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Let’s Talk About Change Orders

Let’s Talk About Change Orders

TBarring unforeseen circumstances, any reputable contractor will provide you with a reliable estimate before starting a job and you shouldn’t be surprised by any unexpected charges being added to your final bill. But things do happen – the initial stages of a renovation could uncover maintenance items that should be addressed before work continues. For example, maybe pulling up the carpet in a room may reveal damage to the subfloor that was concealed and requires repair work before anything new can be laid down on top of it. In a case like this, a change order can be issued to account for the additional work and materials.

More often, though, change orders arise as additional work is requested by a homeowner once the renovation process has already begun. “You’re already at work in the kitchen, would you mind replacing the sliding doors that lead from there to the back yard?” Most of the time this isn’t a problem and the request can be accommodated, and a change order will be issued. It’s still probably best to have a firm plan in mind from the very beginning. If new materials need to be ordered partway through a job to accomplish a newly requested piece of work, it can lead to delays for the overall project if that item prevents the completion of other parts of the project. Depending on the items requested, new permits may be necessary and this can delay things even further.

If the vision for your renovation has a list of “must haves” and “nice to haves”, have a conversation with your contractor before work begins about how much certain items can impact the overall timeline of the project and its cost. It’s very beneficial to have a plan you’re committed to from the very beginning. As a final note, it occasionally happens that work outlined in the original scope of the project isn’t completed, most likely arising from the homeowner having a change of heart. In this circumstance, a credit for the difference would be issued, which can either be returned or applied to different work.