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Construction contracts, change orders and liens

When an Illinois construction company enters into an agreement with a commercial or private property owner, it attempts to cover all eventualities that could lead to not being paid. One area that many construction contracts address is change orders. However, doing so does not preclude the need for the proper documentation when one arises.

When the project is completed, it is time to settle the bill. When the property owner refuses or otherwise fails to pay for the work done on change orders, the construction company may decide to file one or more liens in an attempt to get paid. However, without the proper documentation, that could present a problem.

It is vital to obtain documentation signed by all parties authorizing the changes. This provides solid proof that the work was requested and agreed to by the property owner. In the absence of a signed change order, emails, texts, letters or other written documentation could suffice as proof. However, this does complicate the process. The situation becomes even more complex when no documentation exists, and the changes were made by verbal agreement alone.

Illinois contractors may not like paperwork, but it provides protection when attempting to get paid or defending against allegations from a property owner. When it comes to changes made to the project, construction contracts often do not provide an adequate level of protection for the contractor. For this reason, it is necessary to overcome an aversion to paperwork and make sure that any change orders are properly documented -- preferably  before the changes are actually made.

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