In just a decade since its 2007 inception, ConsensusDocs
—which publishes standardized contracts written for and by those in the construction industry—has experienced sustained growth beyond expectations.
“We doubled the stakeholders involved with ConsensusDocs
(from 20 to 40), formalized organizational rules establishing how everyone must act fairly, quadrupled subscriptions using the documents, and established several industry-first standard contract documents—such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM)—that are literally driving industry improvements,” said Brian Perlberg, Executive Director of ConsensusDocs
As Executive Director, Perlberg’s responsibilities include leading the ConsensusDocs
Coalition—a diverse alliance of 40 construction organizations—in drafting standardized construction documents based on best practices. NASBP was one of the first endorsing members of the coalition, and Perlberg credits the association for its involvement along the way.
“Without a doubt, ConsensusDocs
wouldn’t exist without the efforts and ideas of NASBP,” Perlberg said, adding that NASBP staff were instrumental in forming the ConsensusDocs
Coalition. For example, NASBP representatives suggested that parties should be required to communicate with one another before escalating potential disputes. “This is now seen as a best practice that is encouraged and utilized across the industry as a whole,” Perlberg said.
Cooperation between practitioners in the construction industry is the foundation of ConsensusDocs
—and key to its success. Rather than focusing on a particular segment of the industry, ConsensusDocs
aims to represent the interests of all parties. with a focus on overall project success.
“Folks on the front lines know that it is better to work with a trusted work partner who treats you fairly than under a ‘gotcha’ contract that tries to protect one party over another,” Perlberg said.
As with any business, ConsensusDocs
has faced its share of challenges in the past decade. In fact, the organization almost didn’t come into fruition because determining how to structure the business proved more challenging than collaborating on the contracts. ConsensusDocs
overcame this challenge by focusing on the contracts first and formalizing the business structure later.
“We focused more on the content and built trust based on the finished product,” Perlberg said. “The need for better, more collaborative contracts trumped the reluctance to try something new,” Perlberg said.
Perlberg said that the organization’s biggest hurdle has been—and continues to be—inertia. “Too often, the construction and legal industries are slow to change,” he said.
But in an evolving industry, change is necessary to keep ConsensusDocs
contracts relevant and effective. “We want to build off of practical experience and learn from it to get better results,” he said.
For now, ConsensusDocs
is keeping a pulse on the latest industry trends. “We plan to continue and expand upon a track record of helping lead the industry by being the first to address emerging trends in IPD, BIM, green building, and LEAN construction,” Perlberg said.
“It is critical that the design and construction industry continues to improve efficiency and avoid contractual silos,” Perlberg said. In the future, ConsensusDocs
aims to continue doing just that. “We plan to become the industry’s default standard contract documents by and for the industry,” Perlberg said.ConsensusDocs
offers NASBP members a variety of free resources. For more information, visit the NASBP ConsensusDocs webpage