During the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) MEP Innovation Conference this year, eSUB brought together industry leaders to discuss managing change orders without Excel for faster workflows. Here are the highlights.
Managing change orders with spreadsheets is inefficient, creates silos and bottlenecks, and results in errors – particularly when each team member tracks separate aspects of a project in disparate systems. Without a consolidated system for tracking and reporting, inconsistent paper workflows create profit fade and pose a barrier to scaling your business.
In the MCAA session panel on the topic, eSUB’s Rob McKinney joined industry veterans from the Andy J. Egan Company and Geauga Mechanical to discuss how construction project managers can use software that tracks change orders more efficiently and cohesively.
Change is Inevitable – How You Track It, Matters
As any construction subcontractor can attest, change orders are exceedingly common. Here are just a few events that may lead to a change:
- Owner-driven scope changes
- Changes in the methods of performance, materials or equipment
- Changes that modify the planned sequence
- Differing site conditions
- Constructability issues
- Changes in performance specifications
Tracking change orders in spreadsheets creates a lack of consistency. A painful example of this occurs when different project managers utilize different labor tables to estimate the cost of changes. With multiple rate tables, creating standard line items becomes difficult, further slowing the process.
Additional challenges include following the proper – and often customer-specific – change order requirements for each job, managing the documentation for change orders, and tracking them consistently internally so that they can be achieved efficiently – and paid for.
Best Practices for Change Orders
To avoid problems in change order submissions, indirect costs that are missed, miscommunication between departments, and more, subcontractors can utilize cloud-based software to streamline project management efforts.
Construction project management software such as eSUB CLOUD provides consistent change order entry, allowing subcontractors to share specific information and updates with the client. With the Field Works Mobile App, construction project managers can add field notes, update documents, and communicate with team members and customers – all from the field.
Compared to spreadsheets such as Excel, eSUB CLOUD offers 360 visibility from anywhere, allowing project managers to:
- Prepare their own change orders
- Improve estimation processes to include indirect costs
- Add field notes with photo documentation of issues in the field
- Set reminders for follow-up on pending change orders