Yes, seasoned commercial customers have learned to BEWARE the dreaded change order! My best measures to avoid change orders include, first, knowing I am part of a solid team of estimators that pay extensive attention to detail. They outline the specifications of the project to me at MB’s turnover meeting, when the project transitions from estimating to operations. Immediately concluding that meeting, I start building the project in my head, start to finish. This, plus continuous communication with the superintendent to make sure as a team that we are fully in tune with the job and on the same page, form the backbone of my monitoring of the project. Being aware of the right details at the right time is essential to avoiding costly mistakes, as well as making sure the customer’s desired outcome is realized.
And yes, some change orders are a result of failure to communicate. The more effort I put into communication, speaking with respect and with civil mind, the less likely it is that communication failure will occur. While it is necessary sometimes to communicate differently with subcontractors than with owners, the goal is for all of us to have a favorable outcome with no egotistical power plays or surprises along the way. This idea stays in the front of my mind as we navigate the project. Nobody wins when unnecessary change orders from communication failures do the navigating.
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