What Is a Change Order?

If you have a construction project coming up, you’ll probably work with a team of professional contractors. Because of this, there’s a lot of jargon that could be thrown around. One term you may hear is called a change order. What is a change order, and how might this impact your project? Learn more about the basics of change orders below.

An Overview of a Change Order: What Does This Mean?

A change order is an industry term that refers to an amendment made to a construction contract. Before you start a residential or commercial project, you have to have a contract in place. This contract will specify the scope of the project, when the project is going to be completed, and what materials are going to be required. This contract should also specify the price. If something changes during the course of the contract, a change order has to be added, amending the contract.

Examples of Change Orders: A Few Common Ones

There are several common reasons why a change order might be requested. These include:

  • Perhaps the owner would like to move the location of a specific wall to accommodate a design element
  • Maybe your window has to be added to a specific wall, and this was not included in the original plans
  • Perhaps the staircase was originally going to be included, and there’s no longer any room

These are just a few comment examples of change orders.

Why Do Change Orders Exist?

Change orders are required because of the dynamic nature of construction projects. It’s simply not possible to anticipate every possible change when writing the original document. Mistakes, unforeseen obstacles, and ambiguities in plans may necessitate change orders that amend the original contract. This is important for keeping costs to a minimum for the contractor and the client.

Understand How To Communicate With Your Contractor

In the end, communication is essential between contractors and clients. You need to understand exactly what your contractor is doing and why he or she is doing it. That way, if changes have to be made to the project, you’ll not be blindsided by them. If you feel like something has to change during the project, discuss this with your contractor as early as possible. That way, it’s possible to avoid delays and unnecessary price increases.

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