Regardless of how much time, effort, and thought that you put into a construction contract, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to make changes as you get further into the project. That’s where change orders come into play. These modifications to the existing construction contract either require additional work, take work away, or modify the work that is specified in the contract. As these changes can affect the price of the overall project as well and the project’s completion date and thus the terms of the contract itself, disputes often arise over change orders.
Dealing with change order disputes
Before a change order can become effective, both parties to the contract must agree to it. This, of course, can be problematic when the terms of the contract have essentially been changed. But before getting too deep into your change order dispute, ask yourself the following questions:
- Has there been an actual change? Sometimes the addition or modification of work seems like a change to the underlying contractual agreement, but this may not be the case. Look at all documentation from the pre-bidding process to present to see if the work is already covered.
- Has the change order already occurred without consent? In a lot of instances, construction companies modify the scope of their work without even bringing the issue up with the other party to the contract. In these instances, the construction company may have waived their right to seek a change order since the change order wasn’t discussed and agreed to in writing prior to being enacted.
- Does the change affect multiple contracts? Given that large construction projects often involve several subcontracts, you’ll want to carefully look at all downstream contracts to see if they’ve been affected.
Secure help with your change order disputes
Change order disputes can quickly become heated. The good news is that you can often avoid these issues through sound planning and change order management on the front end. But, even if it’s too late for that, you can develop legal arguments that seek to protect your interests. Law firms that are experienced in construction law like ours stand ready to help you do just that, so please feel free to explore the rest our website to see what we have to offer our clients.