How to Coordinate Change Orders for Subcontractors

Change orders are expected in a construction project, but they can have a different impact for the different parties involved.

For the home or business owner, their project timeline could be extended, and costs could increase significantly given lots of unforeseen circumstances pop up throughout a project. 

Contractors also need to reframe their project timeline and how it relates to other projects. It can drastically impact their business if not tracked and managed efficiently.

Subcontractors are at most risk for unpaid work when a change order comes up, because change orders can indirectly impact a lot of relevant factors.

Since a change order can alter the entire workflow, it can be challenging to predict long-term results. Subcontractors can have delayed work or wage losses due to a poorly constructed change order.

Subcontractors cannot proceed with work until particular changes are agreed on and approved by both parties.

Whether you’re a subcontractor, a general contractor, or an owner, you need to have a strategy for tracking the changes in subcontracted work to ensure everyone is accurately paid.

Here’s how to handle subcontractor change orders to reduce error. 

Create a Protocol for Subcontractor Change Orders

Whether you’re a business owner or a subcontractor, having a well-oiled system managing change orders is crucial to not lose out on income and ensure subcontractors are adequately paid.

Maybe you have a process for change orders, such as a log? Perhaps you use software? Whatever the protocol is or needs to be created, it should make it efficient not to delay projects any more than necessary.

Time delays have the most significant negative impact on subcontractors and disrupting workflow. 

If you’re a subcontractor, ask your general contractor what the steps are for change orders (before you agree to any work).

If you’re a general contractor, create an organized system to coordinate and communicate change orders for subcontractors that you work with. Show them where to access templates or software and clarify expectations. 

Submit Change Order Requests Immediately 

Time is money, especially in construction. You need to start the process immediately, if warranted. Therefore, if you’re a subcontractor or managing projects, it cannot be stressed enough the importance of saving time and processing a change order as quickly (yet correctly!) as possible.

Not only is there time to calculate and detail a COR, but there’s the time for the client to review and possibly negotiate.

You can save yourself time by using a template that has everything a subcontractor needs to fill out and submit for processing. 

Don’t waste another second on the change order request. 

Many companies and contractors rely on templates to create a request faster. 

Use a Change Order Request Template

Not every company uses templates, but they can be incredibly useful for coordinating subcontractor change orders.

A change order request template is a document used to request changes to a project. They can be created in advance of projects, to save time and be prepared in a pinch.

It is usually filled out by the subcontractor and sent to the main contractor. The template should include all of the necessary information for the change order request, including what needs to be changed, why it needs to be changed, and how much it will cost.

Using templates can help make it easier for subcontractors to fill out change order requests. It also makes it easier for contractors to process these requests because they are standardized and have all of the necessary information included in them.

Templates can simplify the process and reduce the hesitation of what to include in the change order request. With a template, they can begin the process of request immediately and without extra help.

Subcontractors Need to Track Hours

Subcontractors should be documenting all their work and hours religiously. Documentation and communication are the key ingredients to a well-managed change order system.

When the final COR (change order request) is completed, a subcontractor should double-check the numbers of their tracking system against what’s listed on the COR. If the request has not been submitted, changes can still be made if you’ve identified errors.

Keeping all your hours and work details neatly organized for comparison makes the process easier since it takes a quick check.

Always take time to review a change order request with the hours tracked by the subcontractor, before you submit to the owner for approval.

Provide Ample Documentation 

One issue that delays a COR is if the changes don’t have enough detail for approval. 

Construction change orders should provide ample documentation, extensive details, and photos (if applicable). This will help ensure that all parties involved in the construction process understand what is being communicated. It’s a part of the communication between parties. 

A subcontractor will be submitting their request to the GC (General contractor) and then needs to be forwarded to the home or business owner for approval. It’s a chain of communication and negotiation that can be time consuming.

Remember, when you submit a change order request, you justify why it’s necessary. The property owner might reject the recommendations. If you submit ample documentation and photos to support your request, the odds are that the change order approval will be faster. 

Whenever submitting a request for changes, always provide proof to back it up. The more you can provide, the better, and more time will be saved in the process.

Change Order Management Software can be a Gamechanger

If you haven’t implemented software into your system of managing change orders, it can be a game changer.

Time is money. The faster and easier it is to create and track change orders, the more time you can spend doing the work that actually gets you paid.

Change order software helps create a better workflow for managing change orders. It can help you manage the process of change orders, from the initial request to the final approval.

Construction change orders can be time-consuming and tedious, but software makes the process seamless and organized for fewer errors. The software pays for itself.

Software can also help you manage your team and ensure that they are all on the same page. It will also help you keep track of all your projects and tasks, so that you don’t miss anything important.

Trak Changes helps you keep your change orders straightforward, transparent, and organized. Check out our one week free trial to get started today!

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