New course benefits construction industry professionals and current students

Course prepares students for inevitable contract changes in construction project management

The Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management at the University of Cincinnati is introducing a new course this spring geared toward undergraduate and graduate students, as well as construction industry professionals. 

The two-credit course, Construction Contract Changes and Claims Management, will offer guidance on how to manage the inevitable contract changes that occur in construction projects.   

This course is designed to benefit CAECM graduating seniors, CAECM graduate students, and construction industry working professionals in our area such as those that work for project owners, general contractors, subcontractors, material contractors, architects, and engineers. 

The 2-credit unit course, CVE 5105/6005 Construction Contract Changes and Claims Management, will be offered in the spring semester once a week on Thursday evenings from 6:00 PM – 7:50 PM.

Working professionals that are non-matriculated or visiting students (non-degree seeking students), interested in enrolling in the course should follow these registration procedures.

Construction projects rarely go as contracted or as planned. Changes happen for various reasons. Contract changes may cause work disruptions, time delays, extra costs, disputes, legal battles, adversarial environment, and loss of profit. Knowledge of how to mitigate changes, manage changes, and manage claims are important parts of effective construction project management. 

In this course, students will learn effective contract administration practices required to: identify when contract change has occurred, notify contracting parties that change has occurred, track and document contract changes, identify various types of claims, prepare accurate cost estimates and/or time impact analyses, present and negotiate claims, mitigate the impact of contract changes, proactively reduce or avoid contract changes, resolve disputes resulting from claims, and avoid making false claims.

George Okere Ph.D., associate professor educator and Heavy Highway Endowed Chair of construction management, will lead the course. Okere has 23 years of construction industry experience. He helped design and prepare project baseline schedules, managed project progress schedules, prepared numerous time impact analysis schedules, and priced change orders. He will offer practical and effective tools and techniques that work for all contracting parties when it comes to contract changes and claims. 

Okere will share his experiences on several of the projects he worked on while working in the industry. One notable project started with an original contract value of $286M but was completed for a final contract value of $757M, with the contract changes accounting for more than 100 percent of the original contract value. Okere has published several research papers related to contract changes and claims, and the research findings from those papers, as well several other related papers will be shared with students enrolled in the course.

Overview of topics

Identification and assessment of project risk factors; contractual basis for evaluation of changes; types of directed changes and claims and their root cause; effective contract administration practice; practices for identification, notification, and documentation of changes, and claims; changes in scope of work, differing site conditions, and methods for proving related claims; delays, acceleration, disruption, and methods for proving time impact and time extension; lost productivity, and methods for proving related claims; accepted methods for analyzing and quantifying the cost impact of directed changes and claims; effective steps to prepare and present claims; practices for dispute avoidance, and resolution of claims; investigative study to characterize changes and types of claims in project delivery methods.

Featured image at top of hard hat: Photo: Umit Yildirim/Unsplash.