“Paperless” is the approach of using technology to store what you would have previously printed out and/or put in a file folder. Thus making the file an electronic document. A contractor should work with a lawyer before beginning a project to ensure rules are established to avoid penalties for lost, destroyed or deleted electronic documents (accidental or not). Our Orlando construction lawyers have provided insight as to why the construction industry is going paperless.
Documentation For All
Prior to the paperless approach, contractual agreements and documentation could only be accessed by the owner of the document but now more people can be included to a document. These paperless documents can be used to monitor work accomplished on the worksite, establish accountability, and verify that timely notice was given.
Establishing a Starting Point for Audits
A paperless system can be a great place to start for document management and it will consolidate your paper trail, increasing communication among staff. This makes it easier for auditors to thoroughly inspect your worksite documents. Auditors will verify that you are in compliance with employment laws, tax laws, national, and state laws. Most auditors will now conduct a completely electronic audit, and all you have to do is give them temporary access to your files.
Plenty of Security Precautions
Paperless documents allow you to share documents with whomever. However, you are required to disclose the name of the individual recipients and their role on the file (able to view, able to edit, etc). There are some questions one must consider before granting access to a file. For example: What kind of access will each party be given before, during, and after the project? Who controls the documents? Will specific information be classified as confidential or is the entire project private? If these are discussed first hand, it leaves little to none of your security to interpretation.
Editing and Signing Capabilities
The paperless approach allows you to use markup tools to edit suggestions and plans in real-time. Contractors can even flag sections of a document that require signatures and receive exact time stamps on the signatures received. Make sure that you read all parts of legal documents before using your electronic signature.
The contractor needs to train all parties on the paperless system and create a protocol for managing electronic documents. Feel free to update this system as time goes on and you begin to collect more documents. Just as your filing cabinet labels would change, so do the labels used in your paperless approach.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.