users to select a Company from the Project Directory.
      • Date: The field will allow the user to select a calendar date.
      • Multi Select: The field will be a drop-down menu that allows users to select multiple values.
      • Number: The field will allow a number value to be entered.
      • Plain Text (Short): The field will be a free text field.
      • Project Directory User (Multi Select): The field will be a drop-down menu that allows users to select one or more users from the Project Directory.
      • Project Directory User (Single Select): The field will be a drop-down menu that allows users to select a user from the Project Directory.
      • Read Only Entry: The field will allow you to type a message, such as instructions, in the text box, which will be visible on an item.
      • Rich Text (Long): The field will be a rich text field that supports paragraphs to allow longer responses and bold, italic, and underlined text.
      • Single Select (Dropdown): The field will be a drop-down menu that allows users to select one value.
      • Tool User (Single Select): The field will be a drop-down menu that allows users to select a user with 'Read Only' or higher permissions to the tool.
  6. Click Create.
    Note: The field will automatically be added to the bottom of the fieldset.
  7. Click the toggle to the ON icon-toggle-on.png position to make the custom field visible in the section.
    OR
    Click the toggle to the OFF icon-toggle-off.png position to hide the custom field in the section.
  8. Mark the 'Required' checkbox to designate the custom field as required.
    OR
    Clear the 'Required' checkbox to designate the custom field as optional.
  9. Click Save to save your changes to the configurable fieldset.
  10. If the fieldset is already applied to one or more projects, click Apply to Existing.
    OR
    If you have just created a new fieldset, click Assign Projects and begin at step 3 of the Apply a Fieldset with Custom Fields to Projects section below.
  11. Optional: Click and drag on the reorder grip icon-reorder-grip.png icon to rearrange the order that the custom fields will appear on a fieldset.
    Note: Procore Standard fields cannot be reordered.
Optional: Add a Custom Section to the Fieldset to Organize Custom Fields

Start at step 5 below:

  1. Navigate to the Company level Admin tool.
  2. Under 'Tool Settings', click the tool you want to create a custom section for.
  3. Click Fieldsets.
  4. Click Edit next to the fieldset you want to add a custom section to.
    OR
    Click Create New to create a new fieldset. See Create New Configurable Fieldsets.
  5. Click +Add Section.
  6. In the 'Add Section' window, enter a name for the section and click Add.
  7. To add one or more custom fields to the new custom section, click Add Custom Field under the custom section's name.
  8. Click Choose from Existing to add an existing custom field.
    OR
    Click Create New to create and add a new custom field. See Create Custom Fields Within a Fieldset.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 to add more custom sections.
  10. Optional: To rearrange custom sections, follow these steps:
    • Hover your cursor next to the custom section until the grip icon icon-reorder-grip.png displays.
    • Click on the grip icon and drag the custom section above or below another custom section.
  11. Optional: To move a custom field to a different custom section, follow these steps:
    • Hover your cursor next to the custom field until the grip icon icon-reorder-grip.png displays.
    • Click on the grip icon and drag the custom field above the Add Custom Field button in the custom section you want to move it to.
  12. Click Save.
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. In the 'Apply changes to [#] project(s)?' window:
     Important
    The Correspondence tool will not display on a project until at least one correspondence type has been created and a fieldset for at least one correspondence type has been applied to the project.
    • Click Apply to Existing to save your changes to the fieldset on projects that the fieldset is already applied to.
      OR
    • Click Assign Projects to add or remove the fieldset from projects.
      • In the 'Assign Projects' window, mark the checkbox next to each project you want to apply the fieldset to and click Update.
      • In the 'Apply changes to [#] project(s)?' window, click Confirm.
  3. Optional: To set a fieldset as the default for new projects, click the icon-ellipsis-options-menu.png icon at the end of its row on the 'Fieldsets' tab and select Set as New Project Default.

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.

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 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.
  • Create Item. Grants users the privilege to create a correspondence item.
    Note: Since users with 'Standard' level permissions on a correspondence type can create correspondence items, the 'Create Item' granular permission cannot be unchecked while 'Standard' is selected for the correspondence type on the permissions template.
  • 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.
    Note: Since users with 'Standard' level permissions on a correspondence type can respond to correspondence items they are on, the 'Respond to Items They Are On' granular permission cannot be unchecked while 'Standard' is selected for the correspondence type on the permissions template.
  • Edit Open Items They Created. Grants users the privilege to edit 'Open' correspondence items that they created.
    Note: Since users with 'Standard' level permissions on a correspondence type can edit 'Open' correspondence items they created, the 'Edit Open Items They Created' granular permission cannot be unchecked while 'Standard' is selected for the correspondence type on the permissions template.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 icons-settings-gear.png 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-delete-x.png 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.
    • Select Open, Closed, or Draft under the 'Status Type' column.
    • Click Add Status.
      Notes: 
  3. To delete a status, click Delete Status next to the status you want to delete and click OK in the dialog box that appears.
    Notes:
    • 'Global Statuses' (Open, Closed, and Draft) cannot be deleted.
    • Deleting a custom status does not remove it from any existing items. Existing items with a deleted custom status will be considered 'Open'.

Permissions Table 

  1. Navigate to the project's Correspondence tool.
  2. Click the Configure Settings icons-settings-gear.png 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-permissions-admin-x.png 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 multiple 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.