: In construction, a cardinal change is defined as a change in which “the purpose of the original agreement has been frustrated or made impossible by the extent of the requested change.” The contractor is being directed to perform a significant task that was not a part of the original agreement without any assurance that they will be compensated. Also, the change is beyond the scope of the original requirement.
When applying the test of whether a change is a cardinal change, three situations should be present:
- A significant increase in the amount of work that needs to be completed
- A significant alteration to the type of work that that needs to be completed
- A significant change in project costs
Another question asked in cardinal change determination is "would this change be considered beyond the intent of the contract requirements?" If we are talking about dust control; i.e hosing down rubble during construction or demolition, it is not in the realm of a cardinal change.
Whether the dust control requirement was in the original contract or not, the steps to add it is a bilateral mod.