Massachusetts is a busy place for construction contractors and others in the industry. Particularly when the economy is strong, there are lots of building projects, road improvements and other construction projects underway in this state.
Many of these projects are actually undertaken at the request of the federal government, as they often have something to do with a government facility or an improvement to the local infrastructure.
As many construction contractors who work with the various agencies of the federal government may know, there are a lot of detailed and complex rules that apply to government contracts.
One of the more basic rules is that a contractor will generally be held to the price it bid for the contract, even if it turns out that the project actually cost more than anticipated. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule.
Requests for equitable adjustments are one such exception. Basically, an equitable adjustment is the process by which a contractor can ask for, and receive, additional money from the federal government for a project upon which the price was already agreed.
A contractor must have valid grounds to request an equitable adjustment. This blog previously discussed how the federal government has the authority to make changes in its work order. If it does so, a contractor may request an equitable adjustment to account for any extra costs associated with the changes.
Another grounds for requesting an equitable adjustment is what is referred to as differing site conditions. While contractors generally should inspect the land upon which they will complete the work, there are some things about a piece of property one just might not be able to know until the project actually starts, such as the condition of the land beneath the ground. In some cases, a hidden problem with the property can increase a contractor's costs, and they may request an equitable adjustment as a result.
Detailed questions about whether a Massachusetts-based contractor is entitled to an equitable adjustment should be directed to an experienced construction law attorney.