I have not done the official research on what are the most common causes of success or failure in a construction claim, but I would bet that the quality of notification to your client is a leading indicator of success – or failure. I can tell you this with certainty: if your notification to your client is in compliance with the contract, the door to your claim starts in an open position. If your notification is noncompliant or only partially compliant, the door to your claim is only partially open, if at all.
I’ve been there when the $350/hour attorney turns to you and says “You didn’t give me much to work with here, you didn’t follow the notification requirements in your contract. I’ll do what I can, but next time write the letter.”
Don’t be that guy. Write the letter.
Notification to a client about a potential change order is not a convenience or a nicety to your client, it’s likely your contractual obligation. If you do not comply with the contract and notify your client, you may have no claim. Your client likely has the right to completely deny it. You may receive neither time, nor money, added to your contract. Then, of course, comes the attorney bill.
Here’s some advice on client notification:
• Contract – first and foremost, go find the applicable portion of the contract detailing your notification requirements.
• Timing of notification – within how many days of your discovery of the change do you have to notify your client? I’ve seen it between twenty-four (24) hours and twenty (20) days.
• Content of letter – what does the client have to be notified of? A description of the change? The effect to the schedule? The cost?
The information presented in this blog was prepared for general information purposes only, to permit you to learn more about this matter, our services, and the experience of our construction professionals. The information presented is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice, and is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney on your specific matter.