Or-Equal Material Substitutions

Kamine Law PC is a tireless advocate for contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, and owners. We are constantly pursing legislation that supports positive changes in the construction industry. Currently in the state of California, public agencies are obligated to allow “or-equal” material substitutions. These substitutions are an excellent way to reduce the costs in a construction project. Furthermore, or-equal substitutions limit the scheduling delays that can occur when there are supply issues for a specific construction material, they promote healthy competition, and they prevent the corruption that may result when contracts are able to specify use of a brand name product.

Defining Or-Equal Material Substitutions

As often happens in construction law, an idea which seems simple can, in fact, require a great deal of interpretation. In the case of or-equal material substitutions, there are laws determining what is considered equal. Legally, the substitute must function as well as the specified equipment in all essential aspects. Unfortunately, construction contract disputes often occur when a party is displeased with the substitution. Or-equal substitutions can also lead to increased material supply costs that are frequently disputed.

In an additional complication, there are exceptions to the rule and situations when the mandatory or-equal material substitutions do not apply. Under certain circumstances, a “sole source” or specific product may be requested. Construction bids and contracts can use sole sourcing for only four reasons:

1. to conduct a field test or experiment of the product
2. to match existing products in use on the particular public work
3. to obtain a product that is only available from one source
4. to respond to an emergency

Or-Equal Material Substitution Resource

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to defend a case of sole sourcing, or where an or-equal substitution needs to be contested, our construction law firm can assist you. Let our firm help you understand the or-equal material requirements as they pertain to your company’s bids, proposals, and materials supplied. If the or-equal requirements have led to a contract dispute over the materials supplied for a project, our construction attorneys can help you navigate through the situation and protect your interests, either through arbitration or litigation.

Feel free to visit our firm’s resources and publications section to read our article, California Or-Equal Requirements. Kamine Law PC always strives to provide you with the best legal advice and to promote resources that can help clarify industry issues for construction professionals at all levels.