Port Orange Change Orders 101

Submitted on 2014/05/07 at 12:01 pm | In reply to Impressed.

Change Order comments
by:  R. Woodman …..
changeOrdesThe change order on this link is on a typical contract/agreement for services that was piggybacked from the city of Clermont. Could it have been bid out? Yes. But. The reason that we have these type of agreements is it’s like having an attorney on a retainer. We have a contractor on retainer with an open purchase order that we can draw from to pay for services as they are used. When the balance of the purchase order gets low and additional work is identified then a change order for additional funds to the P.O. is needed. That is the intentional design.This is legal and typically done in most municipal governments. This type of contract can be quite difficult to navigate and negotiate. That’s where piggybacking comes in. Someone else has done all the work for you.
If you put out a request for bid for a service contract you better do your home work. It would be way over a purchasing agents head. These can have price schedules that include specifications, unit costs for time and material, type of work, process and work techniques along with other technical aspects that those making decisions may not understand. You must have some reasonable expectation or knowledge of the costs, price schedules and work scope so you go into it with your eyes open. A savvy contractor or vendors will have standard contracts made up that include these things that they can offer or modify for potential customers.
Having said that let’s move along to capital project change orders. Most major capital projects are done out of necessity. Some spring from ideas or concepts. They are given to our engineers to develop plans and scope of work. In most cases as the plans are being developed into a finished product they are reviewed several times by city engineering and other city staff. Corrections and changes are made The plans go back to the consulting engineers and should be modified to reflect the changes and corrections. Sometimes things don’t make it onto the plans and sometimes things get missed or overlooked. I don’t know why or how. Sometimes other city staff make suggestions that are ignored or dismissed. Anything that gets missed or not taken into consideration can and will result in change orders. Contractor mistakes and poor project oversight can also result in change orders.
The city has a problem in the project oversight area. They usually assign someone from administration to be the project manager and someone from field staff to keep an eye on things from their perspective. The project manager calls the shots even though they have little to no practical experience or knowledge in the area that are managing in some if not most instances. When the field person that actually does have the experience and knowledge makes comments or suggestions at the progress meetings they are sometimes ignored or told to shut up. These project managers can easily be manipulated by the contractor.

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