Unlocking Transparency: Worklog Categorisation and Enhanced Communication for NEC4 Projects

June 13, 2024
Learn how categorisation fosters transparency, and strengthens contractual compliance, particularly within the framework of NEC4

Staying on track in project management is an ongoing battle.  Deviations from the plan, or variances, are inevitable. However, their impact can be minimised through effective identification, analysis, and communication. In this blog post, we'll introduce a powerful addition to your Record Management System– Worklog Variance Categorisation – and explore how it streamlines project management, fosters transparency, and strengthens contractual compliance, particularly within the framework of NEC4 contracts.

What is Worklog Variance Categorisation?

Imagine a scenario where your team consistently fail to achieve the planned work quantities, but the reasons remain unclear. Worklog Variance Categorisation tackles this very issue. 

It introduces a new field within the Worklog interface, appearing only when the actual quantity completed differs from the planned quantity. This field presents a dropdown menu with pre-defined categories explaining the reason for the variance aligned with your contract. Users can simply select the most relevant category, streamlining the process of capturing and analysing deviations. 

This functionality complements the existing free-text field, allowing detailed anecdotal explanations when needed.

Benefits Beyond Efficiency

Worklog Variance Categorisation goes beyond just saving time. It offers a range of benefits that enhance project management and communication:

  1. Standardised Reporting: Pre-defined categories ensure consistency in how variances are reported. This makes project data more reliable and easier to analyse for all stakeholders.
  2. Enhanced Visibility: Clear categorisation allows project managers to quickly identify recurring issues or trends. This facilitates proactive management and helps avoid similar deviations in the future.
  3. Improved Communication: The categorisation system fosters transparency by providing clear and concise explanations for variances. This promotes better communication and trust between project teams, clients, and contractors.

Contractual Considerations: Why It Matters

Project management isn't just about internal efficiency; it's also about adhering to contractual obligations. Worklog Variance Categorisation plays a crucial role in this regard, particularly for projects governed by NEC4 contracts.

NEC4 and the power of Compensation Events (CEs):

NEC4 contracts emphasise the concept of Compensation Events (CEs) [Clause 60, NEC4 Contract]. These are events outside the original project scope that can impact the cost or schedule. The onus often falls on the contractor to identify and justify CEs for potential compensation.

Worklog Variance Categorisation to support Compensation Events

The feature directly supports effective CE management in NEC4 projects by:

  • Structured Variance Capture: Pre-defined categories guide users in capturing variances in a structured way, making it easier to identify potential CEs. By aligning categories with potential CE triggers outlined in NEC4 (e.g., Changes in the Physical Conditions, Clause 60.1(1)(d)), the system streamlines CE identification.
  • Clear Causation: Categorisation helps link variances to specific causes, which is crucial for establishing entitlement to compensation under NEC4. Clause 60.1(1) outlines specific events that qualify as CEs, and clear categorisation strengthens the connection between variances and these events.
  • Improved Early Warnings: By readily identifying potential CEs through categorisation, the project team can issue timely Early Warnings as per Clause 61. This allows for proactive discussions and mitigates potential disputes later in the project.

Benefits for NEC4 Projects:

  • Faster CE Processing: Structured variance data facilitates faster and more efficient evaluation of potential CEs by the Project Manager. This minimises delays in claims processing and ensures timely resolution of contractual issues.
  • Reduced Disputes: Clear categorisation and documentation of variances strengthen the contractor's position when claiming compensation for legitimate CEs. This reduces the likelihood of disputes arising from unclear justifications for deviations from the plan.
  • Improved Project Certainty: By facilitating proactive CE identification and management, the feature contributes to a more predictable project environment. This benefits both client and contractor by minimising cost overruns and schedule delays.

Beyond NEC4: A Universal Benefit

While the discussion focused on NEC4 contracts, the benefits of Worklog Variance Categorisation extend beyond specific frameworks. It fosters a culture of transparency and accountability in any project environment. By encouraging clear communication of variances, the feature strengthens relationships with clients and builds trust throughout the project lifecycle.

Taking Control of Variances

Worklog Variance Categorisation is more than just a new dropdown; it's a paradigm shift in managing project deviations. By streamlining variance capture, identifying potential CEs, and facilitating clear communication, it empowers project teams to navigate challenges proactively.  This translates to improved project performance, stronger contractual compliance, and ultimately, a more successful project outcome for all stakeholders.

Ready to Implement?

Now that we've explored how Worklog Variance Categorisation streamlines project management and strengthens contractual compliance, particularly within NEC4 frameworks, let's shift gears and talk action. Here's how you can equip your project teams to leverage this powerful tool and unlock its full potential:

1 - Become a Data-Driven Project Leader:

Worklog Variance Categorisation isn't just about ticking a compliance box; it's about harnessing valuable project data. By implementing this feature, you'll gain deeper insights into project execution. Analyse variance trends to identify areas for improvement and proactively address potential issues before they snowball. Imagine being able to predict and mitigate resource bottlenecks, prevent scope creep, or justify events with clear data-backed evidence – that's the power you hold with Worklog Variance Categorisation.

2 - From Reactive to Proactive:

Think beyond simply capturing variances. By understanding the "why" behind deviations, you can shift your project management approach from reactive to proactive.  Empower your team to address root causes, implement preventive measures, and continuously refine project execution strategies. This proactive approach translates to improved efficiency, reduced risks, and ultimately, happier clients and more successful project outcomes.

3 - The Future of Project Management is Transparent:

Worklog Variance Categorisation isn't just a feature; it's a catalyst for a culture of transparency in project management. By fostering open communication about variances and their causes, you build trust with all stakeholders involved. Clear categorisation allows everyone to be on the same page, facilitating collaborative problem-solving and minimising the potential for disputes.

4 - Embrace the Continuous Improvement Cycle:

Remember, successful implementation is an ongoing process. Regularly monitor the effectiveness of your categorisation system and gather feedback from your teams.  Refine your pre-defined categories as needed to ensure they accurately reflect your project landscape.  Explore advanced analytics to unlock further insights from the categorisation data.

By continuously improving your approach, you'll ensure that Worklog Variance Categorisation remains a valuable asset throughout your project lifecycle.

So, are you ready to take control of project variances and empower your team for success?  Embrace Worklog Variance Categorisation, unlock its potential, and watch your projects soar to new heights.

How Does This Work in Gather?

Worklog Variance Categorisation streamlines the process of capturing and analysing deviations from planned work in Gather. It introduces a new field, "Variance Category," within the Worklog interface. This field appears only when the actual quantity completed differs from the planned quantity. Users can then select a pre-defined category from a dropdown menu to explain the reason for the variance. This new functionality complements the existing free-text field that remains available for detailed anecdotal explanations.

By integrating this feature, Gather enhances its ability to support precise and transparent project management, making it an invaluable tool for teams operating under NEC4 contracts or any other project management framework.

Watch how this works:  https://youtu.be/TP7BG8d7iOE

Unlocking Transparency: Worklog Categorisation and Enhanced Communication for NEC4 Projects

Will Doyle


I am an experienced RICS chartered Quantity Surveyor​ with first-hand experience of how the consistent capture and analysis of data can transform global project delivery.

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