Remodeling and construction projects always begin the same way: when we agree to take on a project for a client, we estimate how much the project will cost and how long it will take to complete. If the client agrees to these terms, we get to work.
Occasionally, during the remodeling journey, we must use a change order to adjust our initial estimate or contract. A change order is a formal request to change the amount of time and/or funds that are needed to complete a project.
Change orders are necessary for a wide variety of reasons, and frequently involve a request for more funds or time. While some companies use change orders as a money-making tool—by getting clients to agree to an initial, lower estimate, then inflating the cost during the construction process—we at Euro Design Build try to avoid them as much as possible. We know that unexpected costs can ruin the experience we have pre-planned for your remodeling journey with us.
While it’s impossible to avoid change orders altogether, we strive to minimize them from the outset. We start every project with an extremely thorough estimate drawn from years of experience and expertise. We go through a detail-oriented process to predict existing conditions as accurately as possible, and rely on past experiences to ensure the design and planning process are sound. No detail is too small to consider.
We also structure our estimates to account for the unexpected. We have gone as far as to build a “Contingency Fee” into our initial construction estimates, so that the possibility of cost or time increases are addressed upfront, right in the initial documentation.
Below are four of the most common change orders that may be necessary during construction:
- UN-PLANNED CHANGE ORDER, also called “unforeseen or unexpected conditions.” These are the most stressful change orders for everyone involved. They involve changes in costs or time that are impossible to predict before the project begins. For example, imagine we are working to relocate existing plumbing lines through a concrete slab, and, upon digging, we find an underground boulder blocking the path. The boulder will have to be dealt with to complete the project, which will require additional time and resources. While there’s no way to predict this type of circumstance ahead of time, we promise to deal with it quickly, competently, and in the most cost-effective manner possible.
- CHANGE TO SCOPE OF WORK BY REQUEST. This type of change order occurs when a client requests a change in the original plan or the materials being used, or would like to add an additional service after the initial estimate has been completed. Once work begins, a client’s preferences for materials may change, or they may realize that it makes sense to go ahead and take care of other areas of the house, since work is already going on. These change orders usually work out in everyone’s favor, as long as we keep in mind that changes to original plans and materials, as well as add-on services, will require more time and resources.
- CHANGES TO SURFACE FINISHES. Clients occasionally decide to change surface finishes after the initial estimate, such as paint color. While these changes often don’t add any additional cost to the project, they will usually add additional time to our schedule. And even though the cost remains the same, we always make sure to document any deviation from our original written agreement. That way, we can keep track of every detail to create a clear, complete record of your remodeling journey. Furthermore, a client may have a reason to know these details at some point in the future.
- CHANGE ORDER TO ISSUE CREDIT. These are our clients’ favorite type of change orders. These are used when the cost of a material goes down and is less expensive than originally allocated in the paperwork. Not all change orders are bad!
Euro Design Build relies on decades of experience to predict existing conditions, evaluate possible circumstances, and pre-determine unexpected developments, and strives to make accurate plans to best determine our work schedule and your journey. Please note, even with our best efforts, we will not be able to pre-diagnose all the conditions in your home. However, we will do our very best to plan for them and will handle any changes in the most professional, cost-effective manner possible.