Demand for ConsensusDOCS standard contract documents grew by nearly 20% in 2009 compared to the previous year despite significant declines in construction activity, the organizations that developed the documents reported. The jump in users comes as private, public, and not-for-profit owners have begun using the standard documents and getting positive results.

"Today’s market conditions are forcing people to reevaluate the outdated model of drafting documents from scratch for every construction project," says Brian Perlberg, executive director of the ConsensusDOCS coalition. "These documents offer an easier, faster, and more efficient way to go from concept to construction."

The number of subscribers for ConsensusDOCS documents climbed from 3,291 at the beginning of 2009 to 3,895 at the end of the year, an increase of over 18%, Perlberg notes. He adds that in December 2009 alone, the coalition saw a 28% increase in sales compared to the previous December. The growth occurred even though construction spending hit a six-year low in 2009. Perlberg notes that the jump in users was impressive given that demand for competing standard contract documents was down significantly during 2009. One factor possibly driving growing demand for the documents is that public and not-for-profits groups increasingly allow the use of ConsensusDOCS documents. The federal government recently authorized the use of ConsensusDOCS documents for up to $20 billion worth of U.S. Department of Agriculture projects. States like South Dakota, Michigan, and North Carolina have all recently allowed the documents as well. And not-for-profits, including Florida Habitat for Humanity chapters, now routinely use ConsensusDOCS contracts for key projects.

"In a year of little good news for the construction industry, it is encouraging to be the exception instead of the rule," says Perlberg. "Using these documents will make it easier for owners and contractors to survive and thrive during these difficult days."