Changes, Claims, and Dispute Resolution


Sometimes a dispute may arise as to whether or not the work is part of the contract documents and hence the obligation of the contractor. Such a dispute may result in a claim on the part of the contractor. In making a claim, the contractor may request that a change order be issued prior to proceeding with the work. Or the contractor may nevertheless proceed with the work so as not to delay the job, but request that a change order be issued. Such a request is made in the form of a change-order proposal (Fig. 17.19). Depending on the size of the claim and the attitude of the owner or architect, the contractor may decide whether to continue with the extra work or to press for a decision on the claim, through either arbitration (Art 17.14.4), or some other remedy available either under the contract or at law.

Dispute Resolution. The American Institute of Architects Forms, which are widely used in the construction industry, now provide for an additional means of settlement of claims between contractors and owners. AIA Form A-20 1, 1997 Edition, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction, for the first time features a mediation clause requiring parties to resort to mediation prior to instituting litigation or arbitration. This expanded approach to dispute resolution will empower the parties to work out any problems in an informal and expedient way.
(See Art. 17.14.4.)
The new edition of A-201 continues the practice of making the architect the first arbitor of construction claims, except for those involving aesthetic effect. However, a new section, 4.5, adds mediation as the next step in the dispute resolution process.
The new A-201 retains the Arbitration Clause which provides that claims not resolved by mediation shall be decided by arbitration. These methods of claim resolution are available in any construction contract that includes, as part of its terms, the AIA General Conditions A-201.

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