Apr 29 2015

NEC3, BIM and better collaboration

Conject StandThe NEC user group recently held their annual seminar in London and as a NEC Licenced Content Partner we attended the event. There were a several interesting takeaways from the presentations and the delegates, namely; the international growth of the NEC, the NEC and BIM and challenges around managing and reporting on the NEC.


International Uptake

In the opening address of the event we were introduced to a delegation of Government and industry from Hong Kong where the NEC has seen increasing use, particularly on Government and major products.  With the UK still very much the core market for the NEC they had come to see how others were using it and what could be done better.

As awareness of the role that collaboration can play in better project outcomes increases, more and more markets are looking to promote collaborative behaviour through the contract.  Our experience at CONJECT tallies with a greater international interest as we are seeing interest from Hong Kong and Australia in particular (including the deployment on the first NEC project in Australia, the Mt Mercer wind farm) as well as ongoing use on projects in New Zealand.



With BIM dominating every other construction conference this year it was hardly surprising to see the second speaker (Simon Rawlinson of the BIM Task Group/EC Harris) tackle the issues of using the NEC on a BIM project.

The general consensus was that the NEC as it is can largely support BIM projects, and indeed the two should be naturally complimentary in terms of increasing collaboration.

Again the importance of creating detailed and relevant Employers Information Requirements was raised, both in terms of establishing contractual responsibility and delivering success for BIM projects more generally.

Other key questions raised around using the NEC with BIM were the precedence of documents, drawings and the model and who owned what data within the model.  On the first point Simon Rawlinson was very clear; the model must take priority over all other documents.  On the second point it was mentioned that the NEC can legislate for information ownership but it seemed clear that this would involve significant customisation of contracts and a more long term evolution of the contract is probably necessary for a BIM world.


Reporting, reporting, reporting

Speaking to the delegates on the day, and from extensive experience with helping clients better manage their NEC3 contracts we came across a number of challenges faced by users.

Any suite of contracts used to manage a project will generate significant communication and the resultant administration.  As a licenced content partner of the NEC, we have created a set of cloud based forms and workflows tailored to the contract structure, significantly reducing the workload on contract administrators.

A demand more unique to NEC users is the demand for comprehensive and timely reporting, in particular better visibility of early warnings and compensation events.  With paper and email based contract management users are finding it difficult to identify how many early warnings and compensation events they have, what stage they are and what the time and cost implications are.

As CONJECT’s solution is built around electronic forms and workflows the status of any information held within the platform can be reported on, giving project teams oversight of status and risks.  Uniquely this can also be carried out at a programme as well as a project level, allowing simpler management and more effective reporting across even the most complex programmes of work.


Getting really smart

Uncertainty over the cost impact of compensation events can be a significant project risk and can lead to parties on the project having to reserve funds to cover unforeseen outcomes.  Some users have linked our NEC3 solution with our commercial management solution, providing complete visibility of the impact of early warnings and compensation events.  This has allowed project teams to manage their budgets more proactively and reduce the risk of unforeseen costs.

To find out how Cambridgeshire Highways saved £150,000 in administration costs and eliminated disputes using CONJECT solutions on their NEC contract read the case study.

About the author

Michelle Mason

Michelle Mason leads the UK and MEAP Marketing team, with far too many years in B2B marketing to mention. A CONJECT newbie, Michelle is eagerly climbing a steep learning curve.

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