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Variation clauses

There are many circumstances when a variation takes place in a construction contract, but it is vital to ensure that it is in fact a true variation and that this is recorded correctly to prevent disagreements further down the line.

It is also important to ensure a variation clause is included in the contract otherwise the contractor could refuse to carry out the additional work.  Variations should be agreed by both parties in writing only, so the effect on timings and staged payments can be taken into account.

Circumstances where variations might arise include:

  • Changes to drawings
  • Changes in site management
  • Employer and or contractor requests
  • Instructions to expend provisional sums
  • Changes in statutory requirements and regulations
  • Agreed tender assumptions proven to be incorrect
  • Unforeseen ground conditions

It is vital to ensure from the onset of any building project that the contract covers all eventualities.

For further information on building contracts contact David or go to and watch David’s video guide to variations in contracts.