As a contractor or construction business owner, change orders are a part of your business model. If you aren’t paying attention, you could lose significant money or end up in a legal dispute. They’re inevitable, but fortunately, they can be tracked and monitored easily.
You may be new in construction, but any seasoned GC will tell you that you will see many change orders, possibly on the same project. It could be a client who cannot decide on design elements. It could be weather conditions interrupting your workflow timeline. Whatever the reason, you need a way to track all your change orders.
The best way to track change orders is to use a change order management system. This will help you keep track of all your change orders and make sure that they are appropriately communicated to all stakeholders.
Here are some helpful tips for effective change order tracking.
Information Needed for Change Orders
If you have a system for tracking change orders, you need to find a way to categorize them appropriately. You need to record all the necessary details. You can’t track if you don’t know how to organize the system to be easily accessible.
A written change order in construction is typically created on a separate form, which should include the following:
- Project Description – provide scope of work
- Contact information – All parties involved with the project should be listed.
- Work details – You must include the reason why the work is needed. Attach any relevant photos and documents.
- Updated schedule – Both parties need to understand the timeframe of your schedule and projected date of completion.
- Critical Dates – The date the change order was submitted, and the change order approval date. It is extremely important to document the dates of communication.
- Cost breakdown of all expenses, material, and labor.
- Updates contract value. Include all the valuations on the project. From start to finish and what the changes are.
- Names and signatures. Make sure you include the titles and dates.
Once you have all the information, you can organize it for efficiency and create a system that’s easy to follow.
You need all the details of a change order to be easily organized so any person can find and track them.
All of this organized information will be necessary for the next section.
Use a Change Order Log
The Change Order Log is a document that records all the changes made to a project. It is an essential document for any General Contractor because it helps them stay on top of the tedious, manual tracking process. It consolidates all the information in one place. It helps them keep track of all the changes made and who made them.
The change order log should be updated as soon as a change is made to the project. This will help you track what has been changed and when.
For change order logs, it’s best to use excel – or better yet, an online tracking platform – to create a log that you can document easily. Manually input all the details to organize the data.
Taking all the information (as suggested in the previous section) and developing a valuable log for your general contractor or project manager to keep track of change orders can be incredibly helpful in managing projects.
When you have a change order log, you should also make sure it’s visible to your subcontractors and team members. You may even want to give your clients access as well. This helps keep everyone on the same page regarding change orders and their status, helping you avoid any further delays in a project.
Being able to look over all the collected data can help identify errors or miscalculations. It’s easier to view changes when viewing all the data together.
Have a Manager Look Over Your Documentation
It is essential to have a routine for change orders to ensure they are tracked and managed correctly.
The project manager or person overseeing the management and tracking of change orders should be able to identify when a change order is needed, what type of change order it is, and how much it will cost. They should also be able to determine if there are any risks associated with the change order.
A routine for managing and tracking change orders should include:
- A list of all changes made to the project
- A list of all changes that need to be made to the project
- A list of all changes that the client has approved
Having a routine schedule of double-checking change order requests and their status can significantly improve your change order structure.
If you cannot afford to hire a project manager or aren’t large enough to require one, you should still have a double-checking system monthly.
How Change Order Tracking Software Can Help
There’s no better recommendation than using software to streamline and simplify your construction change order tracking process.
Change order software is a type of software that helps you track and manage change orders. Construction companies can use it to track the changes in the project.
Some of the advantages of using change order software are:
- It helps you keep track of all the changes made to your project.
- It helps you identify what has been changed and when it was changed.
- It helps you identify who made the change and why they made it.
- It helps you identify what needs to be done next with each change.
You can have multiple change orders under a single project or many change orders for several different projects.
Therefore, you cannot afford any changes to slip through the cracks. Without a system to track the changes, you cannot manage together to execute a project under agreed terms effectively.
As a contractor or business owner, you could be losing thousands of dollars to inefficient management systems.
The software has the reliability you cannot find in any manual setup.
Trak Changes Makes Change Order Tracking a Breeze
We’ve talked about software benefits, but maybe you haven’t explored your options yet or looked around at your choices. It can seem daunting to choose the right software solution for you or your business, but remember that software is an investment.
Trak Changes was created for residential construction contractors to develop a simplified system to process their change orders and help keep their documentation organized.
All you need to do is try out our free trial, and take the headache out of construction change order tracking. See what Trak Changes can do for your business!
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