Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 34 seconds
Change Orders are a form used to note things that have “changed” from the original DOW (Description of work). They may be designated for additional funds, negative funds, or neutral. The most important part is that they confirm and document that something was changed and that all parties are aware of it.
At Levco, we do not hesitate to use Change Orders. Since we are rarely paid to perform destructive inspections prior to signing a remodeling agreement, assumptions are made that occasionally are wrong. We do our best to make Change Orders very specific, so that there is no confusion. In my experience, Change Orders are an extension of our DOW and a great way of clearly expressing the fluid parts of getting the work done in “Real Time.”
When a Change Order is needed we will provide a flat fee amount for the work that needs to be done (in a 24 hour turn around time frame). We do not offer a price breakdown. The time for completion will also be addressed in the document.
Optional Change Orders:
Some Change Orders are optional, like whether to install a new skylight that was not in the DOW? You have a choice to accept it, or not
Mandatory Change Orders:
Occasionally they are mandatory, like when unsafe conditions are discovered. These are not optional.
There must be trust between all parties that the Change Order process is fair. Mandatory Change Orders are not fun for anyone. It reminds me of being told that you need to have some sort of medical procedure done as a result of some underlying medical condition that was just diagnosed. In all cases, payment is due upon acceptance of the Change Order and before the additional work is done.
Here are some basic Change Order examples.
- Levco is being charged by a subcontractor to fix something in your home that was not in the approved DOW.
- Levco is required or requested to fix something that takes my employees time or involves additional materials that was not in the approved DOW.
- The plumbing inspector tells us that we need to replace a water line that we did not expect or plan for.
- The client decides to have additional work done beyond the original DOW or changes their mind about painting the place themselves, and wants us to do it.
We like to believe that the homes we remodel have not had fires in them and been repaired inadequately, that they were not “added to” by the last owner’s cousin Ned as a favor, and/or that the local scrap yard didn’t have a sale on #8 Re-Bar (that is 1″ thick), then embedded in a 6″grid into the 8″ patio slab. These things really happen!
In our area of work, many homes were built prior to building codes. Almost all of the homes we work on were built with materials that are no longer available. We have had to fabricate our own siding and paneling, as examples.
Change Orders allow us the flexibility to change things on the fly and make improvements to the approved DOW as needed. We often find opportunities to make the project even better. There is no financial penalty for Change Orders this rarely takes the sting out of the bill. At Levco, we price Change Orders based on the labor, materials, and subcontractors it will take to get the work accomplished. They always extend the time the project will take.
Remodeling is an art form, and the client is a very big part of a great project. We warn out clients to be prepared for Change Orders, but no one ever truly is.
Remember, our goal is to create enthusiastic referrals here. Our advice is to be calm and patient and to let the process work.
Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261