In many instances, the claim process has become impersonal, formal, and complex. But it doesn't have to be. If you are entitled to collect for extras and you stick to the basics, keeping the claim simple, you have a good chance to collect the amount due without going to war--even in today's litigious atmosphere.

The idea is to resolve claims according to the rules (contract provisions) so they don't degenerate into disputes. Generally, if you prepare and present your claim properly, showing your legal right to the amount due, there's a good chance you'll get what you're entitled to--not necessarily without argument, but without formal dispute.


You must lay down a paper trail to back your claim. Show what you relied on when you estimated the job: scope, complexity, and timing; how things were changed; and why you are entitled to more time, money, or both. To show where delays occurred and how they affected your work, you must have a schedule. Use this schedule as a yardstick against which you measure how any schedule changes or delays affect your work.


Remember the purpose of the claim when you prepare it. The idea is to get what you're entitled to--not to prove that someone is wrong or an idiot. Stay away from personality issues and stick to the facts. Follow the procedures spelled out in the contract--exactly--and back up all your contentions with documents.