California Change Orders: What Contractors Need to Know About California State Laws

You’re probably already familiar with change orders, especially if you’ve stumbled upon this article. However, if you’re in California, the laws may be different than other states you’ve worked in.

This article is solely focused on the specifics of California change order laws. We’ll cover the basics of everything that California construction business owners should know about this state’s particular regulations and legislation, and how it affects your contracts when you need to create a change order.

It’s crucial to note: always look up change order laws in your own state. You always want to make sure laws haven’t been updated or use this as a guide in any other state. Laws are often changing and you never want to assume what they are.

Here are some relevant details about the California change order laws to help you remain compliant if you’re contracting within the state.

The California Code for Change Orders

Normally with change orders, it’s always suggested that you request change orders in a written format versus orally. Why? Because it can often be used as a frame of reference.

California Civil Code section 1698 allows a written contract to be modified when the oral change order agreement is executed by the parties or if the change order is supported by new consideration. California courts have held that if the contractor fully completes the additional change order the oral modification to the contract is deemed executed by the parties and is thus effective.”

It puts the trust in both parties that they can have a general understanding of the arrangement and changes to the project. 

What Is Different About Change Orders in California?

California offers wiggle room for verbal changes and agreements. These can still hold up in court.

The change order clause is a legal document that is used to specify what happens if there are any changes to the contract. It also specifies what happens if there are any changes to the contract. 

This differs in California, versus most other US states.

“In the case of waiver, the parties can effectively rescind the written change order provision by their conduct. If the contractor and the owner orally agree that written change orders are not necessary the courts will treat the provision as being rescinded by the parties.” 

This clause is saying that, legally, you can waive the need for changes in writing if both parties can verbally agree on the changes and conditions.

Should My Change Order be Written?

In our opinion? Yes. While California change order laws have exceptions to the rule, it’s always best to establish clear communication by implementing written change order documentation.

Construction change orders are a vital part of the construction process. They are used to document changes in the scope of work, changes in the design, and changes in the schedule.

Written change orders protect both the contractor and the client. On the client’s end, it helps prevent them from ending up having to pay for unwanted work that they didn’t request or agree to. On your end, it provides written documentation and a paper trail when things change, protecting you in the case of a legal dispute.

It is important to have them written down so that there is no confusion about what was agreed upon and what was not. You can use a written contract to reference agreements and avoid disputes.

Communication from the Start

Everything starts with clear communication. It’s the foundation of working successfully with a client. 

Change orders are inevitable in the construction industry. To avoid disputes, it is important to communicate from the start. Be clear before you sign the contract how to communicate with your client. We also recommend having a system of communication, such as routine updates via email or a weekly call. Keeping communication in writing can also smooth over any confusion or clarification, if disputes should arise.

The best way to avoid change order disputes is to have a clear communication process from the start. Communicate about what you want and how you want it done, and make sure that both parties understand each other.

It is also important to have a contract with all of the specifications before starting any work. That way, you can have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and what will be expected of both parties.

Don’t End Up in Legal Disputes

It is important to know the state change order laws before writing up a contract. This will help you avoid legal disputes and save you time and money.

The state change order laws are different in every state. If you don’t handle your change orders correctly, it could be a costly mistake.

Contracts are legally binding and it’s crucial to take the most appropriate measures to avoid going to court over a dispute or making a mistake.

Software Can Organize Your Change Orders

No matter what state you live in, you need to organize your change orders.

Change order software is a great way to organize your change orders. It can help you save time and money by streamlining processes and making sure that you are not missing anything.

The best thing about change order software is that it can be customized to fit your needs. You can set up the software to work with your company’s specific workflow, which will make it easier for you to use.

Change order software is a great investment for any company that has a lot of change orders coming in on a regular basis. It will help them save time and money by streamlining processes and making sure they are not missing anything.

Trak Changes is a change order software that helps contractors manage their change order details, keeping the process centralized, streamlined, and easy for everyone involved.

Tired of juggling change orders without a clear system? Check out our one week trial to get started today!

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