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Who should attend:

Attendees include: Contractors, Subcontractors with government construction contracts. They should have a base level knowledge of Government Contracting and Federal Acquisition Regulations and/or agency level supplements.

The course highlights advanced topics that continue to challenge seasoned professionals, including:

    • Contract Administrators

    • Directors of Construction Contracting

    • Contract Specialists

    • Attorneys

    • Compliance Officers

    • Finance and Accounting Professionals

    • Subcontract Specialists

What you will learn:

It is the purpose of this program to equip both Government and industry representatives with the knowledge necessary to secure the greatest relief — or to suffer the least amount of harm — from construction contract changes, whether they be consciously ordered or result from uncontrollable circumstances. Because the subject is an intensely practical one, the course is similarly one of practical thrust. It tells you what you need to know about the elements — and the nuances — of the various types of changes, about your responsibilities, about your rights, about your remedies, about the dollar considerations.

This course tells you about all those things that bear upon the preference of changes, upon the sensible settlement of claims and — if all else fails — upon the prosecution and defense of such claims.

Topics include:

    • Changes

    • Site conditions

    • Delays

    • Suspensions

    • Acceleration

    • Impact costs

    • Recognizing, avoiding and settling claims

Materials include:

    • Manual

Dates and Locations

This course will be scheduled soon. Please enter your information below to receive a notification when the class is scheduled.

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Day 1
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
All Locations
Day 2
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
All Locations

Course Curriculum


1. Laying the Groundwork

a. Government construction — special features

b. Comparisons with private construction

c. Need for modification mechanism

d. Development of modification techniques


2. Types of Changes and Claims

a. Changes in work

b. Differing site conditions

c. Delays in work

d. Suspensions of work

e. Acceleration of performance

f. Interrelationships and comparisons



3. Changes Clause Coverage

a. The language and its evolution

b. Clause scheme and clause techniques

c. “Within the [contract’s] general scope”

d. The “cardinal change” doctrine

e. Contract breach vs. contract change

f. Deductive change vs. convenience termination


4. The Contracting Officer (C.O.) and

Changes Authority

a. C.O.’s role and control

b. C.O. authority — scope and limitations

c. C.O. representatives — their powers

d. Authority delegations — express and implied

e. Apparent authority — myth and misadventure

f. C.O. ratification — a saving grace

g. Contractor protection techniques

h. Need for written directives


5. Formal Change Orders

a. How change orders originate

b. Types of formal change orders

c. Processing and issuance

d. Contractor protests

e. Government duty to clearly direct

f. Contractor’s duty to perform change


6. Constructive Changes/General

a. Explanation of the doctrine

b. Its mechanics and results

c. Contractor notice requirements

d. Contract administration guidelines


7. Constructive Changes/Applicability

a. Constructive orders for extra work

b. Government interference with work

c. Defects in specifications and drawings

d. Contract interpretation problems

e. Impossibility/impracticability of performance

f. Government misrepresentation or


g. Acceleration of performance

h. Contract administration guidelines



8. General Analysis

a. The problem and its permutations

b. General legal principles

c. Development and pattern of the clause

d. Definition of site

e. Time of condition’s occurrence

f. Man-made vs. natural conditions


9. Recovery for Misrepresentation

a. Relief when conditions and contract differ

b. What is “indicated” in the contract

c. Misrepresentation vs. no representation

d. Information outside the contract

e. Contractor’s right to rely


10. Recovery for the Unanticipated

a. The elements of relief

b. “Unknown physical condition”

c. “Unusual nature” of condition

d. Condition not “ordinarily encountered”

