(pronounced CHAYNJ OR-der)
“Ch-ch-ch-ch-chaaannges…” (Sorry. Couldn’t resist a little David Bowie lyric reference.) As you have probably already guessed, a change order is an order for change, whether it’s a deletion, addition, or a change of specification on a project. It’s a physical document stating what needs to be done and the monetary value associated with it. A change order is necessary during the construction administration process when there needs to be a modification to the original contract / construction documents. This alteration could be related to details, space plans, structure, any aspect of a specification (material, performance, manufacturer), time of completion, etc. But who must authorize a change order? First and foremost, the owner or owner’s representative. Then, anyone involved in the contract, which – depending on how it’s structured – would include one or more of the following: contractor, interior designer, architect, and/or engineer. Here are some examples of when a change order would be necessary…
Ex. 1: A retail developer might decide that she wants to add a fountain at the entrance of her shopping mall to attract more customers, which results in additional design, engineering, and labor time, as well as more materials.
Ex. 2: An interior designer specifies a particular laminated glass for the lobby of a hotel, but three weeks before installation the manufacturer’s factory burns down, so they can no longer supply the product. Therefore, the designer must figure out a readily available – and aesthetically acceptable – alternative with the owner, which leads to an increase in cost due to sourcing research, changes in the construction detailing, and expedited shipping.
Ex. 3: A homeowner realizes he doesn’t need hand-cut Carrera marble floors in his master bathroom after all and chooses a ceramic tile instead, resulting in a deduct in material and installation labor costs.