Streamlining construction management.

Galliford Try accelerates and protects business agreements with Adobe Acrobat Sign.




Employees: 2,700
London, United Kingdom


Hours saved annually in preparing contracts for signature

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Boost staff efficiency while reducing need for meetings and office visits due to COVID-19

Improve visibility into incompletely signed agreements and access to contract archives

Reduce time, effort, and costs for processing agreements

Support firm’s goal to achieve net zero carbon across its operations by 2030

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Saves more than 4,500 hours annually in time spent preparing contracts for signature

Enforces legal and corporate processes for contract approvals and storage to mitigate risk

Eliminates 1.3M sheets of paper annually, for more than £25,000 in cost savings

Saves 50,000 kg in greenhouse gases per year towards firm’s sustainability goals

Richard Hamilton-Price is helping to lead the charge for digitising workflows at Galliford Try, one of the UK’s leading construction firms. The business seeks to mitigate risk while enabling staff to spend less time on routine tasks and more time on higher-value activities.


As Senior Applications Manager for the firm, Hamilton-Price is delivering on the company’s refocused technology strategy — one that more clearly aligns IT with business results. “We need business technology solutions that are sensible, streamlining the job for our teams working at project sites,” says Hamilton-Price.


Since as many as 30 to 50 subcontractor agreements are needed for each construction project, coordinating approvals and archiving documents gets complicated. “Not too long ago, it was considered high tech to gather all construction project files, burn a CD, and then send it to stakeholders to print and sign. Sometimes people would physically sign the disk itself,” Hamilton-Price says.


With the large volume of contracts the firm handles every year, there were increasing concerns about agreements not being fully executed or archived. “In a business with technology everywhere, people have so many places they can store files. If a critical subcontract agreement can’t be found or has not been signed in all the right places, there’s risk exposure,” says Kevin Rolph, Commercial Director for Galliford Try’s North East & Yorkshire division.


The company needed to reduce the time, effort, and costs for managing contract paperwork. The COVID-19 pandemic created further urgency to minimise office visits for photocopying and in-person meetings for signing contracts. 

Simplifying contract processing with e-signatures

Hamilton-Price researched several applications and identified Adobe Acrobat Sign as ideal for boosting contract processing efficiency. “Adobe Acrobat Sign has a great user interface and was less expensive than DocuSign, plus was easy to deploy and use,” he says. Decision makers also liked that the application could integrate with Galliford Try’s deployment of Microsoft Office 365.


With Acrobat Sign, Nick Petty, Senior Quantity Surveyor at Galliford Try, now has a digital platform to route important documents for electronic signatures. Petty no longer has to drive to the office just for contract paperwork. He used to spend hours scanning and copying subcontractor agreements, which can include 500 to 800 pages and require two copies.


These days, Petty averages 15 minutes merging documents, drawings, and other pre-order information in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat to create a single agreement file. He then uploads it to Acrobat Sign for routing. The platform saves approximately 4,500 hours a year in contract processing time for Petty and other staff across 25 groups company-wide.


“Now I can upload a contract in less than five minutes. I fill in about seven pieces of information, then a few clicks and it’s out the door. It’s very straightforward,” Petty says. 

“We chose Adobe Acrobat Sign based on its ease of use, integration with Microsoft Office 365, and Adobe’s excellent support. It’s already saved us significant time and money and has reduced risks associated with our supply chain contracts.”

Mark Cotton

Group CIO, Galliford Try

A typical Galliford Try subcontractor agreement requires two internal signatures, two external signatures, and two internal management approvals. In the past, timely execution was difficult when people were at job sites hundreds of miles away. This was further complicated when amendments were written in by subcontractors, leading to some back and forth between stakeholders.


“It was often a drawn-out process, with the potential to impact project timelines because we are required to have a signed agreement before subcontractors start work on job sites,” says Rolph. Automated routing directly to stakeholder emails accelerates the process. “With Adobe Acrobat Sign, subcontractor agreements are signed and returned much faster, so we can start on construction projects sooner,” he says.


The platform frees Petty to spend more time with customers and key suppliers, which are higher-value activities for the company. In addition, he and other stakeholders can use Acrobat Sign remotely from any device, for fewer in-person meetings and office visits, which became even more important during the pandemic.


“Anything the company can do to lessen the administrative load on our staff is a win. It simplifies their work so they can apply their talents for a bigger impact on our company’s bottom line,” Rolph says.

Mitigating risk with digitalisation

The digital platform assists with Galliford Try’s audit trails and helps mitigate the risk of missing signatures or pages. It also makes files simple to find, especially given that the firm’s construction contracts need to be carefully stored for 14 years. “It gives us a complete, easy-to-use environment for capturing digital signatures and managing our processes. Once agreements are executed, we can easily archive them,” says Hamilton-Price. “We know that senior commercial management love the fact that we have a complete live register of all agreements that can be used as an audit trail of approvals and agreement executions.”


“Enforcing Galliford Try’s business management systems by establishing a single, uniform process for subcontractor agreements also helps protect our BSI/ISO accreditation,” says Rolph.


Mark Cotton, Group CIO for Galliford Try, sums up the application’s benefits for the firm. "We chose Adobe Acrobat Sign based on its ease of use, integration with Microsoft Office 365, and Adobe’s excellent support. It’s already saved us significant time and money and has reduced risks associated with our supply chain contracts.”

“With Adobe Acrobat Sign, subcontractor agreements are signed and returned much faster, so we can start on construction projects sooner.”

Kevin Rolph

Commercial Director, Galliford Try North East & Yorkshire

Supporting sustainability and growth

The firm’s embrace of digital contract approval workflows supports Galliford Try’s goal to achieve net zero carbon across its operations by 2030. In its first year, the platform eliminated 1.3 million sheets of paper, saving the company £25,000 in addition to 50,000 kilograms in greenhouse gases.


The company has expanded its use of the application beyond subcontractor agreements to more than 10 additional workflows, including for subcontractor final settlement, warranties, limit of liability, and compromise agreements. Additional workflows streamline parent company guarantees, consultant appointments, and joint venture agreements, with more in the pipeline.


As adoption of Acrobat Sign grows throughout the company, Hamilton-Price is looking forward to helping staff save even more time with Microsoft Office 365 integration. “Our people are going to like sending documents for signature without leaving Microsoft Word or Outlook. We feel we’ve got a great tool, one that’s flexible to meet our evolving business needs,” says Hamilton-Price.

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