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Are Oral Change Orders Enforceable on Commercial Construction Projects?

Nearly every construction contract has a provision that changes to the work must be documented in written Change Orders and signed by both the Owner (or his or her representative) and the Contractor. Courts have recognized it as a “wise precaution in making contracts of this magnitude.” (City Street Improvement Company v. Kroh (1910) 158 Cal. 308, 321.) Change Orders should be issued whenever the work of the project is changed, whether that change increases or decreases the project scope. So, for example, they should be issued for changes that add to scope (most likely increasing the cost and, perhaps, even...

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