Building and remodeling is often a very exacting process.  Blueprints are drawn up, timelines are created, costs are projected and contracts are signed.  But if there’s anything certain about construction projects, it’s that changes will certainly need to be made.  With any major change in a construction project comes what is known as a construction change order.  To help educate you on what you need to know about construction change orders, we’ve drawn up this little guide.


A Normal Part Of The Construction Business

There’s no need to be afraid of change orders.  They’re a normal and expected part of the construction business.  As they’re put down on paper and signed by the appropriate parties, they’re designed to ensure everyone involved understands exactly what needs to be changed.  As contract amendments, they’re considered legal documents and are created to protect everyone involved in the project.


Change Order Requests

A request for a change order can be initiated by any party with an interest in the project.  That doesn’t mean they’re automatically implemented as everyone needs to agree to the terms as well.  Change orders can be introduced to address errors or oversights that occurred during the estimation process, to make changes to the desired results or to deal with changing conditions or unforeseen circumstances.  Whenever there’s a significant adjustment to the job that needs to be made, a change order should be completed for the protection of all the involved parties.


Change Order Detail

Change orders are necessarily detailed. They need to completely spell out all the specifics of the new arrangements.  Dates, costs, materials and labour involved, details of the work needed and the signatures of the affected parties should all be included.  The exact format of the change order isn’t as important as ensuring all the necessary information is included and clearly spelled out.


Will A Change Order Increase Costs?

Although change orders often increase the cost of a project, they don’t necessarily have to – it all depends on the nature of the changes.  Because change orders are typically initiated to address extra work, costs often rise when a change order is implemented.  However, costs can also decrease if cheaper materials are sourced, parts of the project are scrapped or certain services are requested to be terminated.