PDRI Tool for Small Infrastructure Projects (Best Practice)

RT-314A Topic Summary
RT 314A


The Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) – Small Infrastructure Projects is a powerful and easy-to-use tool that offers a method to measure project scope definition for completeness. The tool provides descriptions of each critical element allowing project teams to quickly identify project risk factors related to the desired outcomes for cost, schedule and operating performance. The PDRI is designed for use during front end planning, which includes feasibility, concept and detailed scope definition.

The PDRI–Small Infrastructure offers a comprehensive checklist of 40 scope elements in a score sheet format. Each element is weighted based on its relative risk and importance to the other elements, illuminating areas that need further work for a successful project.

A significant feature of the PDRI–Small Infrastructure Projects is that one can quickly go through an assessment and evaluate scope definition on people and freight, fluids, and energy projects. The PDRI–Small Infrastructure Projects functions as:

  • a checklist that a project team can use for determining the necessary steps to follow in defining the project scope
  • a listing of standardized scope definition terminology for small infrastructure projects
  • an industry standard for rating the completeness of project scope definition to facilitate risk assessment and prediction of escalation potential for disputes
  • a means to monitor progress—when used successively—at various stages of the front end planning effort
  • a partial forensic assessment tool for evaluating design and construction readiness
  • a tool that promotes communication and alignment between owners, designers/engineers, and construction contractors by highlighting poorly defined scope

IR314a-2 includes the following tools:

  • Unweighted Project Score Sheet
  • Weighted Project Score Sheet
  • Element Descriptions
  • Macro enabled excel project assessment spreadsheet
  • Logic Flow Diagrams
  • Facilitation Instructions

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : PDRI Tool Elements

Forty elements sufficiently define the scope of a small infrastructure project. These elements are organized into three main sections, each broken down into a series of categories and then elements.

Reference: (IR314a-2)

2 : Implementation Tool #1

IR314a-2: PDRI—Small Infrastructure Projects​

The Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) is a powerful, easy-to-use tool that identifies and precisely describes each critical element in a scope definition package. It also enables project teams to identify quickly the project risk factors related to desired outcomes for cost, schedule, and operating performance. By using the PDRI method, teams can capture mitigation action items and evaluate the completeness of scope definition at any point prior to detailed design and construction.
  1. Macro-enabled Excel spreadsheet for assessment
  2. Unweighted Project Score Sheet (Appendix A)
  3. Weighted Project Score Sheet (Appendix B)
  4. Element Descriptions (Appendix C)
Reference: (IR314a-2)

3 : Proven Success of Projects with a PDRI Score below 300

PDRI–Small Infrastructure Projects use has proven that projects with a PDRI score <300 tend to perform better than those >300.