Planning for a new commercial construction project takes hours and hours of creating the perfect scope of work. What happens when you want changes to the original scope of a project? It’s called a change order. Depending on the type of change order, it can be very simple or can involve multiple areas of the project. After all, it’s just a request to do something different than planned. However, change orders can have serious consequences for your total commercial construction cost. Whether you’re remodeling or dealing with new construction, a change order can throw a wrench into the works. They disrupt the project’s flow and cost you time and money.
Minimizing the need for change orders is vital if you want to keep your project on time and on budget. How do you do it? Identify the primary causes of change orders and take steps to manage them. What should you watch out for?
Inadequate Preconstruction Planning
You may have heard the old saying that “haste makes waste.” When it comes to commercial construction, there’s something to it. Jumping into a project without proper preconstruction planning has set the stage for many a change order. In many cases, an unusually low commercial construction estimate is a sign that things are missing from the plans. Whether it’s spurred by a desire to win the contract, inexperience or oversight, it’s likely to cause problems. To avoid this issue, don’t let pricing be your deciding factor. Instead, opt for an experienced contractor with a reputation for quality. They understand that thorough preconstruction planning is crucial to getting the job done right.
Unforeseeable Structural Conditions
There’s an inherent element of unpredictability in construction. Surprises do happen, and dealing with them often requires change orders. However, you can limit unpleasant surprises by conducting a detailed site analysis and a feasibility study before you put the project out to bid. These reports offer invaluable data for preconstruction planning. This results in better contingency planning.
When remodeling or new construction occurs in a space that is leased or rented, it’s not unusual for the owner to have their own concerns. If these concerns are not addressed until work starts, change orders may be necessary. If you want to keep your building construction cost down by avoiding a change order, keep the property owner in the loop during design and preconstruction.
There’s generally a learning curve with new experiences. If you’re not used to blueprints and construction drawings, envisioning what they represent can be tough. These misunderstandings can lead to a desire for modifications as the plans become reality. To limit this issue, and a pending change order or two, ask questions before building begins. Request to “see” the final product via drawings, models or virtual reality applications. Seeing similar projects that have already been completed can also be helpful.
Construction is complex. Factors like labor, materials, scheduling, building codes and other issues have to be juggled. Inevitably, errors will sometimes happen. Mistakes in the drawings, misinterpretations of building codes, faulty specifications and material mishaps can all result in delays and change orders. It is impossible to completely rule out the chance of an error. However, working with an experienced commercial construction contractor that excels at communication and maintains a firm grasp on the details will decrease the possibility of a change order for your commercial construction project.
At CBF Contracting, we know that a commercial construction project’s success hinges on superior quality, accurate drawings, efficient scheduling and an accurate budget. How can we help you with your next project? Contact us today at 814-745-3000 to request an estimate.