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Ever find yourself in a sticky ethical situation? Mr. Ethics has your back! Mr. Ethics is here to take your questions and give you his input on how to best deal with your situation. Have a question for Mr. Ethics? Send it to and he may respond to you here on the Mr. Ethics Blog.


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Change Order Blocked

Posted By Mr. Ethics, Monday, June 16, 2014
Updated: Monday, June 9, 2014

Dear Mr. Ethics,


The lead project designer wants us to turn over all documents related to a change order request we have submitted.  The designer even wants our original bid sheets and profit calculations and bids from our subs.  The architect thinks the change order work was accounted for in our bid and we have enough profit margin in the project to cover it.  The architect is refusing to review our change order until we turn over those documents.  What should we do?


Change Order Blocked


Dear Blocked,


It is time for you to go directly to the owner and advise them of your situation.  The architect’s position is not justified.  Your bid documents, unless subject to a state disclosure law, are privileged.  What your profit margin is privileged.  The architect is acting unreasonable and unethical.  You should also review your agreement because the architect may also be in breach of its obligations. Only a court or arbitrator should be able to order you to turn over documents such as the ones you describe.


Mr. Ethics

Tags:  Bids  Change Orders  Mr. Ethics 

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Subcontractor Bids

Posted By Mr. Ethics, Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dear Mr. Ethics,

We have a subcontractor that has provided us with a bid that left out a couple of key design areas. We asked the subcontractor about this and expressed our concern that their bid amount does not cover this work. The subcontractor vigorously defended its bid and insists that it will complete the entire scope of its work for its bid amount if we award the contract to them. They also argued that as the lowest bidder they are due the subcontract. None of us here think they can do the work for their bid amount. Is it unethical to deny them the subcontract? What should we do?

Regards, Jim

Dear Jim,

You have acted ethically in providing the subcontractor with an opportunity to explain their bid and position with regard to same. The action you take next does not involve ethics but making a hard business decision. You do not owe the subcontractor with a contract. I would recommend that you contact counsel regarding the potential legal ramifications of having the subcontractor default during the project if you decide to award them the subcontract.

Regards, Mr. Ethics

Tags:  Bids  Mr. Ethics  Subcontractors 

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