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Change Order Administration

and Claims Management

Dieter J. Preiser, PMP

What is a Contract?
 A contract is a mutual business agreement recognized by
law under which one party undertakes to do work (or
provide a service) for a second party for a “consideration”.
 A contract is an agreement between two parties, one called
the contracting party or owner and the other the contracted
party or the contractor to perform a previously determined
scope of work for a previously determined amount of

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Why do we need written
 Basic lack of trust
 Clearly establishes the risks and obligations of each party
 Provides means by which performance can be assessed and
 Provides means by which breaches can be identified
 Provides means by which default can be established
 Establishes the owner’s means of control
 Establishes the contractor’s scope of work

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What does a written contract do
for us?
 A written contract provides the document
by which risks, obligations, and
relationships of both parties are clearly
established, thus ensuring the performance
of these elements in a disciplined manner.

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Goals of Contract Management
and Administration
 The effective management and
administration of contracts results in
reducing risks, maximizing cost savings,
minimizing claims, and improving
economic return.

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How do contracts minimize
 A contract provides the means to manage and allocate
risks. You want to “share” the risks appropriately through
your contractual relationship.
 Your contracting strategy needs to be built around the
relationship between the terms and conditions, and the
accompanying risks and cost impacts.
 The type of contract and the specific language used should
flow from these relationships.
 Failure to manage risks in this manner can result in cost
overruns, loss of market, or loss of quality.

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Risk Areas
 Cost - possibility of overruns and other
financial losses
 Time - delays in schedule and resultant loss
of market
 Quality - loss of desired quality of
engineering and construction

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Contracting Strategy
 Priority of project management goals
– Cost, schedule, quantity
 Status of project definition
 Schedule and cost constraints
– Facility startup date and availability of capital
 State of the economy
– Market urgency for product
– Number of competitive bidders
– Workload of competitive bidders
– Vendor backlogs
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Types of Contracts
 Lump-sum fixed price
 Unit price
 Fixed price with escalation (price adjustment)
 Guaranteed maximum price (target price)
 Cost plus incentive fee (time/cost goals)
 Cost plus fixed fee
 Cost plus percentage of cost

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Elements of Cost
 Labor Costs
 Material Costs
 Equipment Costs
 Overhead Costs - Direct and Indirect
 Profit

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Analysis of Cost

Items of Work OVERHEAD COSTS Profit Margin

At the Job Operating

Costs which Difference
are incurred Costs which Costs which between all
for specific cannot be cannot be costs and
items of work allocated to allocated to all income
specific items specific jobs

The Work The Site The Firm The Motive



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Fixed Price vs. Cost Reimbursable
Fixed Price Cost Reimbursable
Agreement to perform the Agreement to perform
scope of work at a set work on a reimbursable
price regardless of basis.
Contractor’s actual cost.

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Fixed Price vs. Cost Reimbursable
Basic Conditions
Fixed Price Cost Reimbursable
Fair and reasonable price can be Scope & cost of work not defined
established using a detailed sufficiently to allow fixed price
scope of work, complete design quotes.
and specifications and known Qualified contractors unwilling to
environmental and business accept financial risk of fixed price.
conditions. Owner wishes to exert more control,
Adequate professional develop design as project
inspection & supervision progresses, or achieve technology
provided by other parties. transfer from contractors.
Risk: Contractor assumes Owner is required to be more
maximum amount of risk, and sophisticated in contractor selection
has incentive to perform and oversight.
economically. Risk: Owner accepts most risk
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Fixed Price vs. Cost Reimbursable
Fixed Price Cost Reimbursable
Less risk on the Owner, at least Construction can be phased.
on the surface. Changes can be accommodated
Substantial amount of case law more easily.
and administrative protocol. Reduces adversarial
Overall cost known before relations:Contractor & Owner
project begins. are partners.
Minimal Owner involvement Reduced Contractor
Owner realizes price contingency included in price.
Contractor has incentive to
finish early.

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Fixed Price vs. Cost Reimbursable
Fixed Price Cost Reimbursable
Adversarial relations Generally, the construction
Contractor may bear risk for costs are higher.
conditions beyond his control Increased Owner involvement.
Changes more likely to end in Final cost not known until
dispute. project is finished.
Contractor has no direct More detailed negotiations and
financial motivation to provide contractor selection process.
superior quality or service. More cumbersome
Extra time required to complete administrative and
the plans and specs. bookkeeping requirements.

