‘Dealing with Change’ – Variation Management. 8 Practical Tips.
Variations and design changes are a fact of life in construction projects. The expectation that variations and design changes occur is recognised in many standard form contracts which contain provisions to ensure that variations are claimed and valued fairly in accordance with the rules that were agreed to by the parties.
Although many standard contracts also contain mechanisms that enable the parties to agree on the valuation of variations and their effects on time before they are undertaken, those same contracts do not always provide the necessary procedures to ensure the speedy resolution of variation claims.
Even when contracts do have the necessary procedures, the parties do not always implement those procedures properly.
Clearly the effects of variations on both time and costs should be agreed before the variations are undertaken.
This is, however, not always possible because of the nature and urgency of the variations that need to be undertaken.
If variation claims are not made or dealt with expeditiously the time and cost effects of the variation may not be addressed until many months after the event.
Aside from obvious time bars, the longer variation issues remain unaddressed the more difficult the task will be to compile contemporary evidence to prove the variation and its valuation.
Consider the following practical tips in the making of successful variation claims:
Review documentation – understand the project documents.
Set up a variation management system.
Confirm that the instruction for the variation is in writing.
Identify and understand relevant contract clauses.
Identify site instructions for the variation.
Prepare liability and pricing submissions, including request for extension of time and delay costs.
Collate supporting letters, site memos, and diary notes.
Collate photographs to show the extra work and its execution.
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