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What Happens If I Want To Make Change Orders In Construction?

Change orders, also known as revisions, can come up unexpectedly during the construction project. Though they aren’t all that common, the reality is that a revision request might be in order during the renovation timeline for various reasons. You may realize that a renovation is not capturing your vision—and you might end up wanting a change for a different reason.

When you find yourself wanting a revision, it is time to talk to your general contractor as quickly as possible. The sooner that you bring up your concerns, the sooner the change process can be implemented. Let’s explore what a change process means for your construction projects.

What is a Change Order or Revision?

New modern kitchen renovation with large black island and white tall cabinets

A change order is an instance where the original agreement for your renovation changes. Any time that you want to institute a change to the project, a change order will need to be made—and this will change the entire project management schedule. Revision requests often come from a change of heart on behalf of you, the client.

When you request to change your order, it will generally influence the entire construction process. Some change requests might be small and easy to make a simple note of. Others will affect the project in a much bigger way, which can ultimately cost more time and money. Though not every change order necessarily increases how much you will spend or how long it will take, a lot of the time, it does.

What Happens When You Request a Change

Every change is a little different. As a consequence of this, each one will affect the renovation in a different way. While some changes involve a simple shift in the work of the team, others can add weeks to your overall timeline and project scope. In line with this, you might find that your change can come with a hefty increase in the overall price, depending on what you are requesting during the management process.

When you request construction change directives, you can expect the following steps to ensure that your change is managed quickly and efficiently.

Depending on the nature of the change, it is likely that there will be a need to stop the work. This is for our convenience and yours. In the construction industry, when we are discussing a change, the last thing that we want is to continue pushing forward and do work that will later need to be redone. For this reason, we will generally halt all work until the changes have been discussed and finalized. This allows us to focus completely on understanding what isn’t working for you and what we can do to fix it.

This allows us to focus completely on understanding what isn’t working for you and what we can do to fix it.

Your change and what you would like to see from it are important to us. We understand that sometimes change requests can come up unexpectedly. You might have loved the materials or color in theory, only to find that they really weren’t your style at all.

For the best outcome for everyone, we will take the time to sit down and discuss what changes you really want to seeand what they will mean for the contract scope of work. Some changes can add work, while others can lessen the total amount of work involved. During this period, we will do our best to get on the same page for the construction change directive.

Once we have determined the scope of work, we can work on what it will mean for the cost. Depending on the changes that we are implementing, you might just find that the cost goes up from the initial contract, especially if we have to undo previous work—or if additional materials are involved. To help you navigate this, we will make sure that you have a full itemized breakdown of cost expectations and any associated fees.

Most people assume that a change request will automatically require an increase in cost from the original construction contract price, but that isn’t necessarily true. If the change that you request results in less work or uses cheaper materials, you could even end up paying less than the previous amount. While this might not be standard, it does happen. Sometimes changes can come with a better look, feel, and price too!

After we have made a plan and addressed the fine details associated with your revision request, we will succinctly compile everything. This includes making new contract documents and ensuring that everything has been updated. Once this is done, we can easily send everything over for your approval. As soon as you give us the go-ahead, we can get back to work.

Examples of Change Orders

Revisions come in many different forms, but they are almost always related to homeowner preference. We offer a lot of wonderful products and materials thanks to the partners that we work with, but sometimes people choose renovation materials that they only liked on a smaller scale. Let’s discuss some of the more common change orders and what they might mean.
Person choosing colors that match their flooring

Paint is a tricky decision to make, especially if it is your first time having your home painted. A lot of people look at a certain color and think that’s it! Unfortunately, when they see it at scale, and it covers an entire room, they might end up wishing that they went in a different direction.

Paint changes are a fairly small change to make, particularly if we didn’t get that far. If you picked a color for your entire home and waited until we were almost done to tell us that it wasn’t your favorite, it will take a little more time—but the sooner we catch this, the better. Painting is a fairly quick process, and it is easy for us to get most paint sooner rather than later. This is considered a low-impact change.

Most people don’t think much about their flooring until they change it, and that can lead to some problems. You might not be able to perfectly envision what flooring will actually look like, especially if you are changing other big details in the room. Even though plenty of people love the flooring they choose the first time around, not everyone does.

Flooring can be a pretty substantial fix for more reasons than you might think, even if we don’t get that far. Most flooring orders are custom ordered specifically for your home, and that can take time. While we might be able to return some of the remaining materials, anything that was used will still be charged to you—and then there will be the additional cost of the new flooring. In addition to this, there will be a timeline change while we handle sending back the old flooring, removing the work that we did, and waiting for the new flooring that you have requested. This can be a substantial change request.

Change Order Costs

The biggest concern that a lot of clients have when requesting a revision is the cost, and that is completely understandable. Renovations are not cheap, so most people assume that the cost of making a change is fairly high. The truth is that it can be, but that is not a guarantee.

The associated costs will vary from one change to the next. Just because you request a change from the original contract, it doesn’t mean that we will automatically increase how much you owe us by a substantial amount. It is all about the details.

One of the primary costs that are associated with change requests is the restocking fee. As we discussed before, sometimes, we can return the unused materials from an original design. While this isn’t always the case, it can help to cut down on the overall cost, so you don’t end up essentially paying for both sets of materials.

While we might be able to return the materials, manufacturers generally aren’t happy about it. They have already processed the inventory change and filled it back up. When we send it back, it takes work for them to inspect it, get it back in the warehouse, and find someone new to purchase it. For this reason, there will generally be a restocking fee associated with this decision. It can be anywhere from $500 to $2500–or even higher in some select cases.

Our team wants you to have a renovation that you feel good about, but revision requests do affect the work that we do in a fairly significant way. We will end up having to halt production, which can impact our schedule. Additionally, we will need to spend the extra time drawing up new project documents, meeting to finalize the details, and getting on the same page. After all of this is done, we have to take more time to catch our team up on the new plan and schedule the new renovations. For this reason, we do charge fixed fees to ensure that we are being paid for the services that we offer.

A big cost when it comes to revisions is timing. While painting might not add much to a renovation, flooring changes or changes with solid surfaces might end up pushing the original schedule out by several weeks in some cases. As long as you are prepared for this change, we are happy to help. Whatever renovation service you require, we’ll make sure the changes will be done to your liking.


Large open space kitchen with kitchen island, marble countertops, gray cabinets, and golden accessories

Changes can come up, and they aren’t something that you need to worry about. As long as you are aware of what these changes entail, everything will work out in the end. Fortunately, your team will be happy to get you on board and explain the fine details of a change so you can end up with the renovation of your dreams!