Dear YouDig?

Change Orders

Dear YouDig?,

We are a commercial plumbing contractor and take pride that we don’t often end up in disputes with our customers.  Even still, the management of change orders are the bane of our existence on the fast-paced, high intensity projects we work on.  Virtually every time we sign a contract it includes a specific procedure for owner’s change orders which we expect to follow.  In practice, the written procedure is rarely followed and we are often asked to perform extra work without a signed change order or risk losing favor with the general contractor.  Our time and effort often goes down the drain.  When we fight to get paid later the GCs will often point to the written contract and deny the verbal change.  Is there any way for us to get paid if the general contractor deviates from the contract and orders additional work without a signed change order? Ch-Ch-Ch Changes

Dear Ch-Ch-Ch Changes,
Ch-ch-ch-Changes are going to come and you better learn to roll with them. It’s true….some owners can be revisionist historians when it comes to verbal change orders. Suddenly,  the Owner decides that all “Work” a contractor has ever done is in the original scope.  Do you really need to be reminded that you should refuse to perform out-of-scope work until the change is in writing signed by the parties, or at the least object and  proceed under a reservation of rights?

We have said it before and we will say it again – best practices must be consistent and pervasive in your organization. Members of your field team that are easily swayed to proceed without the signed change may need a little whisper in their ear (psst… “dude…we work for money!”).  Even still, there are equitable theories that might get you paid…

  1. After a long battle
  2. After spending A LOT of time listening to your attorneys pontificate
  3. After spending A LOT of time under oath with another attorney that doesn’t seem to like you.

After all of that,  some flow of funds might trickle in.  YouDig?