Back to Basics: What is a Changes Clause?

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A Changes Clause provides a mechanism for dealing with imperfections as well as allowing project owners the flexibility to update a project’s design as the project progresses.

July 18, 2018
J. Cole Phillips – Smith Currie

The Changes Clause is one of the most important, perhaps the most important, provision in any construction contract. Project designs are rarely perfect. A Changes Clause provides a mechanism for dealing with such imperfections as well as allowing project owners the flexibility to update a project’s design as the project progresses. A good Changes Clause specifies when an owner can change the original scope of the contract, how the parties should resolve the value of the changed scope and when payment should be made to the contractor or a credit given to the owner. A good Changes Clause will also provide a mechanism for the contractor to notify the owner when it believes a change order is due and specify the time within which such notice must be given. For the contractor, failure to pay attention to the requirements of the Changes Clause can lead to forfeiture of the right to seek an adjustment to the contract value or contract completion date. For an Owner, failure to pay attention to and enforce the requirements of the Changes Clause can result in unnecessary payments to the Contractor.

Mr. Phillips may be contacted at jcphillips@smithcurrie.com



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