Written change orders could cause construction delays


Gone are the days of a handshake and the trust of someone’s word. It seems the construction industry’s heavy reliance on written change orders when agreeing to alterations to a project’s scope, is causing project delays and cost overruns. Verbals requests are often seen as being non-binding.

On Site Mag reports that even Canadian law is showing a willingness to accept methods other than those in writing. But the consensus is that agreed upon changes should be well documented if a formal change order isn’t used.

Canadian courts agree that contract terms may be altered through means other than written change orders. Engineering and construction contracts are typically entered into based on limited knowledge so the scope of work (SOW) is often a moving target. Efficiency could be increased by axing written change orders and using less formal directions like simply by talking and supporting decisions through emails and meeting minutes to reduce the risks of disputes moving forward.

Any changes should be approved by someone with the authority to do so. If this is not specified, the change should be approved by the signatory.


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