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Fixed Price vs. Cost Reimbursable
Fixed Price Cost Reimbursable
Routine projects. High-risk industrial or
Conditions with an manufacturing projects
abundance of qualified (petrochemical, power,
contractors. offshore).
Public works projects. Situation where qualified
contractors are scarce.
R&D projects (aerospace,

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Types of Contracts

Lump Sum
Lump Sum + Variation

Bill of Quantities
Owner's Flexibility
Owner’s Control

Schedule of Rates

Cost + Fixed Fee

Cost + % Fee

Client‘s Risk
Min Max
Contractor's Incentive to Perform
Max Min
Firm Client’s Project Definition Changeable
Project Schedule Duration vs.
Type of Contract
Contract Type

4 to Start
Start of
2 Completion

Project Duration

1. Cost Reimbursable w / %Fee

2. Cost Reimbursable w / Fixed Fee
3. Cost Reimbursable w / Incentive
4. Guaranteed Maximum Price
5. Lump-Sum Fixed Price
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Phased Construction
Traditional Construction Method

Design Bid/Award Construction Phase

(Single Construction Contract)

Phased Construction Method




Construction Phase
(Multiple Construction Contracts)
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Precontracting Activities
Establish Prepare Contractors Pre-Quals Bid Slate
Plan of Pre-Qual Develop and Prepare Management
Action Documents Response Bid Slate Approval

Prepare Release
Management Management Pre-Qual
Submittal Review

Prepare Review Revise Prepare Release

Contract Contract Contract Job Ex Bid
Draft Draft Draft Meeting Package

Job Ex

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Pre-Contracting Activities
Receive Contract
Bids Award
Contractor Tech Price Prepare
Prepares Bid Bid Management Management Prepare Contractor Owner
Bid Review Review Recommendation Review Contract Signs Signs

Company Functional
Estimate Review

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Pre-Qualification Process
 Financial Strength and Credit Rating
 Previous Experience on Similar Projects
 Organization
 Loss Prevention Program
 QA/QC Program
 Equipment Availability
 Availability of Key Personnel
 Current and Future Workload
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Components of Contract Package
 Invitation for the Bid
 Instructions to Bidders
 Bid Form
 Contract Form
 Schedule of Plant
 General Conditions or Provisions
 Special Conditions, Supplementary
Conditions or Special Provisions
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Components of Contract Package
 Performance Schedule
 Price Schedules
 Scope of Work
 Specifications
– Performance Specification
– Proprietary Specification
 Design Drawings

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Contract Bonds
 Bid Bond (5% to 10% of contract price)
 Performance Bond (50% of contract price)
 Payment Bond
 Maintenance Bond

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 Public Liability Insurance
– Provides coverage against bodily injury and property
damage to third parties as the result of construction
 Builder’s Risk Insurance
– Protects against loss/damage of structures and
 Comprehensive Automobile Liability
 Special Policies
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Change Order Administration
 An organized effort to eliminate
unnecessary cost and time impact as a result
of processing project work outside the
scope of the contract.

A Change is not a Claim.

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Contract Change Clause
 Fixed price contract require a change
 Establishes the owner’s right to make
changes and provides a mechanism for their
administration and resolution.

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Types of Changes
 Formal
– Via contract change clause
 Constructive
– Action of owner that has the effect of directing
a change, although not initially documented as
 Cardinal
– Change totally out of scope of original contract.
– Should re-negotiate entire contract.
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Change Orders
 Virtually all project have change orders.
 Need to recognize their implications.
 Set up an effective management system to
handle them.
 Minimize cost/time impact and prevent
costly legal action.
 Modification of the contract.

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Sources of Change Orders
 Unanticipated site conditions
 Owner requested design modifications,
additions or deletions
 Clarification of contract documents

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 Change or design development
 Scope of the change
 Material cost
 Equipment rental rates
 Acceptable profit
 Overhead cost
 Consequential effects of the change

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Change Orders
 Prior approval
– Adverse effect on construction
 Unilateral change order
– Urgent situations or conditions
 After the fact

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Change Order Process

Change Order Bid C.O.

