These days it seems as if construction projects range from complex to more complex. Architects and engineers leverage their education and expertise to put together a design that is complete and well-detailed. Even in a perfect world, changes are unavoidable. Supply chain issues, fluctuations in material costs, outdated site info, shifts in owner priorities and other factors require modifications to the plan. As a construction leader, you’re responsible for managing all aspects of the job. This includes tracking any contractual deviations with a construction change order form. Documenting each change to the job, whether it’s a change in schedule, cost or scope is necessary for good construction project management.
What Is a Change Order in Construction?
Before you proceed, you must submit a change request for review and approval, usually by your client or any approved representatives, including client staff, a consultant provider or the designer of record. Even changes that have a net zero impact on the cost or schedule should be formalized with a request, review and approval. When you were awarded a contract, your company agreed to deliver a project of a particular scope within a certain budget and time frame. When it’s time to close out the job, all parties want to verify that the contractual obligations have been fulfilled. Without formally recorded and executed change orders, it will be difficult to confirm that the terms and conditions have been met.
What Goes Into a Change Request Document?
Every part of the change order process should be formalized and documented, from your initial request to execution of the order, which is when the scope, schedule, budget or plans are officially modified. It’s in your best interest to have a contractor change order form that captures all of the information needed to facilitate processing.
This form is also proof that you notified the client or any representatives of the need for change in accordance with contractual requirements. If you were to inform your client through a phone call, text message, or email, you could find yourself at a disadvantage if there’s a dispute about the change. Imagine being unable to recover the costs of a necessary change because you couldn’t prove that you notified the owner in a sufficient time period. Even if your client has a form, it’s critical for a construction company to have its own project records.
Why Do I Need a Contractor Change Order Form?
Using a consistent construction change order form helps to ensure consistency in how the facts and details are recorded and communicated. Consistency and uniformity in project information also help streamline the process, making it easier to manage and audit your project. Your template for change order construction must capture the following information:
- Project Information: Your template should include identifying information such as the project name, a contract number, location, and other key details. The document should also include the name of the construction company and the owner or client.
- Change Order Number or ID: Each change order request should have a unique ID for tracking each individual change. A simple numeric identifier will work (for example, Change Order #001).
- Date Information: Your form should note the date that the change request was submitted.
- Description: Here is where you identify the particular change. It should be written concisely, perhaps in the form of an imperative sentence. Some examples include: “Add five days to schedule due to delay” and “Delete 105 cubic yards of excavation at Station 85+50 due to grading error.”
- Justification: Every change request needs a justification. Why is the change necessary? How did the issue arise? This could be as a result of a design change order due to a mistake or oversight in the plans. Perhaps the unit price of an item has increased dramatically, and you’ve identified a more affordable alternative. Suppose the owner wants to take advantage of new technology that is now available. Use this field to state the need for the change.
Cost Breakdown: Change order forms are legal, auditable documents, so you’ll need to have an itemized list of costs that includes the number of laborers and manhours, equipment used and their hourly usage rates, materials with unit prices and quantities, subcontractor costs and other markups as allowed by the contract. The cost breakdowns should show how the total cost is derived to aid in the review of the change request. For example, if you were excavating an abandoned pipe as required in the field, but not in the plans, a cost breakdown might include the following:
- The number of laborers x cost per hour x total manhours = total cost of labor
- Equipment x hourly cost x total hours = total equipment cost
- Quantity of materials x unit of price = total cost of materials
- Subcontractor cost (with supporting documentation on how the sub’s cost is derived)
- Subtotal = total cost of labor + total equipment cost + total cost of materials + subcontractor cost
- Total = subtotal + (subtotal x allowable markup)
- Time of change: If days have to be added or deleted from the schedule, your contractor change order form should note that. Depending on the terms and conditions, it may be sufficient to include the time justification in the corresponding field. A separate analysis of the time request may be recorded in another document.
- Impacted documents: Your form should identify any contract documents to be affected by this change once approved.
- Other documents: Often change orders originate with a request for information from the contractor or a request for proposal from the client to address an issue. Include this information here.
- Responsibility/Payment: Payment may be contingent on who is responsible. For example, if the issue was because of an engineer’s mistake, the change order may be paid for by a different source than if the issue was due to a natural disaster or something beyond human control.
- Signatures: No change order construction work should begin without acknowledgment and approval as indicated by signatures.
How Can Fluix Help?
The change order approval process requires the exchange of information between you, your client, and other stakeholders. Develop a construction change order flowchart and automate the process using Fluix’s cloud-based solution for developing templates and forms. All interested parties can access project documents without special coding or operating systems. Experience superior change order management with a free, no-obligation trial right now.
Speed Up Change Order Approval
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