Best Practices for Change Orders

Marielle Price imageMarielle Price  •  

Change orders — for good or for bad — are in integral part of construction. While you can’t prevent or control change work, you can control how much time change orders set you back. With change order management software like Fieldwire, the headache of updating a drawing or altering the scope of a contract is almost entirely removed. But before we dive deeper into that, let’s first explore the concept of a change order.

A change order, by definition, is “a written order by a project owner directing the contractor to change the contract amount, requirements, or schedule.” If (and when) work is added or removed from the original scope of a contract, a change order must be submitted to reflect that update.

Frustration caused by construction change orders is a common occurrence in this line of work — because as we all know change means time, and time is money. When change leads to project cost and schedule overruns — often caused by initial planning oversights, administrative inefficiencies, and human error — expensive rework is required and time and money is wasted. Leveraging change order management software not only reduces quantifiable waste on projects, but ensures all change orders are handled effectively on projects.

Fieldwire for effective change order management

Fieldwire has you covered when it comes to documenting your project’s particulars, including any unforeseen circumstances and change orders. Change orders, as you know, require records to legally determine the scope of work. With Fieldwire’s construction management platform, you can keep track of every detail - big or small - using Fieldwire tasks, which are used for documenting site observations and can include photos, forms, and files such as cut sheets, RFIs, submittals, or product data sheets. When the time comes to submit an official change order form, Fieldwire lets you instantly generate a fully-timestamped PDF construction daily report (a chronological history of all relevant tasks) to further justify contract changes.

Final - change order on macbook

Since construction change orders can often be contentious, it’s definitely a benefit to have a clear log of work, and Fieldwire makes that possible with minimal effort.

Adapting to change to prevent delay

Murphy’s Law, that “whatever can go wrong will go wrong,” likes to take root in a lot of construction projects. Whatever the cause may be, field teams must be properly equipped to efficiently adapt to change — be it a delay in getting approval to proceed with work, unstable soil conditions, or complications with an unmarked utility on-site. You have to be able to quickly respond to change for projects to progress without major delay. Fieldwire’s construction management app enables you to do so with push notifications that automatically alert jobsite teams of project updates, ensuring everyone is always aware of change orders as soon they arise. Having a notification system that delivers that knowledge to the people doing the actual work will protect your project from costly delays.

Fast-tracking construction change orders

With any ongoing project, there’s the risk of change orders coming in late; affecting project budgets and making people skeptical about the details. For example, the project manager is assembling the construction change order form, but it was the superintendent who dealt with the issue onsite, so some important details might slip through the cracks. There are a number of tricky obstacles in construction change order management; maintaining honest, consistent, and compliant processes just to name a few. Fieldwire’s construction management platform and app keeps a record of all project updates, comments, photos, and attachments — so the details you’re looking for stay organized together.

Task with RFI attached in iPad Pro frame 2018-11

Transferring data between teammates becomes instantaneous and reliable, and change order information is readily accessible. Additionally, when a change order template is planned before fieldwork starts, you can still organize all of the related documents in Fieldwire and access them at any time. Whether it's an engineering change order, contractor change order, or any level of alteration along the way, you can manage the entire process — consistently — with Fieldwire

Remember, a change order in construction is almost inevitable, so make sure you and your team are always prepared for one (or several) at any time. When road bumps emerge and prevailing winds change on you, there’s no longer any reason to suffer delays. Fieldwire is specifically designed for efficient data sharing and cataloging details — so you’ll never misplace or lose sight of change orders again.

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