This blog has been produced in partnership with Construction News.
The NEC requires a large amount of data-gathering. But with the right software, this tedious task can become a breeze.
The New Engineering Contract (NEC) has become increasingly popular because it is designed to foster collaboration in managing construction projects and lessen the number of disputes arising between clients and contractors.
But the NEC is not problem-free. It demands large amounts of data that can – as Causeway senior product manager Juan Simpson puts it – “see people becoming data managers rather than commercial managers” as they grapple with multiple spreadsheets to identify the information needed.
Software exists to help clients with this, but what about contractors?
Causeway have recently added brand-new NEC features to it's well-established Causeway Commercial Management software, which integrates all relevant commercial data for an NEC contract in a secure cloud-based database.
Customers’ finance, project planning and estimating systems are integrated to consolidate project data and provide real-time visibility of progress and forecasting.
This removes scrambling to produce reports from information scattered among multiple spreadsheets and piles of paper.
NEC contracts have unique cost-coding structures for projects, and transactions must be allocated against the activity or bill of quantities depending on the form of contract. Many contractors approached Causeway when they discovered standard finance systems could not accommodate a project’s unique coding structure.
Causeway Commercial Management software bridges the data gap by integrating into finance and delivery program software, as Juan Simpson explains: “Causeway has approached it from the contractor side. Contractors have been asked to manage more and more data, yet other software solutions don't support the specific requirements needed to get paid. There are a lot of companies looking specifically at the client’s problems, but we're right there with the contractor. Our new NEC features allow contractors to manage thousands upon thousands of lines of data, and evidence all of those things they need to, in order to get paid. And that’s really how we’ve approached it.”
The NEC obligation to join together data from multiple places leaves managers facing a tedious and somewhat wasteful exercise, but technology can gives an easy way to collate this into one evaluation that can then be passed to a client.
Juan Simpson adds that Causeway's solution for supporting the commercial management of projects is not aimed at only top tier firms. “We've actually found that the mid-market problem is exactly the same as the top tier problem,” he says. “It’s about the amount of data they’re being asked to manage when working on an NEC contract.”
Firms want to collate material from separate procurement, subcontract and commercial management systems into a single set of information.
This approach can also lessen commercial conflicts.
“If you can evidence the things that you’ve done in accordance with the agreed budget, that will reduce the amount of conflict you have,” Juan Simpson adds. “This is a structured system… it’s auditable, it’s controlled and it’s managed with user permissions. So no one can just go into a field and change it.”
Causeway Commercial Management software is based on the concept that if information is stored in one system, managers only build their report once and data analysis become a quick, efficient and accurate process.
Unlock the full potential of NEC contracts
Overall, the use of technology can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of NEC4 project management.
If your business is looking for support in this area, click here to learn more about how Causeway's Commercial Management solution can help support the delivery of NEC contracts.