Section L Variations/Changes/Claims

The loss of control of changes during design and execution is the secondary cause of project failure.

The U.S. Business Round Table

Nothing endures but change.

Heraclitus, 540–480 BC, or a modern interpretation: ‘The only constant is change.’

If you throw a stone (a change) into a pond (a smoothly running project), it causes a splash (the direct impact of a change) as well as a series of ripples (the difficult‐to‐detect indirect impacts). If you throw lots of stones, where the ripples intermingle, disturbances with peaks larger than the individual ripples are produced (the cumulative effect of changes).

Strictly speaking, all alterations to the contract are variations when made by the client and claims (an assertion of a right under the contract) when the contractor requests compensation. Some organizations use a variety of different words to express different types of alterations; typical terminology is as follows:

  • Variations are alterations to the method of working from that originally defined in the control estimate that do not impact on the direct costs. They will only adjust the allocation of costs and are internal to the organization.
  • An engineering change is extra work, an alteration to the scope or time schedule or method of working requested by the client.
  • A design change can be defined as a modification in scope or time schedule that is the responsibility of the contractor.
  • Claims are (for changes outside the contract) ...

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