Top 10 Ways To Reduce Change Orders

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Creating custom home construction projects allows homeowners to bring their dreams to life by creating a residence tailored to their specific needs and preferences. However, one of the challenges that comes up in the process is change orders. Change orders can significantly impact both the timeline and the budget of your project. Here are 10 ways to minimize the number of change orders that will help to create a smooth and successful building process.

Home contract and plans1. Walk the site with your customer.
This helps them to visualize where the main rooms will be. Bring a tape measure to determine the maximum size that the overall home can be in the area keeping in mind extra items such as air conditioner, downspouts, etc.

2. Set up a GoTo meeting with your customer and drafter.
This will help the customer answer any questions on their floorplans and the drafter can quickly explain what can and cannot be done.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Since you are the middleman between the drafter and the customer you must make sure everyone is on the same page and requires clear communication. A communication breakdown will cause more mistakes and missed items that will drag the change order process out.

4. Keep your customer’s budget in mind.
Your customer does not understand that even minor changes can impact their overall budget. Clearly explain to them how the changes will impact their budget and let them determine from there what to change or keep as is.

5. Be detailed.
The more information you can provide the better and more accurate your estimate and drafting drawings will be. If an item is not the standard make note of it and provide details on what you are looking to have done.

6. Review plans with the customer.
Go over the drafting plans in detail with your customer. Go room by room explaining every section keeping in mind that many customers are not familiar or comfortable with architectural plans. Do not get technical with your wording, keeping it easy and simple for the customer to understand.

7. Be timely with your feedback.
The longer you sit on revised plans the more time you are adding to your build. If your customer has a set date for move-in you will need all the time you can for the production of their home.

8. Group change orders together.
By submitting multiple changes together, you save time and confusion between yourself and the with blueprints It is easier for the drafter to make multiple changes in one sitting than just one at a time. Plus, when you submit one at a time your order ends up in a perpetual state of review for your customer which can delay and confuse them. For the best results, we suggest submitting a change order once a week per job.

9. Direct questions should be communicated directly with the estimator or drafter.
Putting your questions in a change order only creates confusion when one is working on the changes. They do not know what you want changed if it is stated with
a question.

10. Multiple options can be included in estimating.
For example, if you want pricing for two different window series you can include that in the same change order. The estimator can give you pricing on each in the same change order, no need for extra work with multiple change orders for the same job deciding on window series. After you have received pricing with the multiple window series you would reach out to the estimator to remove items from the change order that you are not accepting.

While change orders are sometimes unavoidable in custom home construction, minimizing their frequency offers numerous benefits to both you the builder, and the homeowner. By striving for clear communication, detailed planning, and adherence to the project’s scope, you can create custom homes that are not only beautiful and functional but also completed on time and within budget.