The G701 Form only allows the AIA to adequately track the sales of the document; I propose we must know WHY. Knowing WHY would go a long way in understanding how an architect can more efficiently administer the construction contract on a project, in turn informing the AIA how it can adequately educate and increase the knowledge base for those performing these services.
Why are they being used? We must first know where the Change Order originates...The Owner? The Contractor? The Architect? These can be more adequately attributed by...The Owner Requested Changes, The Contractor Unveiling Unforeseen Conditions, or The Architect Errors and Omissions.
Let's first consider Errors and Omissions - certainly attributed to a Design Team (or Architect who holds the contract) - which in the insurance world amounts to our negligence in the preparation of construction document. Scott provided a look back to the way things used to be in terms of coordination and Dennis indicated the severity of the issue in claims against architects. This is certainly a contentious issue, but certainly one that the AIA can help solve through education.
HOWEVER...we must also consider when The Owner and The Contractor generate Change Orders.
Renovation and Rehabilitation projects have become more and more important in both the public and private sector in this economy. Unforeseen Conditions can arise on these projects when items are uncovered in walls or in new construction when excavation begins and abandoned underground utilities are revealed. These are not the fault of the architect and our Professional Liability Insurance understands that.
Consider a competitive Design-Bid-Build project that bids 2-5% under budget. For a $10 mil project, this can leave $200,000-$500,000 on the table! Thoughtful design and coordinated construction documents are the first step in delivering a good project to the client, and at times can lead to great bids under budget. Then consider the value that can be added back to the project through Owner Requested Changes when we may hear "upgrade the finishes here" and "add this extension there."
When we think about The Owner and The Contractor generating Change Orders, things aren't all that bad, right?!
Construction documents are not perfect and neither are the architects who draft them. Before we list ourselves as the reason for the sale of 112,000 change order forms, let's realize there are two other parties in standard project delivery that can generate a change order...and let's find a way to track so we know how to better educate those performing construction contract administration.
Disclaimer: these examples are based on work with design-bid-build projects for state agencies (specifically, higher ed). They are not intended to be exhaustive in their explanation, but nobody wants to read an 8 page thread. In addition, these comments are intended to spark more discussion, hopefully they will...
Matthew Hart Assoc. AIA
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