Two-year research study supports the use of Contract Change Management in NEC Contracts

Management Process Systems’ internet based Contract Change Management has won approval for its product from the University of the West of England.

The report, which was presented by professor Ming Sun of the University of the West of England at a seminar on 17 November 2008, outlined the findings of a two-year research study on measuring the benefits of a collaborative and workflow IT business support system, such as CCM, for NEC projects.

CCM formed the basis of the research carried out by the UWE and was partially funded by the government’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme.

Historically, under traditional forms of contracts, project changes and variations often cause disputes, claims, delays and cost overruns in the construction industry.

The NEC Engineering & Construction Contract, initially published in March 1993, is designed to promote good management practice of construction projects and improve the change management process.

It encourages partnering and collaboration between all parties on a project, rather than an adversarial culture that was prevalent before 1993 and still exists on many projects today.

Many professionals who are new to this form of contract find managing communications in NEC projects challenging, so CCM was designed specially to help simplify the process and facility the smooth running of the project for all parties in an easily accessible web based software package.

The NEC Contract came into being to help support and encourage the transition from an adversarial culture to a more collaborative one in construction.

According to the research from the University of the West of England, the most important part of this transition is the moving away from a reactive and hindsight based decision-making and management approach to one that is foresight based, therefore encouraging a creative environment with pro-active and collaborative relationships.

However, Sun said in his report: “The NEC contract requires project managers to be on top of things on a daily basis.

“Daily means that the project manager must have global and updated information on contract status in order to ensure that the contract is operated with minimum delays and that costs are properly controlled.”