Change orders are every contractor's nightmare. While some can be easily resolved, others end up throwing both parties into battle over the associated costs and delays.
That's why you want to do everything in your power to minimize the number of change orders you get in the first place. Here are some tips that can help you do that:
1. Carefully review the entire project with the owner.
A lot of change orders come about because owners don't spend enough time reviewing the drawings and details of the project that's about to start. Sit down with the owner of a project and go over every detail of the construction project, including the drawings from the architect. Make sure that the owner has a good grasp of what the finished project will look like and try to iron out any major changes before you get started.
2. Make certain that you discuss building materials.
Do you know exactly what materials the owner wants in a project? Does the owner? You need to discuss all the materials you intend to use and make sure that the owner is in agreement with your choices. You also need to have an agreement in place that will govern what happens if a material suddenly becomes unavailable or doubles in price. Not having that particular issue addressed in your contract can be a disaster.
3. Discuss the process for change orders and potential penalties.
How are change orders supposed to be submitted? What happens if you have to rip out any work that's already completed by the time the owner decides on a change? Make sure that your contract clearly discusses the process for handling a change order -- and what will happen if a change order results in major expenses or delays.
Despite your efforts, there's no guarantee you won't end up in court in a dispute over a change order (or multiple change orders). If that happens, make certain that you have an experienced attorney protecting your rights throughout the process. Please visit our law firm's page for more information.