You know the situation, the project manager or superintendent just cornered you on the job site and told you that he needs some extra work.  But, what you do next may very well make the difference on whether you get paid for that extra work.

Document the Conversation

The first thing you should do is confirm the conversation in an e-mail to the project superintendent or whomever is your point of contact on the project.  The e-mail can be brief and simple. We recommend something like:

As we discussed earlier today, you have requested that we [describe extra work].  I explained that we will need more time to complete the project and there will be additional expense for this work.  We will be sending you the pricing for this extra work shortly and, as you requested, we are going to move ahead with this work. 

Even if your contract contains a clause that says extra work may not be done until approved in writing, the above e-mail will give you a strong argument that the clause was waived when you were directed to do the work.

Change orders can make or break a project.  Make sure you are documenting the request to support your demand for additional payment and more time.

If you need help with your change order procedures, we recommend you contact an experienced construction attorney.  We are here to help.