The Christchurch City Council has implemented conject, a cloud-based solution from Zavanti Property and Construction Software to improve their contract management processes.

The cloud-based contract management software is helping the Council create better contracts, which are less likely to impact the public purse or attract negative press. The conject solution delivers on the principles of NEC3 Contract Management (‘New Engineering Contract, 3rd revision’ ref to enable the Council and its suppliers to better manage contracts, resulting in better communication and reduced risk of disputes.

Matt Freeman, a business analyst at Christchurch City Council explains that the Council is currently managing ten major term services contracts worth more than NZ$100 million over their projected lifecycle. He adds that while it is still early to determine ROI and quantifiable improvements for the Council, the conject NEC3 solution has proven to be an essential tool for effective contract management overseas and is expected to become an integral component for the Council’s contract management initiatives.

The Council had been using NEC3 contract management standards, as well as the more familiar NZS 3910 ‘conditions of contract for building and engineering construction’ as models for many of their contracts. To improve communication around contracts, and to develop a central repository of documents relating to individual services contracts, the Council investigated automated solutions on the market that would promote transparency, be easy to configure and operate, have local support and be able to scale up or down depending on their exact requirements.

After a thorough review of their options, the Council selected the conject NEC3 Term Service Contract (TSC) solution as the software and Zavanti as their implementation partner.

A successful Proof of Concept

A deciding factor in the selection process was the successful deployment of a ‘proof of concept’ exercise for selected park maintenance term contracts. The PoC showed that conject NEC3 delivered all of the functionality as promised and that it would be easy to set up and manage new contracts. In addition, the PoC demonstrated the intuitive interfaces and individualised dashboards that would give everyone from Council staff to contractors their own personalised views of their contracts complete with project status, scheduled activities and reporting options.

Zavanti’s offer of conject NEC3 in a SaaS environment was also a deciding factor as the Council would not need to invest in any additional hardware or software. conject runs securely on any browser including smartphones and payments could be structured on a monthly licensing fee, based on the number of users, giving the Council a very efficient model for calculating the long-term costs of managing term contracts.

Fast implementation

The Council, in conjunction with Spire Consulting prepared all the groundwork for conject’s implementation and Zavanti facilitated the roll-out with technical expertise. According to Freeman, the Council specified the business processes based on their adoption of both the NEC3 and NZ 3910 contract standards. He adds that the conject solution is also optimised to support bespoke panel contracts.

The Zavanti team helped the Council set up the first few contracts and sort out any technical issues. The advantage of having local support is the immediate access to assistance from the Zavanti team.

A supporting partner

Doug Harrison, director of Zavanti explains that loading the contracts into the system and designing the dashboards for individual users is a straightforward process. The team was able to load all of the essentials for the initial 10 term contracts in about 15 days. The conject software is preconfigured for the NEC3 Term Service Contracts so it is simply a case of putting the right elements in the right places.

He adds that the real value to be gained from the conject solution is that it brings to life contracts between parties, where all parties are able to realise benefits and actively comply with the overall project intent during its progress.

Freeman and his team are conducting training for Council staff and contractors. The contractors now have a central repository of all documentation and a clear view of the term contract’s status. By giving all stakeholders equal access to the same information, miscommunications and resulting disputes can be significantly reduced.

Key benefits delivered by conject solution:

  • Central repository of all documentation for Council’s key term contracts
  • SaaS model reduces upfront costs and eliminates any additional hardware/software expenditure and IT support
  • Facilitates streamlined operations, open communications and reduced risk of disputes
  • Hosting services provided by conject
  • Technical support and service provision provided by Zavanti