A lot of unexpected things can crop up during the course of construction. Materials can be delayed, the weather can make work impossible, and newfound environmental or structural issues can require additional work, costs, and time. While the contract regarding the project should try to anticipate these issues, the truth of the matter is that you won’t always be able to. In these situations, you’ll need to be prepared to implement change orders, but these agreements are often the subject of dispute.
Was a change order actually put in place?
One of the most contested aspects of a change order is whether there was actually a material change to the original contract warranting a change order. If there isn’t, then it’s going to be more difficult that a change order should be enforced. Here, you’ll want to scrutinize all documents that were prepared when developing the initial contract.
Is the change order valid?
Even if there is a fact that changes the contract and therefore warrants a change order, you’ll have to consider whether it was agreed to in written form by both parties. Even if it’s not, a change order might be enforced if it’s found that your or the other party’s words or actions constituted a waiver of the written requirement.
Did the change order trickle down?
As you know, there can be multiple levels of contracts in a construction project. That’s why you need to be cognizant of the fact that one change order only affects the contractual relationship between those parties, not other parties with whom you have contracted. This is critical to understand so that you don’t end up facing legal disputes with those who were not subject to the change order.
Have aggressive legal help on your side
Construction law can be complicated given the number of people involved and all of the variables that can come into play. That’s why if you’re facing legal challenges in this arena, or you simply want to try to avoid them, it might be a good idea to discuss your concerns with an attorney who is well-versed in this area of the law.