What is the difference between Variations and Claims in construction projects? Variation is a change in quantity based on the contract quantity, while Claims it is the unforeseen scope of works during tender and not in listed in BOQ.
Variations can be quantity or scope/specification based whereas a claim is usually as a result of a varition which causes a contract delay or prolongation causing the contractor loss and expense over and above the cost of the variation. Variations are as a result of a change in scope whereas claims are a result of changed conditions. There can be a lot of grey areas in between. Variations can result in a variation claim which is a different type of claim.
Usually variations lead to claim, as these changes increase quantities or delay time which means extra cost. However in a very few cases, the variation with slight influence do not affect cost. That will be just variations not turn to claim.
For example, the client wants his 2 bath taps changed from chrome to gold finish. There are still 2 of them but it becomes a variation because it is a change in the specification, and cost because gold taps are more expensive than chrome. However chrome taps are “off the shelf”, available immediatley for use but gold taps are bespoke so will take 6 weeks to get, my contract programme shows that its already for fitting the taps next week. The gold finish will take 6 weeks to arrive which is 5 weeks after they should be fitted so this situation is entitled to a claim for an extension of time of a further 5 weeks with possible loss and expense to cover costs of a 5 week programme over-run or a return visit cost in 5 weeks time when the taps have arrived and can be fitted.