I believe that a verbal contract is still binding and should warrant a change order credit. As for the approved change orders I believe should stand as a comprehensive document. As all change orders have risk of loss as well as gain for the contractor. It is my opinion that the court would rule in favor of the owner on the basis of oral agreement.
Posted by: Patrick Greiner - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:47 PM
Verbage such as: comply with all, time is of the essence, shall be limited too and others, ignore the realities of the design construction process.
Each project is unique within its site paramenters, who is building it, the subs selected and the experience or inexperience of the workforce. That being said, the project delivery systems of to day are feeding into concerns associated with change orders. Book after book and article after article makes it seem as if CO's are a gold mine. In fact they are not profitable when compared to the % of total project cost they represent vs the cost to administrate them.
Successful projects acknowledge at the front end the likelyhood of CO's occurring and place in the General Conditions a protocol for equitable resolution.
A perfect set of drawings (rarely attained)would yield a project cost of "x" which would equal the original bid price (+) the CO's, yielding a similar amount, less the administrative fees incurred to process the CO's.
As you intially have indicated, the disconnect is in the language of the agreements and its interrpretation by those affected by it.
Acknowledgement that construction is a process of "we together" and not us vs them, will yield less negative results.
Trust me when I say "Parterning" works. (with the right participants & facilitator)
Posted by: James V. Vitale, AIA, LEED AP, CASp, RCI - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:51 PM
I'm in favor of a "team" approach when dealing with a contractor who is willing to follow the plans to the letter, and who will contact the architect in advance, say during the bidding process, or who will notify the architect of a discrepancy or disagreement in advance of incorporating a change, whether a credit or an add. Architects design and detail as they do for reasons contractors may not understand, and in my experience when a contractor does it "his way" or in a manner he is accustomed to in his trade, the effect is nearly ALWAYS deleterious to the aesthetics or function of the design. Some contractors have real respect for architects and process, other have little more than contempt. Change orders originating with field requests should always be negotiated, and changes never approved without the architect in the middle of the process. Owners who bypass the architect are courting problems whether a request involves a credit, no cost add, or additional fees.
Posted by: G.R. Collins, AIA - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 2:56 PM
Like any other project work acitivity, the elements of a change issue need to be input into the proejct schedule to determine what, if any, impact the change will have on the other work activities. The resources to perform the change need to be analyzed to determine if current resources are adequate or if additional resources will be required. The bottom line is the planning of change activities have to be performed in a similar manner to what is required to accomplish the base oontract activities. If additiional resoureces are required or impacts to other work are identified as a result of the change, this should be reflected in the cost of the change.
Posted by: Ron Cilnesek - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 3:08 PM
A change order is to protect the contractor and the owner. They are mutual agreements between the parties and can be worded as needed in regard to unknown conditions, additional unanticipated costs, contingent costs, etc.
As for cumulative effect, it would seem that a good construction PM and/or architect would apply experience, expertise and leadership to head off potential disputes and misunderstandings in this area and reach mutual agreements. Assuming two ethical and professional parties to the discussion, it is certainly within reason and certainly preferable to ADR or court if for no other reasons than to save valuable time and protect reputations.
Posted by: Marshall Wilson, RA, LEED AP - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 5:43 PM