How to Reduce and Avoid Change Orders in Construction?

You must have heard this a lot, “change orders are very common in the construction industry.” Truth cannot be far from it. Change orders are prevalent in the construction sector. If not processed effectively, it can derail your project schedule and costs and cause excessive delays and conflicts within your project timeline and parties.

Not all change orders are impossible to avoid. They are potentially damaging as it leads to issues like budget overruns, costs, and extended deadlines. Hence they need to be addressed with caution and diligence. The change order is a bitter reality in the construction sector, but these changes can be kept to a minimum level through proper coordination from designing to the delivery of the project.

Top 5 Simple Tips to Reduce And Avoid Change Orders in Construction

Here are the top five tips to help you avoid and reduce change orders during your construction project and ensure successful delivery on time.

1. Define the Scope of the Project

One of the best and most effective ways to avoid and reduce change orders in your project is to be as clear as possible in all aspects of construction work. This includes contracts, documents, designs, specifications, and scope. Therefore, your first task to avoid change order should be to define a crystal clear scope of the project. It includes covering every aspect of the project from everyone’s point of view, including the client, contractor, and subcontractors.

Projects that lack a defined scope often suffer from delays and change orders, especially in case of lack of coordination and mismanagement. Therefore, save yourself the trouble and consult a construction delay expert witness as soon as you see the first sign of change orders causing delays and performance issues in your project. These changes can lead to lengthy and costly delays ending up in disputes.

2. Create a Detailed Project Design

Before starting construction work, make sure to read your contract and review all the designs and specifications. It will ensure that the documents include all sufficient details about each and every aspect of the project. If you don’t have detailed project design and drawings, you will end up a lot of change orders during the project.

For example, your design specifications don’t include details about the material required, like fabric, window glass, and flooring, etc. In such cases, you will have to accommodate a change order requesting other materials, thus increasing project duration and costs. Therefore, avoid change orders by starting the project only when you have access to complete design with all the specifications.

3. Negotiate and Communicate with all the Parties

In order to increase collaboration with all the parties and avoid change orders, it is crucial for you to establish good, open communication and regular face-to-face meetings with your team and the clients. It will make sure everyone is on the same page, and there is no miscommunication, and no one is kept in the dark, which will help you avoid change orders later in the construction project.

Make sure your clients are regularly updated on the construction project processes and milestones so they can decide early on if they need changes in the work. Also, ensure regular meetings with your team members every day before starting work, so they know what is expected of them and increase their productivity. It will help you reduce the likelihood of a change order during the project.

4. Establish a Quality Control System

Another simple and easy way to avoid and reduce change orders in the construction project is to establish a quality control system ahead of time. The quality control system should overlook all stages of work and ensure high quality throughout the project. Quality control shouldn’t be limited to the worksite only. It should also incorporate other factors like design, architecture, material supply, finishing, etc. to ensure the quality of the overall project.

Under the quality control system, you will have regular testing and project inspection at each stage so you can identify potential issues early on. This will not only help in avoiding and reducing change orders but also help you deliver a successful, high-quality project to your clients. Quality control and regular testing also help reduce overall project costs and expenses.

5. Have a Change Order Management Process in Place

Change orders are most prevalent in the construction industry, which means that you will come across situations when you wouldn’t be able to avoid change orders in your project. In such cases, where you cannot avoid changes. It is essential to have a change order management process in place to accommodate certain changes and ensure your project success.

Change orders have significant impacts on project duration and cost. Some of these factors include late decision making, financial problems, and even conflicts and construction claims. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a construction claim management consultant when you see the first signs of a change order before it starts affecting your entire project. Also, make sure you have a change management process in place. 

Protect Your Project From Change Orders!

Change orders may look scary. But as you can see from above that there are several ways to avoid and reduce them in your construction projects. They aren’t always bad, and if appropriately handled with diligence, these changes may lead to higher profits. Therefore, have a change order management process in place to accommodate changes in your projects and deliver successful construction projects to your clients. Also, follow these simple tips to reduce or avoid “undesirable” change orders during construction.