City of Joplin proposes new rules for “change of orders”

City of Joplin proposes new rules for “change of orders”

Joplin’s City Council will soon vote on some proposed new guidelines for construction projects. The guidelines are for changes that sometimes occur, and extra money that’s needed, during those construction projects.

The changes that sometimes occur during a construction project are called change of orders. According to Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm, the State of Missouri doesn’t have many rules about change of orders. Nonetheless, city council wants to work towards a solution to a concern brought forward by a state official.

Joplin city officials say they have the blueprint for more accountability.

“They have developed a policy they want to propose to council,” says Anselm.

Dave Smith with RE Smith Construction is happy with the proposal.

“The thing about Joplin, there’s a lot of work coming up in the near future. They have to be able to get a policy together that keeps the interest of other contractors, coming in and wanting to work with the city,” says Smith.

Lets survey how things are right now when it comes to any type of construction anywhere in the city that’s funded by taxpayer dollars. You’ve heard of Murphy’s Law, right?

“We had a situation somewhat at Mercy Park, or the park hasn’t been named yet, at 26th and McClelland. They were digging out the detention pond area and they ran into some rather large boulders,” says Anselm.

Construction projects can include work other than what has been nailed into the original contract. Workers in Joplin’s public works department usually give the go ahead themselves for the outside contractor to do that extra work. It’s called a change order, and Missouri’s state auditor didn’t like how Joplin was changing the orders.

“From the auditor’s perspective, they just indicated that there was a lack of documentation for some of those change orders that were approved by staff,” says Anselm.

The public works director wants the city manager to be more involved in the change order process, and also wants more explanations behind the change orders so that the city manager can decide whether or not he wants to approve it.

City officials and construction workers agree that this plan is much better than temporarily stopping construction to rebid work.

“We would probably move our workers off to another site,” says Smith.

It’s a gamble. Either a new construction company could submit a lower price for the work, or the whole process could just be a waste of taxpayer money.

“It costs money to move equipment off site,” says Smith.

The new change order guideline proposal is pending city council approval, and Joplin’s city council will meet this Monday for a work session to vote on this issue. To see details of the proposal, click on the included pictures. The pictures may be best viewed in a desktop web browser. We apologize.