ContractComplete

ContractCompleteThe creators of ContractComplete help streamline work for its users.

By Staci Davidson, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing

Construction projects are rarely easy and always come with some sort of issue or surprise that contractors have to work out. As a result, contractors enjoy tools that make any part of their jobs easier. And that is what ContractComplete is offering with the ultimate collaborative solution for unit price contract administration. 

“Our grand mission is to eliminate paper and paperwork for contract administrators in the land development sector,” Owner Sean Ciampaglia explains. ContractComplete info box  

Ciampaglia got the idea for ContractComplete after spending 12 years in landscape construction. He is a general manager for one of the largest landscape firms in the Greater Toronto Area, working with mostly land developers while dealing with a lot of landscape architects and consultants. There is a lot of contract administration between the client, architect and the construction firm, and he noticed the same issues arising. 

In land development, a lot of information is shared among owners, consultants and contractors, such as drawings, contract documents, change-orders, invoices, payment certificates and site reports. These could be shared via email or on a file-sharing platform, but project managers, land development managers, architects and engineers are so busy that this information can slip through the cracks. This results in reminders and rework, and everyone on the team could benefit from a better way to share and store up-to-date documents. 

During the bidding and contract administration stages of a project, many numbers are generated and communicated on bid forms, quotes, progress reports, invoices, change-orders and payment certificates. The problem is that consultants have to transcribe bids into a bid review spreadsheet as well as copy change orders. And these things may not happen quickly if the people in charge are busy – and they are – so work could stop, subs may not be paid on time or clients could become unhappy. Eliminating double data entry is a solution to this. 

Because land developers, consultants and contractors are bombarded with emails, it is difficult to keep track of who responded to which message at what time. When there is no response, it’s hard to know if someone is being ignored, or if a contractor is waiting for a change order to proceed or if a developer needs answers from an engineer before responding. ContractComplete is a tool that keeps track of all of this. 

Understanding all of these issues, ContractComplete explains its goal for the industry in its mission: “To provide a low-cost, innovative approach for all stakeholders in the land development sector to share information, automate processes and keep each other accountable in order to accelerate project schedules and save everybody time and money.”

Instantaneous Bid Review

ContractComplete is solving these issues for developers, contractors and consultants in a number of ways. First, the platform allows for document sharing throughout the entire project – with a web-based solution and mobile apps – while also storing all project-related documents on Amazon’s secure servers. 

As a result, the documents are available to all stakeholders at any stage of the project, organized by project name and document type. Emails are sent out to the team if new documents are added or old ones are updated, so everyone is aware. 

Further, all stakeholders have accounts on ContractComplete and all of the necessary documents are easily generated on the software, so there is no need for secondary data entry or to transcribe numbers. Users simply have to review the documents, add any necessary specifics and then click a button to generate a change order. The next step is to send it out for digital signatures, and it is automatically added to the body of the contract and can be invoiced by the contractor. The same easy process is used for payment certificates. ContractComplete aims to streamline the entire project schedule with its software.

“We start at the tendering/bidding process,” Ciampaglia explains. “Contractors can be invited through a system from the consultants. Everything is online, and if there are changes or addendums, they are sent out and everything is in the same portal. No one has to go to another site to collect any information. 

“One of the biggest benefits of this software is in the submissions process,” he adds. “Usually, a contract administrator has to enter data into their spreadsheets when the contractor is already doing it. With ContractComplete, the bids are submitted through the system and the bid review is instantaneous instead of five to six hours of manual data entry.”

Members of a project team understand how it can go: developers receive incomplete bids, meaning they have to go back to the contractors and ask them to resubmit. This creates a lot of communication and confusion. When change orders are involved, everyone has to get all the appropriate documents and approvals, and that can cause delays or result in work being done that is not authorized. All of this creates a headache for people in the office who are trying to stay organized. 

Additionally, ContractComplete’s pricing is affordable for contract administrators and free for bidders. At $39 per month, administrators can manage an unlimited number of contracts, including change orders and payment certificates. The software is available for Mac or PC, iOS or Android.

