Getting Paid For Variations

This week’s ‘Wise Up Wednesday’ is about getting paid for variations.

The lack of proper valuation and non-payment of variations is one of the greatest challenges for Specialist Sub-Contractors and it is therefore important to have a clear understanding of the contractual framework governing the instruction, execution and valuation of variations.

At some stage the work is going to change, and these changes will need to be instructed, implemented, measured, valued and paid for.

And although it’s usually the last bit that causes us to get stressed, you can smooth the path to payment by getting all the other elements right.


Standard forms of contract and sub-contract tend to define the term ‘variation’ in a similar way.  However, you need to be aware that there are a considerable number of standard forms and many different ways of dealing with variations.

And most importantly Main Contractors own terms, and amendments to standard Forms, will almost always be onerous. So, please take care to ensure that you are familiar with and understand the provisions in each particular contract.


At their most fundamental level, the are two essentials which you should observe when dealing with variation instructions.

  1. Check whether or not the person purporting to have authority to issue variation instructions actually has authority to do so, and
  2. Comply with the particular requirements of the contract in respect to instructions.

It is not uncommon for various parties to assume that they have authority to issue instructions when in fact they have no such authority. Check the terms of the contract and if it is not clear clarify the matter from the outset.


Variations are an opportunity for the Specialist Sub-Contractor to maximise his financial return from the project.

Please remember the old adage “if you don’t ask you don’t get” and in practice variations should be valued by the Specialist Sub-Contractor.

You need to submit details as soon as possible after the variation arises. This will avoid situations where the person commissioning the work has not been properly advised as to the increased value that has arisen because of the changes he has instigated and may have insufficient funds to pay for them.


You need to know how to put all this together to make sure you get paid, and protect your company’s financial well being.

So, please come  and discover the Secret Keys To Minimise Risk and Maximise Profit (including those from variations), that we have been putting into practice on behalf of Specialist Subcontractors for the last 27 years.

And they’re are being revealed at our March events;

“Understand Your Contract to Minimise Risk and Maximise Profit”

“Introduction To Contractual Awareness and Using JCT Subcontracts”

WHEN/WHERE IS IT? The dates and fast access venues are as follows;

15 March – Oulton HallLeeds close to M1 and M62

22 March – The Nottingham BelfryNottingham close to M1 J26

29 March – The Village HotelCoventry close to M6 and M40


We will be unlocking the Secrets To Getting Paid on time every time in a straightforward down to earth easy to follow style using real life examples.

Here’s what your fellow Subcontractors said about our last event;

“Easily digestible information delivered in an interesting and easy to understand format”

“Very detailed and informative”

“Very informative and well delivered”

“We were struggling to get paid; not any longer!”


  • Session 1 – Contract Formation
  • Session 2 – Introduction to JCT Contracts and Construction Act
  • Session 3 – Time, Notices and Delay and Disruption
  • Session 4 – Instructions, Variations and Maximising Return
  • Session 5 – Getting Paid On Time and the Right Amount
  • Session 6 – Resolving Conflicts and Disputes
  • Session 7 – Putting It All Together

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? This is exclusively for Specialist Contractors and is designed specifically to provide a broad appeal for Specialist Contractors staff who work with contracts which includes;

  • Estimators,
  • Contracts Managers;
  • Project Managers;
  • Commercial Managers,
  • Quantity Surveyors,
  • Credit Controllers and
  • Directors

WHAT WILL WE GET OUT OF IT? The Secrets To Getting Paid! Specialist Contractors don’t get paid because they don’t understand the contract or don’t apply it when they should. We will reveal all you need to know to enable you to understand the fundamentals of those subcontracts, and how to get paid.

WHAT DOES IT COST? You can book now for preferential discounts and rates – but be quick to ensure you receive your Early Booking Discount!

Book within the next few days and instead of paying £350, you can pay just £315.00 saving you 10% off the standard price.

Book two or more places and you can pay just £280 each saving you 20% off the standard price.

Special rates apply for our Buddies (members) – please ask Tanya for details.

All rates are subject to VAT 

Booking couldn’t be simpler, just contact Tanya directly on 01773 712116 or to confirm your places and she will take care of the rest. She is brilliant!

But hurry our last round of seminars sold out very quickly. We look forward to seeing you there.


Wise Up Wednesday: Specialist Contractor Payment Nightmares….

No apologies…

This week’s “Wise Up Wednesday” is a very brief one about avoiding Payment Nightmares…

Yes I keep banging on about it…

And I make no apologies for doing so because getting paid is tough, and it’s going to get tougher.

And if you think any of the hair brained government schemes being talked about in certain areas of the construction press are going to make a blind bit of difference then, I’m sorry but you are not living in the real world!

And I’m not making any apology for saying that either…


What’s Really Happening?

Some of the commentators say construction is still on the up, some say the bubble has burst.

I say wake up and smell the coffee!

Late payment is on the up and that’s a fact; according to credit experts Euler Hermes who found that the number of delayed payments in construction has grown by 27 per cent year on year.

Specialist Contractors are still suffering from late payment on private and public sector projects despite an upturn in workload.

According to the research payment delays were particularly bad in the last quarter of the year, with the three months to December seeing 12 per cent more late payments than July to September.

And it’s no surprise when many of the major Contractors are reporting huge losses. They are so desperate to preserve cash that they will resort to all sorts of underhand tactics to hang on to your money! These include;


  • “Underpayment without reason”
  • “Pay when paid and if certified”
  • “Spurious contra charges with no prior notice and no detail”
  • “Unpaid applications in excess of 6 months”
  • “Contractors ignore you, even after repeated threats of legal action”
  • “Even large contractors who used to pay on time hold onto payments”
  • “Contractors use you to bankroll the contract”
  • “They screw you to maintain their margins”
  • “Contractors that are in adversarial mode from day one!”
  • “CIS deducted incorrectly and not paid back”

Every single day we see good hard working Specialist Contractors like you suffering at the hands of the non-paying, arrogant, bully boy Contractors!


So What’s To Be Done About It?

If Specialist Contractors are ever going to receive the returns that your hard work and efforts deserve, effective action needs to be taken at grass roots level.

So please;

  • come and join the debate with 2,178 Specialist Contractors in our FREE LinkedIn Group: FREE LinkedIn Group
  • already in the group? Then please spread the word to every other Specialist Contractor you know and forward this email to them
  • in a Trade association? Why not get in touch and see how we can link up
  • think more should be being done or got some ideas? Please get in touch
  • Buddies, please make sure to use the initial free advice and free Consultancy resources at your disposal.
  • let us help you to protect and grow your business,
  • and if you’re not yet a member why not email us at for details?


Because, together we can make a real difference!

I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday and that it gave you some food for thought.

If you need any help with any of your business issues, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call on 01773 712116.