Iowa DOT Takes on Using Doc Express for Paperless Contracting and Document Management

Article Originally Published in the Iowa Department of Transportation December 2018 Directors’ Report

Doc Express is a paperless document management software that we have put in place to implement fully electronic contracts and contract execution for highway construction projects. The program allows contract documents to be accessed, approved, and executed by us and by FHWA (the Federal Highway Administration), contractors, cities, counties, and others. It creates a secure digital filing cabinet for the documents exchanged during the construction project and allows for digital and electronic signatures.

Using the Doc Express program, we have been requiring digital signatures on all Iowa DOT-administered contracts since the August 16, 2016, project letting with great success and support from the contracting industry. Our Office of Local Systems and Office of Contracts began working towards requiring digital signatures on local public agency (LPA) contracts in the summer of 2017, which when implemented would require all projects we let to be digitally signed. Pilot projects were tested during the June through September 2018 lettings and included county, city, and county conservation Board contracts.

Iowa law has slight differences between the requirements of DOT contracts and LPA contracts. This required slightly different workflows and caused some difficulties in implementing the digital signature with the LPAs; but through teamwork and persistence by Mary Thompson, Office of Contracts, and Tammi Bell, Office of Local Systems, the pilot projects were successful, and we’re continuing to work with cities and counties to smooth off the rough edges and resolve the legal differences. Full implementation of all contracts we let was effective with the October 16, 2018, letting. The Office of Contracts signed the last paper contract on October 1, 2018, this contract was from the August 21, 2018 letting.

Some of the benefits of moving to digital signed contracts are:

  • Consistency. All contracts and contract documents are created and processed the same by our Office of Contracts and all contractors.
  • Efficiency. The digital process is estimated to provide a time savings of up to two weeks just in avoiding printing and mailing alone. Project contracts can be executed in a matter of days, instead of the weeks it took with the paper process. Additionally, there is a cost savings to us in printing and mailing costs.
  • Transparency. As with all Doc Express documents, the contract cannot be lost in the mail and it is available for the next level’s signature in seconds. All parties can see exactly where the contract is in the process at any time.

Thanks to the hard work and innovative vision of our team members leading this project, Iowa is now considered a leader in the nation for paperless construction contracts. If you have a paper, legacy process that requires multiple-party acceptance and approval, check out Info Tech’s Doc Express and consider whether you can apply a similar solution to your process.

To learn more about Info Tech, Inc.’s Doc Express service discussed in this article or other Info Tech solutions for construction administration and secure internet bidding, contact customer service at or give us a call at 352-381-4400.