• Daily Leader staff report
The city has issued a change order on the Western Avenue construction project, according to a press statement released by city manager Mark Hall.
“A change order is a written agreement between the city and the general contractor to change a construction contract,” Hall noted in the release. “Change orders add to, delete from, or otherwise alter work set forth in the contract documents at the time the construction contract was bid.
“As the legal means for changing contracts, change orders are standard in the construction industry,” Hall added.
Hall listed several common reasons for a change order, including the city’s request for a design change, and that unforeseen conditions have arisen: such as site conditions differ from what was expected, and that changes were requested by the contractor or the city engineer.
Hall said change orders are appropriate where engineering errors or omissions are discovered. Also, when the engineer discovers an inadvertent omission or element from the original plans.
The change orders were requested by the city, according to Hall, for additional work (change in scope) and unforeseen conditions.
“As to date, the majority of the change orders have been handled by subcontractors involving concrete work and piping contractors,” Hall added.
“The City of Liberal is responsible for the approval and oversight of change orders,” Hall noted. “In the change order process, city staff review the change order documentation provided by the contract professional, determine that funds are available to pay for the change order and seek final approval from the city commission for the change.”
Hall noted that although the original contract is obtained competitively, that in the interest of expediting the project, the contractor is compensated for the changes without a competitive bidding process.
“The unit prices are extended to cover the change order,” Hall explained. “City staff has the responsibility for scrutinizing the cost of the change orders during the life of the project and ensuring that change orders are reviewed and controlled to protect the city’s interest.”