While Holloway Consulting is unaware of an exact formula for determining whether a cardinal change to the contract has been ordered or occurred, the basic question in Construction Claims Consulting is essentially as follows: Was the modified job the same as the parties bargained for when the contract was let, or did the change fundamentally alter the nature of the work being constructed?
CONSTRUCTION CLAIMS CONSULTING – CARDINAL CHANGE
Cardinal Change – No Precise Definition?
Since a cardinal change is one that fundamentally alters the contractual undertaking of the contractor, it is not comprehended under the normal changes clause. Therefore, it is the contractor’s undertaking, rather than the product, that is crucial in deciding whether a cardinal change had been ordered. Thus, in Edward R. Marden Corp. v. United States, 442 F.2d 364, when a partially completed hangar collapsed during the course of construction and the contractor was ordered to rebuild it, a cardinal change had been made because the cause of the collapse was a defective Government specification, even though the rebuilt hangar was identical to the original hangar.
Cardinal Change Damages
Based on our review of cardinal change decisions, there does not appear to be a universally applied formula for construction damages calculations. However, it appears that the majority of decisions seem to favor Quantum Meruit or Modified Total Cost damages methodologies, where the recovered costs were reasonably incurred and supported.
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Construction Claims Consultants
12081 W. Alameda Pkwy., #450
Lakewood, CO 80228-2701
Denver Phone: (303) 984-1941
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