e. Contractor site investigation duty

f. Off-site information

g. Government’s superior knowledge


11. Operating Problems

a. Variation in estimated quantities

b. The stop work problem

c. Effect of Government disclaimers

d. Contractor notice requirements



12. Impact and Consequences

a. Cancer effect on job performance

b. Inexcusable delays — default and damages

c. Excusable delays — relief possibilities

d. Concurrent delays — who gets what

e. Treatment in modification clauses


13. Excusable Delays

a. Acts of God

b. Public enemy

c. Government acts

d. Weather

e. Strikes

f. Labor supply

g. Financial difficulty

h. Subcontractor delays



14. Clause Evolution

a. Causes of suspensions and stoppages

b. Blame and burdens

c. Breach of contract remedy

d. Development of the special clause


15. Suspension Relief Factors

a. Ordered suspensions

b. Constructive suspensions

c. Requirement of Government fault

d. The sovereign immunity problem

e. Reasonable vs. unreasonable delay

f. The profit pinch

g. Relief under other clauses

h. Contract notice requirements



16. Basics of Acceleration

a. The theory of acceleration

b. Acceleration vs. expedited performance

c. The acceleration/delay relationship

d. “Changes” clause relief

e. Ordered accelerations

f. Constructive accelerations


17. Constructive Acceleration

a. Contractor’s excusable delay

b. Notice to Government of delay

c. Government denial of time extension

d. Government acceleration order “request”

e. Contractor preservation of rights



18. Types of Relief

a. Entitlement vs. quantum

b. Time extensions

c. Price increases

d. Release from liability


19. Calculation of Time

a. Sources of data

b. Reasonable time factor

c. “As bid” vs. “as built” charts

d. CPM and other scheduling techniques

e. Concurrent delay calculations

f. Acceleration calculations

g. Measuring effect on progress; examples


20. Disruption/Impact Costs

a. Scope of recovery

b. Types of recoverable costs

c. Applicable contract clauses

d. Reservation of rights to recover

e. Project reporting

f. Documentation

g. Necessary support materials


21. Calculation of Dollars

a. Equitable adjustment principles

b. “Objective” vs. “subjective” adjustments

c. Contractor’s reasonable costs

d. Detailed proof

e. “Jury verdict” proof

f. “Total cost” proof


22. Major Pricing Elements

a. Labor costs

b. Equipment costs

c. Material costs

d. Bonding costs

e. Subcontractor costs, overhead and profit

f. Inefficiency and idle labor factors

g. Cumulative impact

h. Special delay and standby factors

i. Special acceleration factors

j. Cost escalation factors

k. Claims processing costs

l. Overhead — home office and jobsite

m. Profit


23. Deductive Modifications

a. Determining price reduction

b. Unbalanced bidding effects

c. Loss of “learning curve” benefit

d. Unabsorbed overhead

e. Profit adjustment

f. “Truth in Negotiation” requirements


24. Claims Presentation and Defense

a. Contracting Officer, Board and Court

b. Comptroller General

c. Extraordinary relief possibilities

d. Early recognition

e. Documentation required

f. Reservation of rights

g. Claims preparation and certification

h. Necessary elements of proof

i. Claims defense strategies

j. Negotiation factors

k. Settlement considerations


25. Claims Litigation

a. Before the Boards

b. Before the Courts

c. Procedures

d. Strategies



Mr. Newland is a partner and a licensed architect in the Washington, D.C. office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  As a member of the Construction Practice Group, he focuses on major complex litigation matters involving construction law and design compliance matters and foreign commercial law issues. He has extensive experience achieving client goals in construction matters through litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and claims preparation and defense. He also has experience counseling clients on troubled projects, closeout strategies for existing projects, and code and ADA compliance issues.  His practice also includes all aspects of dispute resolution, including litigation in federal and state courts, domestic and international arbitration and mediation. 

Prior to joining Seyfarth Shaw, Mr. Newland was a member of his previous firm's Construction and International Arbitration groups and a member of the construction group that was awarded the 2010 Chambers USA Award for Excellence in Construction. 

Before practicing law, Mr. Newland was an accomplished architect and served as the project manager for commercial and public architecture projects. He still maintains his license as an architect in the District of Columbia.  He has worked on a variety of projects including education facilities, restaurants, commercial buildings, tenant spaces, and ADA retrofitting and renovation applications. This practical experience taught him first hand where problems in the building and design process occur, and how to resolve issues quickly and avoid them in the future. It also prepared him for a legal career advancing and defending claims raised by various parties to the construction and design process.

Mr. Newland has represented foreign and domestic companies in complex construction law contentious and non-contentious matters related to projects and commercial transactions involving United States, Latin American, Turkish and English companies.

Mr. Newland is also a frequent lecturer and instructor on construction law topics.  He teaches various in-house and public courses for West/Thomson Reuters, including courses on risk management, changes, construction management and international construction projects.

J.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Law (1998)
B.A., Virginia Tech (1991)
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Advance Preparation: None
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Changes and Claims in Government Construction Contracting
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