Following a successful trial, Walls is using Summit to digitise its entire subcontractor payment certification and approvals process
Established more than 60 years ago, Walls Construction is widely recognised as one of Ireland’s leading building contractors. Walls is privately owned with a strong track record in multiple sectors, from commercial, industrial, residential, healthcare and education through to retail, conservation and tourism/leisure.
Until now, the company relied on a paper-based process for subcontractor payment certification and approvals.
This approach had its drawbacks, according to Divisional Director (Finance), David Strickland: “Our subcontractor certs needed multiple physical signatures and when the Accounts team was asked to pay subcontractors, we couldn’t always do so because the paperwork was still going through the approvals process.”
“Handwriting on the certs could also be a problem, resulting in lost time trying to decipher who a Quantity Surveyor (QS) was actually trying to certify, along with the numerical errors associated with a paper-based system.”
Knowing that other contractors were using digitisation and workflow successfully in Summit, David recognised that it made good sense for Walls to try it out too. He said: “We piloted the system on one of our current projects and although we had a few teething problems, as you’d expect, they were easily overcome.”
The pilot was very successful. “The whole process is much quicker and simpler,” said David. “The QS keys the information onto Summit. It then goes through an electronic approvals process before ending up in Accounts.”
“It’s all digital, instantaneous and transparent, with complete visibility in terms of where the certs are and where any blockages are. It has streamlined the whole process. What’s more, handwriting errors on the certs don’t happen, because it’s all done digitally – the QS keys the figures into the Summit Valuation module instead of writing on paper.”
David says; “it’s certainly saving us a lot of time and hassle and is 100 times better than the way we used to do it.” In fact, David is so impressed with the Summit subcontractor payment certification and approvals module that on 23 July he rolled it out across the entire company.
The new approach has the thumbs-up from Walls QS personnel too. “In the current climate, QSs are a scarce resource, so anything that can increase their efficiency is a big plus to the company,” said David. “I was talking to the QS who helped pilot the new approach and his reaction was: ‘You know, we should have done this years ago. It’s so much easier, it’s unreal.’”