Changes and Extra Work – Is There a Limit?

Time for change on clock illustration

Often times the most critical aspect of a contractor’s financial success or failure of a construction project is its ability to manage changes.

October 9, 2018
Joseph R. Young - Smith Currie

Design and construction changes can be a challenge for everyone involved in a construction project. Designers and contractors endeavor to deliver a project that meets the owner’s needs, budget, and aesthetic considerations. As a project comes to fruition, the project frequently changes, and the parties must address and resolve the financial considerations of those changes and implement the changes at the project level. Often times the most critical aspect of a contractor’s financial success or failure of a construction project is its ability to manage changes. Contractors are sometimes faced with changes that are beyond the reasonable expectation of the original undertaking and have significant planning, scheduling, and cost implications that may not be considered or addressed in the contract’s changes clause. Changes of this magnitude may be considered “cardinal changes” and provide the contractor with recourse beyond restrictions imposed by the contract’s changes clause. But cardinal change is a risky basis for a contractor to refuse to perform additional or changed work. Even major changes can probably be more safely handled within the terms of the contract’s changes clause.

Mr. Young may be contacted at jryoung@smithcurrie.com



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