One of the most challenging aspects of managing a construction project is managing the expectations of your clients. Construction projects are investments so, naturally, clients want to receive the biggest return they can. Unfortunately, they aren’t always clear on what that is and so they request changes. Changes in scope are a part of nearly all construction projects. However, if left unchecked, these changes can seriously affect your project’s timeline and the product you are attempting to produce. And while it is easy to believe that your client will understand that their project is delayed because of excessive changes orders, that’s not likely.
What Is Scope Creep?
All projects (ideally) have a scope of work. This part of a contract outlines all aspects of the work that’s being done, including expectations, steps, deliverables, deadlines, and costs. While it’s not uncommon for that scope to be adjusted with time, owners may ask for changes that take the project significantly away from it’s initial intent. This is considered scope creep and, along with costing contractors money, it can have legal ramifications. If a delay claim is filed against, it’s advisable that you contact a Brandon construction attorney immediately.
How To Reduce Scope Creep
While scope creep can’t be completely avoided, it can be reduced. Here’s a few tips that our Brandon construction lawyer have seen to effectively keep projects moving.
- Establish a clear, agreed upon scope for the project: Spend as much time as possible on the front end of the project determining what all stakeholders want to happen on the construction site.
- Understand what the client wants: Ask questions that help you figure what the business or personal goal is for the project not just what the structure will be, look like or do.
- Provide a clear, comprehensive estimate: The estimate should cover all aspects of the project and provide all costs.
- Create a construction plan: By being organized, you will be able to better understand the impact of change orders and convey the information to your client. This plan should also have a clearly stated process for submitting change orders.
- Requiring an addendum to the contract for each change order: The time it may take to do this may deter owners from submitting excessive change orders. It can also cover you legally should you have issues receiving payment later.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.