In today’s construction world, a project is seldom accomplished from start to finish without change. These changes may originate with an owner, finding some aspect of the project needs to be modified for aesthetic, economic or functional purposes; or, they may originate with a contractor who determines changes are necessary to correct errors in the site plan, or to comply with evolving building codes. Regardless, changes in projects frequently occur, and a contractor cannot treat changes as afterthoughts – changes directly impact a project’s bottom line.
Projects beset with a flurry of changes can become mired in confusion, if not handled in an orderly manner. In the construction industry, there are two contractual provisions to manage change: Change Orders and Extra Work Requirements. Both are effective tools to ensure a project goes smoothly, and to permit the expectations of the parties to be clearly defined.
This article will discuss the basics for effectively implementing and incorporating changes into agreements, and will address how standard contracts, such as the American Institute of Architects (“AIA”) and ConsensusDocs standard form agreement address project changes.