Chapter 8: Disputes and Claims


Section 1: Disputes

A dispute is a disagreement between the Department and contractor on a contract issue. Only the prime contractor may submit disputes. Make every effort, within the provisions of the contract, to resolve disputes at the lowest level possible. Resolution of problems as they occur generally provides the lowest cost and least time-consuming solution.

Administer highway construction contracts equitably. Promote a cooperative attitude consistent with ethical standards for contractual relationships; however, do not yield to requests from contractors solely to avoid claims.

In administering the contract, do not:

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Partnering and Issue Escalation

Analyze issues or situations carefully and in a timely manner to determine if they are within the scope of the contract, or require more or less work than called for in the contract.

Resolution of a dispute may be accomplished through a change order (CO) or a supplemental agreement (SA). For significant deviations from the contract, negotiate COs in accordance with Chapter 7, Section 1. Use a SA to settle disputes not associated with the scope of work, in accordance with Chapter 7, Section 4. Claims may be settled as a dispute up until the time of the Contract Claims Committee (CCC) meeting, as described in the following section.

Follow the escalation ladder established at the preconstruction meeting when escalating and resolving disputes. At the District's request, the Construction Division (CST) will provide a recommendation for resolution of the matter in compliance with the contract, but the course of action is at the District’s discretion. Disputes end with the District Engineer (DE). Notify the contractor in writing of the final decision.

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Appeal of Disputes

The contractor may not request an appeal of the District’s final decision but may file a claim as described in the next section.

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