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Handling disputes over project scope and change orders.

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Construction Litigation |

Construction projects may face a variety of challenges from beginning to end. Disputes over project scope and change orders can significantly disrupt the timetable.

Effective management and resolution strategies help to keep projects on track and within budget.

Establish clear contract terms

The first step in preventing scope disputes is to have clear, detailed contract terms. These should outline the project scope, materials, deadlines and procedures for handling changes. Having everything in writing and agreed upon before the project starts minimizes misunderstandings.

Use detailed change order processes

Change orders are common in construction projects, but they can lead to disputes if not handled correctly. Establish a formal change order process that includes documentation requirements, approval processes and how they affect project costs and timelines. Make sure everyone involved understands this process.

Maintain open communication

Regular communication throughout the project is necessary. Hold regular meetings with all stakeholders to discuss progress, issues and potential changes. Open lines of communication help prevent disputes by ensuring that all parties are aware of the situation and can voice concerns early.

Implement rigorous documentation

Document every aspect of the project, especially any changes to and agreements on scope adjustments. This documentation will be invaluable if disputes arise and you need to refer back to original agreements or decisions made during the project.

Consider mediation before litigation

If a dispute over scope or change orders escalates, consider mediation before moving to litigation. Mediation can be a faster, less expensive and less adversarial way to resolve disputes. A neutral third party can help facilitate a solution that is acceptable to all involved. However, if the dispute cannot be resolved, working with an experienced lawyer may be necessary.

By following these strategies, construction project managers and contractors can reduce the frequency and severity of disputes over project scope and change orders and keep projects running smoothly.