How to Avoid Change Orders
Unexpected changes during a construction project can quickly derail the project and cause high stress on the job site. Unfortunately, change orders are an obstacle that everyone in construction has to deal with at some point. The term “change order” is a technical term for an amendment to a construction contract. They often cause surprise delays and increased costs which can cause frustration among everyone on the construction team. These change orders are often due to unforeseen conditions, errors, or owner requests. While some change orders are inevitable, there are others that you can avoid if you take the right steps.
Here are a few steps you can take to avoid costly change orders.
Increase collaboration & communication
Collaboration and communication are key to any successful construction project. Change orders can often occur because of lack of communication and miscommunication. Rather than keeping project team separate, have them work together when possible. Frequent communication helps maintain a clear line of communication and helps avoid problems that could turn into costly change orders. Consider using a cloud-based construction software, such as eSUB, to streamline this communication and collaboration process. Cloud-based software gives you instant communication and access to documents in real time. The faster and easier you can communicate, the less likely you’ll run into unnecessary change orders later on!
Use face-to-face conferences
Although cloud-based construction software is a great communication tool in avoiding change orders, face-to-face conferences are important as well! Try implementing quick meetings at the beginning of each day with everyone working on the construction process. This gives everyone a chance to clear up anything that may have gotten misinterpreted and keeps everyone on the same page. This not only reduces the likelihood of change order but also increases team morale!
Identify risks early on
The construction process comes with all kinds of risk. An important step in avoiding change orders is planning ahead and identifying any possible risks early on. It is also important that the risk management process continues over the course of the project as things change. This means you must constantly reevaluate risks on a daily basis.
Some of these different risks in construction include:
— Monetary risks – Possible economic changes, rising interest rates, inflation, declining sales and supply price fluctuations that may occur during a project.
— Scheduling and contractual risks – Determining the amount of time a task will take to execute and the possible consequences that may occur if these tasks take longer than expected, i.e. a project not being completed on time.
— Weather risks – Bad weather such as floods, earthquakes, and rain that may delay projects or damage construction sites.
— Occupational risks – Injuries or fatalities that may occur due to employee actions, equipment used, weather, etc.
— Technical risks – Inadequate or bad company policies, underestimating or the amount of time and resources you need, etc.
— Project risks: Inadequate or bad company policies, underestimating or the amount of time and resources you need, etc.
By understanding, identifying and preparing for risks, you can decide which risks are most pertinent to your project, helping you to avoid any construction claims down the line. Do your research!
Although construction change orders can be quite frequent during the course of a project, following these steps can help decrease the likelihood of running into any unnecessary ones.