Real Estate

Types Of Scope Changes Its Impacts On Construction Projects

Construction Projects

Managing the expectations of our clients and keeping all the stakeholders happy is a real challenge for all contractors in the construction industry. Clients are not always clear about what they want, which results in a lot of changes in the scope of the project down the road. These changes can cause potential delays in construction work and cost overruns as they add up little by little, and before you know it, your completion time is already here, and funds are all exhausted.

All construction projects have a defined scope of work that outlines everything about the project, including detailed tasks, goals, client’s expectations, deadlines, and costs. During the duration of the project, the owner might ask for its scope to be changed or revised, which may lead to an increase in deadlines and extensive costs overruns. This drags your project away from its initial intent.

Most Common Types of Scope Changes in Construction

The most common types of scope changes in the construction industry include the following:

1. Design Modifications

The owner might request a revision of the drawings in the contract and specifications of the project. Design modifications are the most common and primary causes of scope changes in the construction industry.

2. Additional Work

The scope of the project may be expanded as required by the owner, which results in additional work in terms of design, finishing, etc. It will result in cost overruns and ultimately increase the planned budget.

3. Owner-Directed Slowdown or Acceleration

This is the result of the owner’s requirement to change or modify the pace of the project and the contractor’s performance. In such cases, the contractor will have to incur additional costs when the performance is either delayed or accelerated. Thus, in such cases, you need the help of a construction quantum expert to quantify these changes for a better cost estimate.

4. Change in Work Sequencing

This results because the owner might require the contractor to revise the planned sequence of the project and its tasks. It might impact the contractor’s work schedule, including timelines, and availability of labor and material.

5. Force Majeure

In some cases, like the current global COVID-19 pandemic, extension in the project is required due to events that are neither in control of the contractor nor the owner. In such cases, no party is held accountable as they don’t have the ability to control such conditions. It also includes labor strikes, natural disasters, and weather delays.

6. Change in costs

These are scope changes due to cost overruns as a result of the revision of unit prices in the contract. Some of the common reasons include an increase in an item from the contract as opposed to its budgeted quantity.

7. Delays Due to Owner-Supplied Services

This occurs due to the owner’s inability to provide services and materials on time, as defined in the contract. It also includes machinery, heavy equipment, and building material that the owner agreed to provide for himself.

8. Clients Inappropriate Rejection of Work

Scope changes that occur because the client rejects the work already completed by the contractor. In such cases, if the investigations indicate that work done is acceptable and is in accordance with the contractual terms, then change the order in scope becomes invalid.

How to Reduce Scope Changes in Construction

Most of the scope changes in the construction industry cannot be avoided completely, but with proper planning, they can be reduced. This way, these changes will not significantly affect your project’s performance. Here are a few simple tips to help you minimize scope changes and keep your project on deadline.

  • Establish clear project specifications and the scope of the project before starting construction work. Consult experts in the construction industry and all the stakeholders to determine the specifications of the project in detail.
  • Ask what your clients want and understand all their needs. Sit with your clients before starting construction work and ask questions regarding the scope of the project to determine what they want in terms of design, architecture, performance, etc.
  • Create a detailed construction plan. By creating a comprehensive construction plan, you will be able to figure out the impact of any scope change in the project at later stages in the project and convey this information to your clients. You need a quantum expert to quantify these change orders and give an estimate to the client to avoid potential claims.
  • Provide clear estimates. After creating a detailed construction plan, you need to provide a clear cost estimate to the client. It should cover all aspects of the construction project and also leave a little room for unexpected delays. It will help the client in knowing what to expect.
  • Change your contract. Before starting construction work, include in your contract that for each scope change order, there will be revisions in the contract, including revisions of payment, etc. It will discourage the owner from requiring excessive changes in the scope of the project.

Deliver Successful Projects On Time!

Now you know the most common types of scope changes in the construction industry and ways to avoid them. Even with thorough planning and effective management, scope changes might still occur in your project, as some cannot be avoided. However, there is a wide array of scope changes that can be easily avoided by working closely with your construction team and having a proper reporting system and communication.

A Construction Project Management Team in place can also help you avoid scope changes and project failure, which ultimately results in budget overruns and disappointed clients.

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