How to handle changes to your design
Inevitably on any project there are changes. These can be due to changes in design and from the client side or may be due to the conctractor having to make a late change in the products used in the job. Either way there should be a defined procedure for handling changes and this procedure should be outlined in the contract.
Changes, called change orders, are used by unscrupulous contractors to make more money on a project. This is done by overpricing the change and penalising the client when the changes occur.
By way of example here are a few tips that can help make changes go more smoothly.
1. A change from the client should be passed in writing to the contractor. In the letter the contractor should be explicitly requested to price the change before starting any work. The letter should be dated and signed both by the client and a contractors rep. The client should retain a copy of the letter in their records.
2. When the price is received you should, as client officially give the contractor approval to proceed in writing on the change for the price agreed on.
In monitoring these changes you should make sure that the price is added to your overall cost so you can keep track of your budget.
When your contractor needs to makes a change you should receive a similar notification. however, unless the change is something you requested you shouldn’t feel obligated to pay for any contractor requested change unless it was either the result of something done by the client or something which was unforseen and unforseeable.
Stick to these general rules and changes on your project will be much much smoother.
Important facts about Construction contracts
An Explanation of Construction Contract Clauses for Extraordinary Events
Construction contracts can be intimidating things but as an owner of a property you should make an effort to understand some of the contents of the contract. Contracts must be balanced and fair and the only way for an owner to ensure that fairness is being achieved is to read the document and ask questions.
"We are in the later stages of building and we have had a few issues with our builder so decided to get an independent inspection done. We had one with another inspector at lock up stage.
We had it added to our contract that the builder allow us to have an agent on site for inspections at stages such as frame, lock up and pre handover.
The builder questioned why we wanted this inspection but agreed it was in our contract. The site supervisor organised a time and everything with the inspector only for the building company to then cancel, saying they were refusing the inspection to take place as there had already been plenty of people through the house and there was no need for it. They will only allow it at pre handover.
While pre handover is only a few weeks away, we wanted a few things looked at by an expert beforehand.
Can they refuse this?”