Contractors and homeowners share a common priority when working together on a construction project; controlling project costs. The contractor must keep an eye on and proactively manage all project details to keep his cost within what had been estimated when offering his contract price for the project. As a result, both the homeowner and the contractor enjoy the benefits of using a well-defined scope of work. This information was used so both could agree on a price and confidently commit to working together. That said, one great way to avoid extra costs on a remodeling project is to do as much as you can to avoid making changes after the contract price has been accepted. Sometimes even what seems to be a simple change can cause surprisingly high increases in costs. Here are just a few examples of how costs, related to changes, can quickly add up.
Additional Project Planning
When a homeowner asks their contractor to quote the additional cost to make a change, the contractor must not only estimate the labor and material related costs to complete the change, he will also need to estimate and include other requirements, which may include management, supervision, planning, redesign, building permit revision, and so forth. Also, consider a professional contractor and his team have already done their pre-construction planning and lined up and scheduled all the products and resources needed to complete your project when promised. Just considering a change may require the contractor and his team to take the time to rethink all downstream activities, just to give the customer a price; regardless of whether the requested change goes forward or not.
The Project Manager Goes to Work
If the homeowner decides to go forward with the change, a change order is executed, and the project manager is notified of the change. This triggers activities that again add to the cost of the change and therefore the project. First, the project schedule needs to be revised relative to the change and many resources will need to be rescheduled. For example, subcontractors will all need to be notified, and reconfirmed, and product delivery dates may need to be changed. Sometimes even the set of plans used by all the different tradesman will have be revised, redistributed and explained, to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the change.
Juggling the Schedule
Depending on the nature of the change the project schedule may or may not be affected. If the change does affect the schedule, available work crews may come to a standstill and be sent home. Even worse, some crews may no longer be available anymore because they are already committed elsewhere, potentially causing even more scheduling challenges and additional costs.
As you can see making changes can really compound the cost of construction. The best way to avoid these additional costs is to make sure you and your contractor take the time to fully explore and discuss your project and project ideas during the project development stage. Although there is no guarantee that the project development stage will without doubt eliminate all changes, we can promise working together we will help you explore your options and help you gain confidence in your design and product selection decisions. As an end result, there will be fewer changes, as a team we will be proactively controlling project costs, and your project can be completed on time and on budget, so you can start enjoying it as soon as possible!