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The Department of Administrative Services (DAS), Office of School Construction Grants recently revised their interpretation of the “6-month rule” with respect to change orders for school construction costs.
The 6 month rule is found in CGS Section 10-286(b)(3)(d), which as drafted provides a layer of ambiguity by stating “not later than six months after the date of such issuance...in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner of Administer Services”. Prior interpretations provided greater flexibility in regards to change orders, however the new interpretation by DAS is extremely restrictive.
Specifically, through its authority from “in a manner prescribed”, DAS has amended the trigger date for the 6 month rule to the “...the date the authorizing signature was obtained by the trade contractor from the GC or CM for the work to be performed, or the date the trade contractor initiates performance of the change order work, whichever comes first...” This can be interpreted to mean that a change order can be initiated once discussion of the performance of the order has taken place.
Further more problematic, this change is being implemented without grandfathering current prjects. In doing so, this new interpretation would allow the State to disqualify many pending and future change orders. The impact of this would have dire consequences for any outstanding school construction projects.