The electronic tracking of post tender project costs is available for NBS Scheduler users. NBS Director of Design and Innovation Dr Stephen Hamil outlines the benefits.
Feedback from users has led us to make some significant improvements to NBS Scheduler which customers will see this year. The planned improvements include online updates, enhanced publishing, online NBS Plus manufacturers' information, and integration with NBS Tools.
But perhaps the most significant enhancement to NBS Scheduler will be the inclusion of cost tracking functionality. This will provide the following key benefits:
- Tender prices can be added electronically for items from a schedule of work
- As work progresses through the construction phase, payment amounts can be entered against each priceable item and the total for each progress payment will be automatically calculated
- Instruction items can be added so that the revised contract sum can be tracked.
Benefits for users of NBS Scheduler
NBS Scheduler produces a priceable schedule of work. However, currently there is no way to work with the priceable items electronically once the schedule of work has been prepared.
Figure 1 shows that it will be possible to export the priceable items from a schedule of work to generate an electronic spreadsheet. At tender, the contractor's prices may be added to each priceable item and the tender sum will automatically be calculated.
Figure 2 shows that when the construction phase begins it will be possible to enter a value for payment against each priceable item – this can be entered directly as a financial amount or as an indication of percentage complete, which will automatically calculate the amount for inclusion. Instruction items to be included in an Architect's Instruction can be added and then priced. Additional payments that would not usually be included on an Architect's Instruction can also be added.
By tracking project costs in this way, over time NBS Scheduler users can build up a library of costs of previous projects and a history of how long projects actually took to complete. This library of knowledge will be extremely valuable at the point of estimating future projects.
Benefits for the contractor
It will be possible for sums in the cost tracking spreadsheets to be edited by the contractor using the free software download of NBS Tools, where there is a Viewing and Cost tracking tool included for collaborative working. The contractor will be able not only to view and print the schedule of work but also to enter values into the shared cost tracking spreadsheet.
The ability for the contractor to correspond electronically on items of cost with the NBS Scheduler user is an improvement frequently requested. Through the shared use of the cost tracking tool, it is hoped that the days of a contractor faxing a 'back of the envelope' application for payment from the site to the contract administrator may soon be a thing of the past.
This enhancement is the first step to bring relevant NBS products closer together.
For example, NBS Scheduler and NBS Contract Administrator already have a natural connection. A specifier can produce a priceable schedule of work and then manage these costs using the cost tracking tool. This information will then be imported into NBS Contract Administrator to be used when generating valuation and payment certificates. Similarly, where variations are added within NBS Contract Administrator, the NBS Scheduler spreadsheet will automatically be updated with these items.
Finally, there is scope for further interaction between specifiers and contractors before the construction phase. It is our intention that a specifier should be able to issue schedules of work or specifications to contractors so that they can submit proposals and discuss design decisions electronically, using NBS software.