The Truth about Change Orders

 There is a misconception that Builders make all their money off of Change Orders, but speaking for myself, and I believe a lot of other Builders, I’d like to set the record straight: Nobody likes Change Orders.

While there are certainly cases where a Builder’s profitability on a project may have increased from Change Orders, I would bet that the people behind the process did not enjoy it. Change Orders can be a distraction. Every time a Change Order comes up that alters work currently taking place or about to take place, that means that those affected need to stop what they’re doing and come up with a new plan. If it only happens a couple of times, it’s probably not a big deal, but as the quantity of Change Orders increase, this constant switching and re-planning can become a real productivity loss.

 Construction projects are complex and the trades are very interrelated. It usually takes a great deal of time to administer Change Orders; from rummaging through multiple emails of discussions with the Clients, distributing the scope of changes to the various trades and vendors, requesting pricing, and then tracking all of it to ensure responses and estimates are collected, approved, and scheduled. If the requested changes happen to occur during periods of heavy workloads of both the Builder and/or Subcontractors, then the Change Orders can actually pose a risk of losing time and money, instead of gaining profit.


The Reality of Change Orders:

In a perfect world, all designs would be final and all selections and decisions would be finalized before a project breaks ground. We understand that this is not always possible, though, and we are always willing to accommodate our Clients when the occasion might arise where they desire to make changes after the project is underway. What we would like to impart to Clients about Change Orders is that they are not always profitable for us, and they are not always cost effective for Clients. So we urge our Clients to thoroughly think-through and understand the design before finalizing the plans and to have as many of the products and finishes selected in the beginning in order to minimize Change Orders during the construction.




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