In the home construction process, change orders are an important and essential part of the entire process. You can think of the change order process as a parallel process to the total construction, because there will undoubtedly be changes in the building timeline. Some of these changes have to do with client demands, but many of them have to do with poor communication. However, with a strong and clearly outlined change order plan, you can save an enormous amount of time and money. When it comes down to it, home construction almost never goes off without a hitch. Some of these speed bumps are small, but some of them could take some serious structural maneuvering. Here are five ways to manage change orders during home construction.
- Have a protocol for making changes in the contract. One of the most common problems that construction projects run into is a lack of protocol for managing minor crises. These minor crises quickly become major, leading to a huge waste of time, money and energy. By simply writing a protocol for dealing with the inevitable hiccups along the way, everyone will know who they need to get approval from before making any major decision, and the necessary communication will be made efficiently and without unnecessary frustrations.
- Anticipate pitfalls. Make a list of all of the specific challenges that are immediately evident in your project. Everything from the condition of the land, to the climate, to the opposing cultures of the various teams you hire will affect the progress of construction. For instance, what happens if you are building on land in Los Angeles with large, heavy debris and you need a crane? – You should start looking for LA cranes for rent before you break ground. By simply making a list of the most common challenges you may face, brainstorming ways to avoid them, and listing possible solutions in case they do arise, you can effectively avoid the prospect of major crises along the way.
- Make yourself – and everyone else – available. Once you have written a detailed protocol for making changes in the plan and predicted all of the major pitfalls you may run into, you need to make sure that you are available for communication. There’s no use in telling a team whom they need to get approval from before acting if they can’t get ahold of that person. Make a contact list for everyone involved in the project, print multiple copies and have them posted in various places along the jobsite.
- Have an interpreter. With most construction projects, there are a number of languages spoken amongst the various crews. Making sure that each crew you hire has someone on staff who is multilingual will ensure that there aren’t any breakdowns in communication between the parties involved. We all know that communication can easily break down between individuals who already do speak the same language, so not having an interpreter between those who don’t can be quite a risk.
- Keep morale high. It seems simple, and to some people unnecessary, but making sure that everyone is enjoying themselves is more important than you could imagine. Accidents happen most often when people feel angry, anxious or exhausted. Providing your workers with consistent hours and food breaks, the ability to play their own music, and a place to have work discussions away from the noise can make a world of difference to everyone involved.