I am surprised at how many Disaster Restoration company’s never use Change Orders…..on larger residential jobs or commercial jobs.

Lets get a little background. Some upscale residential jobs and a lot of commercial construction contracts are based on drawings and specifications prepared by architects. Everyone needs to be aware that the need for changes during construction raises questions about the completeness, correctness, and coordination of the architect’s drawings and specifications – in short, questions about the architect’s accuracy of capturing what the property owner wanted.

Of course, change orders may also be precipitated by changes that are beyond the control of the architect, like changes in the owner’s criteria for the project, or some changes in codes and regulations, or other conditions that were not foreseen or perhaps could not have been foreseen by either the owner or the architect.

Regardless of the actual causes of change orders, disaster restoration contractors need to use Work Change Orders, especially on jobs where architects are involved.  I suggest you consider tracking the resulting cost of change orders as they are related to changes do to code upgrades, property owners wishes or errors, inconsistencies, and omissions in the drawings and specifications prepared by the architect.

Drawings and specifications may never be perfect, and some would say they never can be perfect. However, drawings and specifications that are complete, consistent, coordinated, and are clear and readable to the extent possible leave less to interpretation; so there is less need for determinations of reasonable inference. With this in mind, change orders related strictly to imperfections in drawings and specifications are usually minimized.

If it is necessary in the architect’s response to a contractor’s claim to explain numerous contradictions and take exceptions to numerous drawing and specification provisions in order to reach a conclusion that matches the designer’s intent, then the requirement is not reasonably inferable.

Change Orders, done properly, can save tons of time at the end of  job in getting the file closed. Also, for those that like positive cash flow….they can mean the difference of you getting paid for services rendered or having to write the amount off as another hard lesson learned.