Think for a moment about joint use contracts. These detail-filled documents are an important part of any utility pole owner’s everyday business, putting into writing the expectations and limitations of relationships with attaching companies. Whether an organization holds less than 10 contracts or has thousands, analyzing, monitoring, managing and especially enforcing these important documents is vital to its operational and financial health.
Why stay on top of every clause and case? Here are a few reasons worth considering:
Enforcing contracts ensures collection of agreed-upon compensation.
Whether by accident or intentionally, un-warranted, un-paid-for attachments do show up on utility poles, and/or stay there after an attachment contract has expired. We have discussed how to banish bootlegs before, but enforcing contracts—especially if they contain self-reporting clauses—is one sure way to collect when an attachment arrives unbidden or outstays its welcome. The action also sends a message that not following rules and regulations will not be tolerated.
Enforcing contracts helps standards remain high.
In addition to language that defines space allocations, rates and other information, joint use contracts may also include details such as limitations on how long before an attacher must transfer its equipment to a secondary pole in the event of a replacement. Ensuring that everyone is following these details to the letter can cut down on things like double wood, which can be unsightly in the eyes of communities and even dangerous if the pole is broken, rotten or otherwise likely to break or fall.
Enforcing contracts keeps the community safe.
Ensuring contractually obligated safe space requirements are being met keeps technicians out of harm’s way. Ensuring attachment procedure is being followed cuts down on the potential for incomplete or deficient installations. All in all, utility pole owners write contracts to make sure specific standards are clear—many of which deal directly with items that must be completed correctly to ensure the safety of workers and the public. Therefore, letting things slide is not just bad for business, it is bad for the health of the owner’s community.
Enforcement Made Easier
If a pole owner handles a large volume of contracts, their contract management team can benefit from the kind of help only industry-specific technology can provide. Utilizing a software product that not only offers a repository for contracts, but also a module where contract information can be populated, can make the job easier and help pole owners be proactive in enforcement. Enforcing contracts can be labor intensive if someone has to read through hundreds of pages to find the one article that applies to the situation at hand. With online, integrated software that includes search capabilities, zeroing in on the information needed is as simple as typing in a query. In this way, enforcement becomes that much easier.