“ContractComplete makes it easy to create invoices,” explains Daniel Moore, partner. “It’s similar across the board for other project documents, making it very easy for consultants and easy to create payment certificates. In terms of document management, all of the pertinent documents can be stored and accessed by all of the users, which saves a lot of time because no one has to search through their inbox for emails and attachments. You can find the documents you need, when you need them, from anywhere.”

 

 

Better with Automation

Ciampaglia and Moore started working on ContractComplete in 2015. Ciampaglia was noticing many issues with contract administration at his job, and Moore helped him determine the business model after working for Blackberry and needing a change. Ciampaglia notes his firm had been working with a couple landscape architects who seemed to be extremely busy and were never able to return messages or send payment certificates in a timely fashion. They also hadn’t signed a change order for four to six weeks, so the contractors weren’t able to bill the developers for the work. It caused a detrimental cash flow issue among the project team, and this spurred Ciampaglia and Moore to create a better system. 

“We said there has to be better system to automate these documents,” Ciampaglia says. “With ContractComplete, as soon as one individual types up the data, all the other parties can review and sign off on the documents at the click of a button. We knew that if we could make things faster and more automated, everything can go a lot smoother and we would accelerate the projects in the end.”

As the company continues to roll out ContractComplete, it’s getting a tremendous amount of positive feedback. Users love that everything is in one system. The instant bid review is by far one of the most popular features among consultants. When the bidding process is finished, ContractComplete automatically generates a spreadsheet based on the average cost of all bids. 

“There are not too many others out there who are addressing these challenges with unit price contracts,” explains Alex Aubry, contract management specialist. “Many firms are still in the stone age with Office tools and they are manually creating all of the documents they need for every change order. There is still so much manual work being done, and that creates opportunities for errors and omissions, which slows down the work. 

“The product becomes more powerful when you’re trying to manage numerous projects,” Aubry adds. “For companies that are growing, when they start taking on more projects, they need to manage invoices, payments and change orders on different projects simultaneously. When this happens, ContractComplete really steps up and makes it easy to define each project and allows users to see what needs to be done. By accelerating the process and streamlining the workflow and organization, this helps contractors stay on top of their cash and prioritize what needs to be done, as well as what is coming down the pipeline.”

Enhanced Features

The team continues to work to improve ContractComplete, enhancing its features and security. For example, in addition to the high-level security features that are standard in the industry, ContractComplete offers static encryption. With this feature, when someone is working on a bid, the bid is encrypted so ContractComplete can’t even see it. When the bidding deadline comes to pass, the contractor has to provide a consultant with a password outside of the ContractComplete system to access the bid. Ciampaglia says the company wanted to add this feature as an option to give users extra peace of mind.

He notes that users love the look of the documents created by the ContractComplete software, but the company is working to standardize these documents so they fit better with the style required by the Canadian and U.S. governments. ContractComplete also is expanding its mobile app. Currently, the app allows users to view documents and contracts in the field, but the team wants to enhance it so users can sign off on work that has been done and create payment certificates in the field. 

The goal, Moore says, is for ContractComplete to take users from bidding to closeout without having to print any document. Instead, ContractComplete will create every document digitally and allow users to sign with an e-signature. 

“The challenge we managed to overcome is so many companies have different workflows,” Moore says. “We managed to generalize the software enough to work for a broad range of companies in our target market. Some consultants require a change order for every change that needs to be applied to the contract, but others are cowboys who say contractors can overbill if they need to. We have to accommodate both and we’ve done so.” 

Ciampaglia explains the team is working on making ContractComplete more useful for smaller contractors. The software was originally designed to be driven by the consultants, but the company is adding a go-solo mode so contractors can use all of the contract management tools without collaborating with a consultant or engineer. 

“When we started doing demos with the software two years ago, we weren’t really close to a minimum viable product,” Ciampaglia says. “But over the past 15 months, we’re no longer hearing comments like ‘we like this but won’t use it until it has’ whatever feature they were looking for. It’s a relief to have a product that is used by so many different companies in the Greater Toronto Area. We are proud of the user interface and ease of use throughout the product – we really wanted to stand out.” 

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