Changing colors

changing colours

Suppose you are working for a Fortune 500 corporate client, designing a new renovation to their head office in New York. They call Saturday night, with a design emergency. They inform you of the new  Pantone Fashion Color report and want to change the colour of the reception feature wall to the new and incredible Lucite Green. Construction is already underway, what do you do now?

  1. Meet the painter on site first thing Monday morning, show him the new colour, and mark the wall you want painted with your pencil.
  2. Courier the colour swatch to the Contractor with a transmittal, and add it to the shop drawing submittals.
  3. Issue a change order (CO) and pray it’s not a Martha Stewart colour that is going to cost a lot of money.
  4. Issue a supplemental instruction (SI) changing the colour of the wall and a sketch showing which wall, notifying the GC and Owner of the change.

Well you probably could do any of the above actions, and you might get the wall colour changed, but how do you cover yourself and make sure the change gets made correctly with no mistakes? The best answer is

4. Issue a supplemental instruction (SI).

A supplemental instruction is commonly used to resolve minor issues in construction documents so long as the change does not affect contract time or money. The CCDC 2 Stipulated Price Contract defines a supplemental instruction (SI) as:

 “… an instruction, not involving adjustment in the Contract Price or Contract time, in the form of Specifications, drawings, schedules, samples, models or written instructions, consistent with the intent of the Contract Documents. It is to be issued by the Consultant to supplement the Contract Documents as required for the performance of the work.”

An SI is a great form to issue if:

  • there are discrepancies between drawings, specifications, or addenda, and you think that a little bit extra clarification would help the GC with the work.
  • If there are some minor changes to measurements or location of items (casework, fixtures, door swing, etc).
  • Is a small revisions to an item that would be already covered in the contract drawings or specifications (for example paint colours, floor colour, etc).

The key difference between an SI and a CO, to remember,  is that there is no intended change in the construction cost or construction time with an SI. At worse case, if an SI is issued, and it would result in either a change to construct cost or time, then the contractor can still request a change order  and the SI can be cross-referenced within the description of the CO.

The additional information provided in an SI can take the form of a photograph, instruction, sketch, report, manufacturer instructions, etc. It could also be used to confirm and back up clarification or direction that was provided verbally on site. Recording this direction in an SI helps keep everyone on the project team on the same page without having to rely on your memory to track who said what and when.

Personally, you might want to let this design emergency message go to voice mail, but you certainly can take care of this issue and sleep well by issuing a Supplemental instruction first thing Monday morning. Don’t forget it would really be easy to issue a supplemental instruction if you use RForm!

We would love to receive your comments on this and any other CA issue, and hear of your own experiences.

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