One of the biggest worries builders hear from homeowners building a new custom home or remodeling their existing one has to do with the dreaded change order. Every construction project requires some changes due to unexpected situations or scope of work adjustments. At Foley, we understand how stressful it can be for our clients to make a change in their home building project.
As our client, we want you to feel you are in control throughout the process, so we offer you a way of tracking expenses using software developed specifically for home construction projects. Before we talk about that, let’s discuss what is and isn’t fair when it comes to change orders.
What’s Fair (And What’s Not) About Change Orders
Change orders are a sensitive subject in the construction process, and they frequently cause breakdowns in the homeowner/builder relationship. It’s often the case that the blame for this breakdown can be attributed to both parties, with the homeowner feeling they’ve been overcharged.
The majority of professional design build firms strive to avoid change orders, as they are disruptive to scheduling. One of the most common reasons change orders occur is poor planning, which is why it’s so important for homeowners to work with a reputable firm that values communication throughout a project, but particularly during the planning stage. Design build firms often forget that many homeowners are unable to fully visualize their finished project and this is where change order problems begin.
Homeowners who choose to modify the plans during the course of construction must bear responsibility for those change orders. It’s not unusual for homeowners to change their minds on certain details, but they should expect to pay for the process of making those changes. It’s important to keep in mind that the design build firm you’re working with based its estimates on specific materials and tasks, so any changes are your financial responsibility.
As a homeowner, you can minimize change orders – and any cost increases – a number of ways:
- Take the time to think through all aspects of your project.
- If you’re not sure how something will look, discuss it with your design builder.
- When choosing fixtures and finishes, spend as much time as possible at showrooms and ask plenty of questions.
- Consider setting up a contingency fund to cover any change orders.
It’s extremely important to be proactive on your own behalf. It’s always in your best interest to bring up potential “what ifs” or changes before the actual work begins.
Tracking Projects Using Software
Many homeowners appreciate the ability to track both their expenses and change orders using software. At Foley we use a software program called Co-Construct that offers homeowners some terrific benefits through the entire construction process:
- It keeps the selections process simple, fun, and flexible while ensuring on-time decisions, accurate financials, and a comprehensive paper trail.
- Offers you 24/7 access to all selections, costs, and conversations, allowing you to make better decisions.
- Change orders and expense tracking show you where things stand.
Watch a quick video about using Co-Construct with us:
The Bottom Line
Your home construction or remodeling project is an important endeavor, but we want it to be a fun and stress-free one as well. Co-Construct is the number one custom home builder and remodeler software. It allows you to access all of the details of your project, and puts information about your selections, upgrades, financials, documents, questions, photos, and more at your fingertips. To learn more, schedule a conversation with us – we look forward to meeting you!