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County: Some work lacked consent

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Commissioners deny contractor’s change order requests

As work on the Denton County Administrative Complex project winds down, the contractors and county officials are not seeing eye to eye on some of the construction work that has been done.

Commissioners recently rejected change order requests from the contractor, Hunt Construction, on the grounds that the work was done without the county’s consent.

“They submit a claim to us, we review it, write a rejection letter, then Commissioners Court has a final say,” said Michael Tubiolo, the county’s construction manager. “If [Hunt] were to dispute any further, they would have to take up some civil suit. But since we feel it is unjustified, we don’t see a lot of risk with that.”

What Hunt was looking for was payment for about 25 jobs done as part of the overall work on the $29 million administrative complex. Oftentimes when this happens, Tubiolo said the change orders are approved.

“Each one is a little different case,” he said. “Most of the time you can negotiate out a price that is agreeable to both parties. It’s not black and white; there is usually some gray.”

Hunt Construction officials declined to comment.

Tubiolo said Hunt was acting on behalf of a subcontractor, and while about four change requests were for Hunt as the general contractor, the others were from the subcontractor.

He said he had not been on a project before with as many change order requests as this one.

An example of one of the change orders he recalled was concrete versus drywall.

Plans called for concrete block used for the walls going up to the underside of the roof. The contractor asked to use drywall for the top 6 to 8 feet of the wall since it was easier.

County officials said OK. But the contractor came back with a change order request that was more than the planned amount.

“It’s an easier application; it should cost less,” Tubiolo said. “If anything, it should be a credit.”

Despite the change order issue, Tubiolo said the contract can and will be closed out within the next six weeks or so.

“As far as we are concerned it’s a dead issue, so it would be up to them if they wanted to bring it up in a different manner,” he said.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.