Are Change Orders an Inevitable Occurrence?

There’s nothing more frustrating and stressful than change orders during construction projects. Unfortunately, they happen – resulting in surprise delays, high stress, and more often than not, increased costs. Whether it’s an error, owner request, or an unforeseen condition, change orders are a part of working in the construction industry – but they’re not always inevitable.

In fact, many change orders can be avoided by having better oversight, processes, and tools in place. Let’s start by taking a look at the common causes of change orders in construction projects:

  • Owner requests due to financial difficulties, change of plans or change of schedule
  • Conflict between the contractor and the owner
  • Ill-defined scope of work for the contractor
  • Substitution of procedures and/or materials
  • Unavailability of skills and/or equipment
  • Unexpected weather conditions or safety considerations
  • Evolving government regulations

How To Avoid Change Orders During Construction Projects

What Happens When a Change Order During a Construction Project Can’t Be Avoided?

When a change order during a construction project can’t be avoided, the impact can be minimized, as long as you follow the proper protocol. Naturally, it all starts with having a change order form that’s thorough and encompasses:

  1. A revised scope of work
  2. A new quote and/or price
  3. A revised contract that includes any changes to the delivery schedule
  4. A signature from the contractor and the owner

The change order form should avoid any conflicting language and/or clauses regarding the change order. This will ensure you’re able to work efficiently from this point forward without any issues arising. Next, it’s time to review all of the plans and specifications involved with the updated contract. Make sure you’re reviewing all possible issues that may arise, such as:

  • Material shortages
  • Labor shortages
  • Financial shortages
  • Weather conditions
  • And more

Finally, document absolutely everything along the way. Be sure to share all documentation with the owner and get a signature to cover costs and any other negotiated terms throughout the change order.

What Can Be Done to Avoid Change Orders?

There are many ways to minimize the occurrence of change orders resulting from a lack of oversight, processes, and tools. Here are a few tips:

Use A Project Tracking System

A project tracking system will drastically improve your day-to-day responsibilities – giving you the ability to automate each step of the project so you’re always ensuring accountability on both sides.

Identify Potential Risks Right Away

Before you begin any work, identify potential risks that may arise and continue to identify potential risks as you go through the project. This may include weather conditions, lack of materials, and more.

Take Advantage Of The Cloud

Collaboration is key to any successful construction project. If you’re working separately from other team members and not communicating with them and the owner on a regular basis, the project will struggle. The cloud gives you any time, anywhere access to keep things moving.

Meet Face-To-Face Whenever Possible

Although the cloud is a great way to keep everyone connected, regardless of device or location, it’s important to meet face-to-face whenever possible to clear up any sort of misunderstandings, discuss challenges, and overall, ensure a more successful project.

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Nick Hess

Nick Hess is an authority for IT services in Portland, OR. Nick's team at SureTec IT has helped numerous companies with their day-to-day IT service needs. Nick also has years of experience with Google G Suite, Microsoft 365, and business VoIP Services.

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