Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

SMACNA Press Releases

SMACNA Introduces New Change Orders Guide

Mar 18, 2015

SMACNA Introduces New Change Orders Guide 

A must-have for contractors interested in compensation and survival

CHANTILLY, Va. -- Many factors can result in project changes. A poorly-defined scope of work or gaps in the scope may mandate corrective changes. Unforeseen conditions or delays related to the conduct of other parties may trigger significant changes in schedule or cost. A redesign can radically impact the scope. A subcontractor may go bankrupt and its work be reassigned to other project participants.

SMACNA’s latest publication: “Guidelines for Change Orders" A contractor’s biggest challenge is the inevitability of workplace changes and obtaining proper change orders. Handling a change order properly and getting paid is a big challenge, explained Rick Freeman, executive vice president, of Stromberg Metal Works, of the Washington D.C. metro area. “The HVAC ductwork contract drawings a contractor receives in a lot of cases have not been compared and coordinated with the structure to make sure there is sufficient ceiling space for these systems. In some cases this requires the HVAC ductwork contractor to go back and make the necessary adjustment to the systems to fit in the allotted ceiling space. As a result, the contractor becomes a problem-solver, record-keeper, communicator, and negotiator in order to receive compensation for this additional work.”

SMACNA’s new publication gives contractors all the information they need to make a change order. “In addition, it provides the data necessary to sell the change order to management,” Freeman said.

This 56-page guide is available at for $75 (non-members) and free to members. It will serve as both a useful reference for the experienced contractor and a training tool for those entering the complex and constantly evolving construction industry. It recommends construction contract forms and procedures that if carefully and pragmatically applied to individual project circumstances, put the subcontractor in a more favorable position to pursue fair compensation for changes.

Topics covered include:

  • The Need for a New Approach (Construction Trends)
  • Common Triggers for Change Orders
  • Classifying Changes
  • Understanding Contract Change Provisions
  • Assessing the Risk
  • Documenting and Pricing the Change
  • Benefits of a Standardized Approach
  • Impact of Technology on Change Orders (BIM)
  • Negotiating and Confirming the Change (Preserving the Subcontractor’s Rights)

SMACNA, the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association,  is an international trade organization representing 4,500 contributing contractor firms and is a leader in promoting quality and excellence in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry. SMACNA has national offices in Chantilly, Va., outside of Washington, D.C., and on Capitol Hill. Visit