Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Preventing Scope Creep Payment Disputes

Cynthia Tari , partner at Hermes Sargent Bates LLP in Dallas reiterates a frequent and at times costly process for GCs asked to modify original and/or contractually documented scopes of work will in the field (Construction Executive, February 2008). At debate is not whether to perform the additional work, but rather how to document the request to avoid payment disputes.

Tari offers clear advise for preventing disputes includes: "document the authorization to proceed" (p. 56). Very sound advice however, easier to manage from the office, but not always so in the field. This issue is an opportunity for ConstructHub to demonstrate two key attributes - efficiency and asset protection.

Efficiency gains to document changes in scope are easy with a 24/7 web-based tool such as ConstructHub. For example, an owner requests out-of-scope modifications when talking to your site superintendent. Following the conversation, your Sup documents the issue in his Daily Report and assigns the Ball-in-Court (BIC) to the PM on the job. The PM (or PMA) receives an alert on their PDA when the Daily Report is marked 'final' , compares the request with the Owner's Contract and notes the need to gain written authorization for the requested additional work. A COR is immediately generated via PDA - using the information entered from the Daily Report - and transmitted electronically to the Owner for approval. The owner authorizes the work by email and the work begins same day. Nobody had to travel to an office, re-enter data, or produce numerous physical copies to fax, mail or courier. And importantly, "email communications...are effective in proving such authorization" (p.58) shares Tari.

Nice and easy; Efficient and protected. Everybody benefits and work continues on schedule. Don't find out the hard way about the lack of strength in oral testimony and simply prevent any excuses or exclusions by having anytime, anyplace access to your project data, reports and legal documents.

1 comment:

RV said...

Great time saving tool and legally documents the situation. One key to gaining acceptance of the tool will be to educate the owners on how it will benefit the entire team by having an agreement in place sooner than later. One small step toward a less paper oriented environment.