When you hire a general contractor for a building project, you usually sign a contract. That contract likely has a clause for change orders. A change order is when someone makes an amendment to the construction contract.
One of the parties might change the work that’s required, and that in turn increases the price. Or else someone may change the length of time needed to complete the project. Change orders are common with construction projects. Still, too many change orders may invalidate the contract. Protect yourself from too many change orders by doing the following.
1. Make sure the contract is clear
Business contracts tend to be wordy and complex, but yours should not be. Make sure your contract terms are clear and detailed. Be upfront with the contractor about what work you expect. If your contract is ambiguous, your contractor may misinterpret what you want. That could result in change orders and delays as well as an increased price.
2. Be specific about communication
Include specific terms in the contract about requests for information. Agree on a way the contractor will communicate with you about any issues that arise.
3. Include a detailed change order clause in the contract
Be sure to include a clause that says that for any change order to be valid, both parties must agree to the new terms. Also, agree on a standard for pricing for change orders.
Finally, be aware that some change orders are inevitable in any construction job. The property may have a latent, or hidden, defect no one could have foreseen. A detailed contract helps you prepare for the unexpected.