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The change order – an inevitable disruption to budgets, schedules, and all predictability as we know it. Even with the best intentions of a change-free job, any industry expert understands the rarity that represents. Sometimes COs are the product of missed details, but other times, they’re unavoidable. How can commercial general contractors and construction professionals work to avoid this as much as possible? It’s not as hard as you may think.

So that valuable relationships aren’t compromised, here are a few ways to equip your next project team.

Communication Tactics:

  • So that nothing is missed, workflow and updates can be simplified through tools for distributing information and communications in an organized fashion.
  • If lines of communication are open, concerns can be expressed early-on and allowances can be held where necessary.
  • Previous experience can be used to predict potential road blocks in specialty work, and cost coverage can be applied where required.

Formal Processes:

  • Structured systems can help address the constant flow of information/requirement for frequent detail confirmation. When missed details are minimized, change orders are lightened.
  • Being proactive through a defined process is a much better, and cheaper, alternative to being reactive as complications unfold.

Application of Industry Expertise:

  • The overt labor/material costs of a project are indisputable, but there should also be consideration for the allowances not spelled out in architectural/MEP plans.
  • Any additional consideration lends itself to more reliability in nailing down variable costs.

Equipment Coverage:

  • Since equipment and material numbers are dependent on conditions of the project (what can fit on site, what is most compatible with other equipment), these estimates need to be catered to the specific requirements of the project.
  • This should be approached with caution however, as equipment with over or under-sized volume can equate to higher costs and waste.
  • With materials, the case isn’t much different—although timing is a bit more important. Material rates go up and down with price curves and delivery requirements adding complexity to the equation.