Last time, I discussed how change orders with extras are defined by the Illinois courts. In the process, I let you know the five requirements needed by the state of Illinois in order for an extra to be accepted as valid.
To review, the mandates for extras are as follows:
1. The extra work was outside of the scope of the contract documents;
2. The extra item was ordered by the property owner;
3. The owner agreed (by either words or conduct) to pay extra compensation for the extra work;
4. The extra work was not furnished by the contractor as a voluntary act; and
5. The extra work was not rendered necessary by the fault of the contractor.
Furthermore, the contractor must prove the extra was approved prior to its completion. If any of the five rules are not met, the contractor cannot expect payment for the additional costs. It’s extremely important to stress that the property owner’s acceptance of an extra after the work has been done is not sufficient to obligate the owner to pay for the Extra Work. In other words, there is no duty to pay for an extra due to the mere acceptance by the owner of the completed Extra Work. Also, the occupancy and use of the property by the owner does compel the owner to pay for the Extra in question.
Even if there’s been conversation and conduct evidencing the owner’s agreement to provide compensation for the extra work after it has been furnished, no legal responsibility exists. The fact that an owner “wants” an item or “accepts” it after construction does not satisfy Requirement 3. This is because the owner never ordered the extra work before the contractor provided it. Therefore, more than mere acceptance is required. This includes cases where there is no doubt that the item is an extra.
One Final Note
The construction paperwork is a critical safeguard and should always be examined carefully. So before
you sign any agreements, it’s always in your best interest to have an attorney look over the documents
and advise you on the most appropriate route to take.
Next time, I’ll explain the meaning of a punch list.