As a general contractor, if I sign a contract that requires me to submit a “Statement of Claim” form within a specific time or waive my claim, is that enforceable? Can I include a similar requirement and form in my subcontracts to make my subcontractors do the same thing? The answer may significantly impact how you manage claims both upstream and downstream.
Standardized “Statement of Claim” forms are commonly used on commercial construction projects to provide notice of claims for additional cost and/or additional time on a project and are enforceable. See e.g., Peterman Plumbing and Heating, Inc. v. Board of Education Pickerington Local School District, 2010-Ohio-6587, ¶¶23-26 (5th Dist.). Understanding how these forms work (and when they are required) can significantly impact the ability to recover for claims.
- The Contract Documents control. To know whether a standard “Statement of Claim” form is required on your Project, you need to look to the contract documents to determine whether such a form must be completed as a part of the submission of a claim for additional cost and/or time on the project.
- Know the timing requirements. If the Contract Documents require that a standard “Statement of Claim” form be used when submitting claims, the Contract Documents most likely require that the form be submitted within a certain number of days of discovering the claim. Failure to submit a claim within the required time limits can result in the claim not being valid.
- Know what information must be provided. When submitting or reviewing a submission on a standard “Statement of Claim” form, make sure that all of the required information is present. If the claim is for additional cost, is the form accompanied by the required backup information to substantiate the additional cost? If the claim is for an increase in the contract time, has a schedule analysis been provided with the claim? Again, failure to include all of the necessary information with the claim form can result in all or part of the claim being denied.
Using a standard form for claims on a construction project can be beneficial for owners, general contractors, and subcontractors by ensuring that all of the parties are on the same page and that claims are being passed up the chain to the proper parties. By using these standard forms, contractors and subcontractors can ensure compliance with the claim provisions of the Contract Documents, and owners can ensure that they are being put on notice of claims on the project.