How Cilantro are Reducing Payment-Related Risk with Payapps

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Cilantro Engineering are a leading London Building Services Contractor delivering large scale residential projects.

Over the last 18 years, Cilantro have grown to over 500 staff and a turnover of £80m, delivering the design and installation of mechanical and electrical systems across some of London’s most iconic residential developments.

Before Payapps - manual approach to payment applications

Sean Hickey is the Commercial Director for Cilantro, and having spent his career in the construction industry, he inherently understood the challenges that came with the way that they were managing applications for payment.

Subcontractors would regularly submit applications through a multitude of formats, like Word, PDF and Email. This required time and effort from the team at Cilantro to organise into the correct format and often supporting information like ‘previously paid’ was incorrect.

This manual approach to both submitting and reviewing applications not only created an administrative headache, but the double-handling of data often resulted in incorrect information being submitted, which, in turn created an area of risk for Cilantro.

The risk was compounded when it came to subcontractor compliance. Cilantro were manually tracking and updating subcontractor compliance status on an Excel sheet and, as a result would often discover inconsistent or incorrect information. Sean and the team at Cilantro knew this had to change.

Automating the Construction Payment Process

Cilantro implemented the Payapps platform to automate their subcontractor payment process. Now, all applications for payment are received in a consistent format with all required supporting information. Data like ‘payment date’ and ‘previously paid’ are self-calculating and remove risk of human error. This new-found consistency in application and payment notice format has not only reduced risk, but has saved them significant time, as Sean Hickey explains, “We no longer spend time scanning in payment notices, sending to subcontractors, sending to accounts etc.

"Once a payment notice is approved by the final approver it is automatically sent to all relevant parties. In terms of paperwork, this saves us around 2 hours per month per job.”

Payapps also helps Cilantro reduce risk associated with subcontractor compliance. Payapps makes it easy to track critical subcontractor information, like up to date insurance, helping all parties understand and be notified if anything is soon to expire or missing. This is a relatively small part of the process yet still saves Cilantro a couple of hours a month according to Sean Hickey.

Saving time and reducing risk go hand-in-hand, as Sean explains: “I now find myself spending more time reviewing the payment certificates. The layout is much better in Payapps and it is much easier to be thorough with the applications for payment as opposed to receiving Word documents, PDF, Excel etc. Payment applications through Payapps are reviewed in more detail due to the user-friendly layout.”

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