Construction projects are almost inevitably subject to changes in the contract. A fundamental understanding of construction changes, how those changes are governed and what is necessary to ensure a complete change are of paramount importance to all parties involved in a construction project. This article is not a treatise on construction contract changes; rather, it provides advice on actions a contractor can take during construction that will help the contractor recover time or money when a contract’s schedule or scope of work needs to be changed.
Changes to a construction project affect two broad spheres—timing and scope of work. Changes usually present themselves as either a change order or a change directive. Each may go by a different name depending on the contractual scheme in the project’s prime contract, but they essentially have the same characteristics.
The difference between a change order and a change directive is one of agreement. A change order (in the owner-prime contractor context) occurs when the contractor and the owner agree to a change in the timing or scope of work in the contract. Normally, the change order is a written agreement to change the contract and is executed by the contractor and owner.
Reprinted courtesy of J.D. Holzheauser, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.
Mr. Holzheauser may be contacted at email@example.com