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Low cost software soltions for NEC3 using Electronic Performance Support System EPSS approach
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NECCA EPSS - Contract Administrator for NEC3

NEC3 change (compensation event) management process is therefore a good candidate for an Electronic Performance Support System EPSS solution. Please read on.

Under NEC3 all communications must be in a form which can be read, copied and recorded. This invariably means heavy administrative burden on contractual parties. Furthermore, it is very important to educate those outside of the contractual parties (for instance, designers, subcontractors, stakeholders etc.) in the communication requirements of the contract, to enable parties to communicate within the time scales of the main contract.

NEC3 includes detailed processes to manage change (or compensation events, using NEC3 terminology) with specified time limits. There are many contractual communications to manage to ensure that each party responds within the stipulated maximum time periods. It is absolutely vital to notify the other party of any potential issue early. This enables parties to resolve and close issues quickly. It is crucial that all parties comply with all the rules and time limits. Otherwise, all entitlements may be lost for ever.

NECCA EPSS helps the user to keep track of the various stages of communications and remain contractually compliant. It runs on top of Microsoft Outlook and has a comprehensive built-in information base (relevant NEC3 clauses, guidance notes, flow charts) to provide online help on demand. By reducing the administrative workload, user can find some extra time for doing real work!

The system is 100% customisable to deliver modules to suit the parties to the contract (The Project Manager/Contractor, Employer/Consultant and Contractor/Subcontractor etc.)

After issuing contract communications, equally important thing is having an easy-to-use system to manage the follow-up actions within the contractual time scales. Depending on the nature of the particular issue giving rise to a compensation event, the system may generate lots of emails flying back and forth as the issue is being progressed from notification through to completion. If not managed properly, soon the parties may find themselves struggling under email overload and stressed-out because they are trying to keep track of an ever-growing list of deadlines and commitments to remain contractually compliant.

To cater for this, We can help teams (highly recommended) in setting up their Outlook based email systems for maximum efficiency to manage email ("Inbox") using GTD (Getting Things Done) principles to convert contract-related communications into actions. Using GTD terminology, this and the NECCA EPSS descibed above together form the "trusted system" for contract communications. The basic concept of GTD is getting all "things" (in our case, contract-related communications) out of your "head" (in our case, the Inbox) into a "trusted system" (in our case, a pre-configured set of mail and file system folders).

Example screenshots to show you some of the UIs (User Interfaces) using fictitious data:

NEC3 EPSS Contract Administrator
NECCA EPSS provides an easy to follow user interfaces to access various areas of the system. User can access various system functions and view mail folders and file system folders. Users can move files from one folder system to the other simply by drag-and-drop. Example shows the UI showing steps to follow when preparing a new communication.

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NEC3 EPSS GTD
NECCA EPSS guides the user through the change process (notification -> quotations -> assessment -> implementation) via a system of flowcharts and email templates with statements written in the present active style of NEC3. This process helps the user to produce higher quality, more complete contract-related communications with consistent referencing to the contract. Example shows the UI when the user is about to prepare PM's notification of compensation event under clause 61.1

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NEC3 EPSS ETD
NECCA EPSS allows you to quickly search any type of communication and identify those due by within a specified number of days. Example shows UI showing results of a query: all contractor's notifications under clause 61.4 of PM's failure to decide following C's compensation event notification under 61.3

 

NEC3 EPSS GTD
NECCA EPSS provides an easy method to record early warning notifications (EWNs) in the system whilst out on site

Using the email capability of the mobile phone, user can send an early warning message with a subject line like "EWN:This is an EWN " directly to NECCA EPSS. The system then automatically adds this to the Risk Register with the subject "This is an EWN" without any user intervention. The system can also send Risk Reduction Meeting invites to others at the same time. It's that simple. This method can also be used to record a verbal agreement within the system (in a designated file system folder) following a face-to-face communication outside the office.

NECCA EPSS - Technical Details

NEC3 EPSS GTD
A typical NECAA EPSS installation/expansion for Contractor/subcontractor arrangement

NECCA EPSS is a low cost software solution maximising the use of the combined capabilities of Microsoft Outlook (version 2003 or above) and Excel (version 2000 or above).The solution requires no server capability to run and is capable of operating on stand-alone or networked personal computers. It is scalable, meaning, it has the ability to grow incrementally as needs increase. Its modular nature provides the flexibility required to integrate a large number of users (including supply chain - highly recommended) with minimum development effort.

The main work involved in the utilisation of this software solution is not IT based work. Once the main module of the software solution is installed and the server folders created there is no further IT workload required. The bulk of the work will be between JIK Solutions and your team responsible for contract administration. This includes the creation of email templates.

The proposed method of technical support would be to have a member of the contract administration team trained as a super user and this member of the team would be the first point of contact in case of any technical queries. There would need to be an understanding of all the standards that change management documents must conform to.

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NECCA EPSS - Is it fit to handle strict timetabling obligations under NEC3?

The strict timetabling obligations under NEC3 contracts require a software solution capable of handling communication aspects of the contract effectively. Our software solution, NECCA EPSS, runs on top of your email program, (Microsoft Outlook) and hence in an advantageous position to offer that capability without rebuilding the wheel. In fact, Microsoft Outlook forms an integral part of NECCA EPSS.

In NEC User's Group Newsletter - No.13 - April 2000, NEC commentator, Jon Broome, identified seven principles for effective communications under NEC contract (See the scrolling banner below. Click here to read the full article). Of his seven principles, five (1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 7th) can be met effectively by using appropriate software solutions.

 

 

 

Hence, it is appropriate to test the fittness of any NEC3 software solution in terms of its capability to meet the above five principles. Can NECCA EPSS meet the five principles effectively?

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The answer is a fully compliant YES. See the Table below:

First principleYes
Second principlenot software related
Third principleYes
Fourth principleYes
Fifth principleYes
Sixth principlenot software related
Seventh principleYes
 
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