Change Orders on Road Maintenance Contracts: Causes and Preventative Measures

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Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction, ASCE





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A Delphi study was conducted with maintenance engineers of state DOTs in the United States to identify the causes and preventive measures of change orders (COs) in road maintenance projects. Five road maintenance activities that are frequently conducted were selected in order to identify the causes and preventive measures of COs; these were chip seal, striping, asphalt overlay, slope repairs, and debris removal. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) values, which showed the overall agreement of the respondents as to the causes and preventive measures of COs, were determined. It was found that the respondents had excellent agreement with the causes of change orders for all activities (ICC > 0.75), except for the causes of change orders for chip seal. This study found that the main causes of COs on maintenance projects were due to incorrect work scope, errors in the estimate, changes in the original plan, and changes in specifications for materials, as well as failure to verify the work site conditions before signing a contract. In addition, the respondents showed a high level of agreement with the preventative measures of COs for all types of maintenance activities (ICC > 0.82). Some important preventive measures to reduce COs that were identified included reviewing the specifications before bid solicitation, preparing accurate estimates, reviewing design drawings, measuring the work done with the contractor, and performing a thorough geotechnical site investigation before designing. Identifying the causes and preventive measures of COs in road maintenance projects can provide valuable information for maintenance engineers to help them plan maintenance work so that a significant amount of COs can be reduced in these types of projects. This paper will also provide a summary of causes and measures to minimize COs in a format that can be easily used by state DOT engineers in their road maintenance contracts.


Road maintenance projects; Unforeseen conditions; Causes and preventive measures; Change orders; Intraclass correlation


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Construction Engineering and Management | Engineering



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