What are Contract Variations?

A contract variation refers to any changes or adjustments made to what was previously agreed upon in a construction contract.

Examples of contract variations include:

  • changes in the amount or cost of work,
  • an increase or decrease in the work needed to be done,
  • and alterations to the scope of work.

A contract variation must be agreed upon by both the client and the builder and put into writing. This includes any proposed changes that may pertain to the way things are done, the quality of work, or the costs.

What Causes Contract Variations?

Variations in construction projects may occur due to various reasons, such as:

  • Unforeseen circumstances
  • Council requirements
  • Homeowner’s request

For instance, a homeowner in Melbourne may request additional work after realizing that the house needs another window. A head contractor may change the scope of work to better suit the designated tasks of the contractors. A builder may change the quality of paint used for a paint job due to a change of preference. Moreover, supply chain issues, shortage of materials, and the ever-changing costs of construction materials may affect the prices stated in the contract.

Regardless of the reason for the variation, it must be agreed to by both parties and put into writing before implementation. At Construction Lawyer Melbourne, we can assist homeowners in Melbourne in navigating the contract variation process and ensure that their rights are protected.

Types of Contract Variations Homeowners Should Know

Homeowners have the right to request contract variations from their builders or contractors for various reasons. 

Here are some common types of variations that homeowners may need

Changes in the Quantity of Work

Contract variations may be necessary if you need more or less work to be done than what was originally agreed upon in the contract. This could be due to design changes or unforeseen circumstances that require adjustments to the scope of work.

Changes in the Quality of Work

This could include using higher quality materials or making changes to the workmanship standards.

Changes in the Costs for the Work to be Done

Contract variations may also be needed if there are changes in the costs of materials or labor that affect the overall cost of the project. These changes should be agreed upon by both parties and put in writing to avoid disputes later on.

Changes in How to Do the Work

If you want to change the way the work is being done, you can request contract variations. This could be due to personal preferences or to comply with building codes and regulations.

Changes in the Latent Condition and Risk Allocation of the Construction Project

Contract variations may also be necessary if there are unexpected or hidden conditions that affect the project’s risk allocation. This could include finding unexpected soil conditions or dealing with environmental hazards.

It is essential to raise these concerns with your builder or contractor as soon as possible. Delaying the request for contract variations can cause delays in the work progress, and you may need to pay additional fees for any new tasks needed in the construction.

How to Document Contract Variations?

As a homeowner in Melbourne, Australia, it’s important to document any proposed changes to your construction contract in writing. This ensures that you and your builder are on the same page and helps prevent any potential disputes.

The process of making a variation request involves several steps.

  1. Document the proposed changes, including the work description, technical specifications, and any additional costs.
  2. Send the proposal to the other party via email or physical mail.
  3. Once the other party receives the proposal, they need to agree to it by signing the document.
  4. Make sure that both parties have a copy of the signed agreement and store it safely for future reference.

Before making a proposal, check the Variations clause in your contract. Different types of contracts, such as those from HIA, Master Builders, or Consumer Affairs Victoria, may have specific requirements that need to be followed. In any case, the key to successful Variations is agreement between both parties. By following these steps and documenting all proposed changes, you can avoid any potential construction disputes and ensure that your project runs smoothly. If you have any concerns or questions regarding Variations, consider consulting a construction lawyer in Melbourne.

How We Can Help With Variations in Construction?

At Construction Lawyer Melbourne, we understand the difficulties homeowners face when it comes to Variations Claims in construction projects. That’s why we offer our expertise and experience to help you navigate through the complexities of construction law and reach a satisfactory outcome.

With over 10 years of active practice in Construction Law, our expert construction lawyer in Melbourne can review your construction contract and related documents and advise you on the best course of action to take. We can help you negotiate with the builder and reach a fair and reasonable agreement that protects your rights and interests.

If you’re facing Variation Claims issues in your construction project, don’t hesitate to contact us for legal consultation. We’ll be happy to discuss your situation and provide you with the legal support you need.