Can’t Get a Written Change Order? Document, Document, Document

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If unable to obtain a formal change order or directive, savvy contractors will maintain a schedule and produce written documentation of the change.

August 29, 2018
Todd M. Heffner - Smith Currie

Most construction contracts require that any changes to the work be made formally, in writing, via a change order, work directive, or similar written document. Frequently, however, changes to the work or extra work are communicated orally by the architect, engineer, or owner’s representative, instead of in writing. What is the contractor to do in such a situation? The best option is follow the provisions of the contract and demand a written change order before performing changed work. Unfortunately, the realities of construction sometimes make it impossible to get the changes in the proper format in a timely manner. Savvy contractors will maintain schedule and produce written documentation of the change in lieu of a formal change order or directive. But many contractors will simply proceed with the changed work, relying on the owner, architect, or engineer to do the right thing and stand by their oral instructions.

Mr. Heffner may be contacted at tmheffner@smithcurrie.com



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