Change orders can derail your carefully crafted budget and cause delays and conflicts within your project schedule.
It may be impossible to avoid all change orders on your construction projects, but there are several simple things you can do to reduce the number of disruptions you have to manage. In this blog post, we’ll look at five tips you can use to avoid change orders and reduce project costs.
If your contract documents don’t include sufficient details about materials, you’ll end up with change orders to take care of the ambiguity. For example, failure to include the underlying fabric in pavement construction will mean that a change order has to remedy the exclusion.
You can avoid change orders like this by starting the project with a complete design. More details in the design will mean that there’s a much smaller chance of change orders once construction has commenced. Using advanced estimating software like Cubit will help you to make sure you’re working from accurate estimates from the start.
While cloud-based construction software has become ubiquitous and extremely helpful in the industry, it’s still important to meet face-to-face regularly with your team. These in-person interactions can help to clear up miscommunications and keep everyone on the same page.
Try establishing quick meetings at the beginning of each workday to give everyone an update on the construction process. Encourage team members to ask questions or share information that will help everyone to have a productive workday. You’ll be able to clear up instructions that were misinterpreted and reduce the likelihood of change orders.
It seems counterintuitive to establish a change order process up front if you’re trying to avoid them, but the process can actually prevent some change orders from happening.
If you have a document in your contract that establishes the process for initiating, authorising, performing and paying for change order work, you can prevent some unauthorised change orders from being requested. Additionally, with the process (including the outlined payment) for change orders can be a deterrent, especially when the change orders include unnecessary requests.
Problems often arise when plans and specifications prepared by independent disciplines (plumbing, civil engineering, HVAC, etc.) are not managed and coordinated. If construction documents are completed and submitted without considering other disciplines and their documents, you put yourself at risk for change orders.
For instance, the plumbing plans may show a line coming out of the building without specifying horizontal and vertical locations. If the civil engineer doesn’t have access to these plans, the site plans will probably not include the necessary drain connections to the drainage system, necessitating a change order.
Fix this problem and avoid change orders by coordinating the design performed by all the construction disciplines. Use software to share and coordinate these designs and to find any problems or discrepancies.
Our final tip for avoiding change orders and reducing costs is to establish a quality control process for all stages and levels of the project. Your quality control shouldn’t just begin on the job site; it should also include processes for ensuring quality during your design and technical documentation phases.
By including testing and inspection at every stage and level of your project, you can catch problems early and reduce the instance of change orders later on. It also helps to reduce costs by minimising the likelihood that you’ll have to go back and fix problems in later phases of the project.
As you can see, there are several things you can do to avoid change orders and reduce costs in your construction projects. For more information about how software can help, or to get a free trial of Cubit, get in touch with us today.By David Cartwright
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