Leveraging AIA Contract Documents Change Orders: Empowering Contractors in Construction Projects

By AIA Contract Documents

March 27, 2024

In the dynamic landscape of construction projects, changes are inevitable. Whether due to design modifications, unforeseen site conditions, or client preferences, these alterations can impact the scope, cost, and timeline of a project. To navigate these changes effectively, contractors often rely on standardized processes and documentation. Among these, the G701- 2017 Change Order stands out as an invaluable tool, offering contractors a structured framework to manage and document alterations while safeguarding their interests. Let’s explore how the G701-2017 can empower contractors in their construction endeavors.

Understanding AIA Contract Documents Change Orders

AIA Contract Documents are widely recognized and utilized in the construction industry for their clarity, fairness, and legal soundness. Change orders, specifically, are amendments to the original contract that outline modifications to the project scope, schedule, or cost. AIA Contract Documents provides standardized forms and procedures for documenting change orders, ensuring consistency and reliability across projects.

Benefits for Contractors

  1. Clarity and Formality: The G701- 2017 Change Order provides a clear and formalized process for requesting, reviewing, and implementing changes. This structured approach reduces ambiguity and helps avoid misunderstandings between the contractor and other project stakeholders.
  2. Risk Mitigation: By documenting changes through AIA Contract Documents, contractors can mitigate potential disputes or claims arising from scope changes. Clear documentation of agreed-upon modifications helps establish mutual understanding and accountability among all parties involved.
  3. Cost Control: Change orders often impact project costs. With AIA Contract Documents change order forms, contractors can accurately track cost adjustments, ensuring that changes are properly accounted for and compensated. This transparency enhances financial management and helps contractors maintain profitability.
  4. Schedule Management: Changes can disrupt project timelines if not managed effectively. The G701-2017 procedures enable contractors to assess the impact of changes on the project schedule and negotiate realistic adjustments to maintain project progress.
  5. Legal Protection: AIA Contract Documents are drafted by legal experts and regularly updated to reflect industry best practices and legal standards. Utilizing these documents provides contractors with a solid legal foundation, protecting their rights and interests in the event of disputes or litigation.

Practical Implementation

Implementing AIA change orders effectively requires adherence to established procedures and best practices:

  • Timely Documentation: Contractors should promptly document all requested changes and submit formal change orders in accordance with the contract requirements.
  • Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication with project owners, architects, and subcontractors is essential throughout the change order process to ensure mutual understanding and agreement on proposed modifications.
  • Thorough Documentation: Detailed documentation of changes, including scope revisions, cost adjustments, and schedule impacts, is crucial for clarity and accountability.
  • Compliance with Contract Terms: Contractors should ensure that all change orders comply with the terms and conditions outlined in the original contract and relevant AIA Contract Documents.


In the complex and dynamic environment of construction projects, effective management of changes is critical to project success. AIA Contract Documents change orders provide contractors with a structured and standardized framework to navigate changes efficiently while protecting their interests and mitigating risks. By leveraging these documents, contractors can enhance transparency, communication, and accountability, ultimately contributing to the successful delivery of construction projects.

Want to learn more? View this free webinar from AIA Contract Documents: The Fundamentals of Construction Change Orders

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AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.