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Texas Court of Appeals Holds That Owner's Change to Contractor's Means and Methods Resulted in a 'Breach,' Instead of a 'Change' Subject to the Changes Clause

Port of Houston Auth. of Harris Cnty. v. Zachry Constr. Corp., 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 13306 (Tex. App. Houston 14th Dist. Dec. 15, 2016)

Author: Robert A. Gallagher

2/16/2017

Read the full post at Constructlaw

Texas Court of Appeals Holds That Owner's Change to Contractor's Means and Methods Resulted in a 'Breach,' Instead of a 'Change' Subject to the Changes Clause

This contract dispute dates back to 2004, when the Port of Houston Authority contracted with Zachry Construction to build a shipping wharf in Harris County, Texas. Zachry’s bid proposed, as part of its means and methods, building the wharf “in the dry” by using a frozen earthen wall to seal out water from the construction area. Several months into the project the Port Authority decided to extend the wharf. Zachry again proposed freeze-wall technology for the extension, and the parties entered into a change order.

The Port Authority then refused to approve Zachry’s frozen wall design, and directed Zachry to either present an alternative design or alternate means of mitigating risk. Unable to identify a viable alternative design, Zachry switched from the frozen wall design and completed the construction “in the wet.”