Article Date: 10/18/2013

Construction Attorney Offers Advice for Change Order Resolution

By Steve Rizer


“It’s incredibly important that you follow whatever the procedure is,” as specified in the contract documents, for requesting a change order in a construction project, Robert “Mike” Cathcart, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP, advised professionals attending a webinar that WPL Publishing held last week. This means meeting the time requirements for submitting a request, he noted during the “Change Order Resolution” segment of the 90-minute program, entitled “Change Orders: The Bane of All Construction Projects.” 


Another key for change order resolution involves “prompt and efficient evaluation of all the issues relating to the change,” Cathcart said. He added that such an action “will probably decrease -- significantly --” the cost of dealing with change and accomplishing the changed work.


To ensure prompt resolution of change orders, an owner needs to “step up to the plate and either grant or deny the request for change order as soon as possible, appropriately, and fairly and in good faith with respect to the contractor so that the owner is not taking unilateral steps or delaying the process,” Cathcart said.


Other steps for effective change order resolution involve the following, according to Cathcart:

  • “Recognize changes.”
  • “Mechanism for pricing and scheduling.”
  • “Grant/deny properly and fairly.”
  • “Reservations of rights.”
  • “Complete the project.”
  • “Lender and surety concerns.”

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