Identification C.O. Closing Award
C.O. Cost/Schedule Bid Bid
Request Analysis Period Analysis

Bid Package

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Cost of Changes
Engineering Construction


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Typical Claims Against Owner
 Poor project planning
 Scope changes
 Constructive change orders
 Errors and omissions
 Contract accelerations and stoppages
 Site access or availability
 Other construction interference and delays
 Strikes and acts of God
 Low bidders
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Typical Claims Against
 Late completion - liquidated damages
 Out of specification materials
 Defective work
 Property damage

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 Excusable Delay
– Beyond control of owner or contractor
 Inexcusable Delay
– Beyond the control of the contractor
– Owner caused changes to work
– Differing site conditions
– Suspension or termination of work by owner
 Concurrent Delay
– Two or more delays in same time frame

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Claims Analysis
 Brief of the case
 Owner’s position
 Contractor’s position
 Analysis and evaluation
 Recommendations

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Claim Prevention Suggestions
 Carefully analyze and consider exactly what you
are building and precisely how it will be built so
the contractor does not have to assume or guess
about any aspect of the job.
 Complete the project design before the contract is
bid, and if some parts of the project cannot be
completely designed at bid stage, clearly identify
them and its possible impact.

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Claim Prevention Suggestions
 Conduct a thorough review of the design prior to
the bid stage to identify and correct any design
errors or inadequacies.
 Give bidders sufficient time to carry out a
complete review of the bid package and an
investigation of the construction site.
 Allow enough construction time, remember in this
context, time is not money. Do not assume that
bidders will simply increase their bids to cover a
short schedule.
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Claim Prevention Suggestions
 Identify with enough anticipation what type of
contract will best suite the project.
 Think about every sentence included in the
contract, why it is there and whether it is
 Clearly identify in the contract every operation
that the contractor must accomplish to complete
the job.

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Claim Prevention Suggestions
 Draft for clarity, not confusion. Use standard list
of definitions, and always use the same defined
word consistently.
 Consider material arrival schedules as part of the
contract. Identify long-lead items and possible
vendors in the bid package. Avoid sole-source
procurement unless absolutely necessary.
 Clearly identify who will be responsible for
material delays.

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Claim Prevention Suggestions
 Analyze all potential bidders before preparing a
bid slate. Examine contractors’ prior contracting
experience, claims history, management
capabilities and financial ability.
 Carefully analyze contractors’ technical proposal
paying particular attention to the proposed method
of construction and the planned number of man-
hours claimed necessary to execute the job.

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Claim Prevention Suggestions
 Seriously question the contractors’ excessively
low bid.
 If you are forced to accept a low-ball contractor,
anticipate a claim and work on it from the
 Be reasonable when analyzing the contractors’
complaints about changes and omissions.
Negotiate settlement as soon as possible and keep
in mind that the older the issue, the more difficult
it will be to settle.
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Claim Prevention Suggestions
 Appreciate the contractors’ right to perform the
contract in any fashion he deems appropriate, as
long as the methods and results conform to
contractually specified standards.
 Keep in min that the owner has the obligation to
provide: a suitable construction site, accurate plans
and specifications, well-defined scope of work,
and inspection without interference.

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Claim Prevention Suggestions
 Understand how many factors can affect a contract
and delay and disrupt the work. Cooperate to
establish an atmosphere of understanding and
mutual respect.
 Keep strict control of: progress reports, daily
meetings, schedule revisions, cost estimates,
change orders and their justifications,
 Develop a solid document control plan.

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Contract Disputes Resolution
Review Contract
Identify Disputes Documents for
Policies and Risk Assessment Resolution Completeness Budget and
PM Selection Procedures and Allocation in Contract and Accuracy Contract

Phase I - Program/Project Planning (NO COST RESOLUTION RISK)

A Problem and Change Change Order Denial of
Budget and Pre-construction Request for Order Estimate and Change Order Entitlement
Contract Meeting Information Request Negotiation Settlement Issued and Cost

Phase II - Contract Administration (LOW COST RESOLUTION RISK)

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Contract Disputes Resolution
Selection of
Denial of Negotiations Contracting Outside
Entitlement Rapid Response Disputes Involving the Officer’s Intervention
and Cost Team Review Board Party Principals Decision Options

Phase III - Contract Identified Resolution (MEDIUM COST RESOLUTION RISK)

Selection of
Intervention Construction Rent-a- Selection of
Options Master Mediation Mini-Trial Judge/Jury Venue Options

Phase IV - Outside Intervention (HIGH COST RESOLUTION RISK)

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Contract Disputes
Resolution Continuum

Selection of Settlement Non-Binding Binding

Venue Options Hearings Arbitration Arbitration Litigation

Phase V - Arbitration and/or Litigation (MAXIMUM COST RESOLUTION RISK)

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