What is a change order and how do I avoid them? | Kansas City construction experts

Engineering group collaborating on preconstruction

Sometimes life happens, and an element of your original construction plan may have to change. That’s where a change order comes in. A change order is a document that records any changes to an original design or construction plan. 

But if you’re trying to stick to a budget, too many change orders may hurt you in the long run. McCownGordon Construction understands that sometimes unforeseen problems arise, but we believe that thorough collaboration between all parties and a well-thought-out construction plan can greatly reduce those surprises. 

Keep reading to learn more about change orders and the best way to avoid them in your upcoming construction project. 

How does a change order affect a construction project?

Whenever you need extra services that weren’t established in your original plan, a contractor will require a change order form. This allows them to keep note of extra items they have to bill you, and it also changes the scope of your overall budget. You can also use change orders to adjust the project schedule, and in some instances they can even be $0.

Keep in mind that a change order is an amendment to your contract that acts as an agreement between owners, general contractors and trade partners acknowledging the addition or removal of certain elements. 

A change order typically includes:

  • A detailed description of the change(s) in comparison to the original contract or bid
  • Itemized documentation of trade partner cost changes
  • Total cost of the change(s) and how they will impact the overall budget
  • How the change(s) will affect the construction schedule

How to avoid change orders

In some instances, change orders may not be 100% avoidable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take precautions to steer clear of them. One of the best ways to fully prepare your project and discover potential problems before they become surprises is through advanced preconstruction services.  

McCownGordon’s preconstruction services don’t just encompass cost estimating—we look at all factors such as scheduling, workforce, resource availability and more to ensure that we are working within budget to meet your goals. 

Everything You Should Know About Preconstruction in the Midwest →

Through this planning process, we are often able to avoid many instances of change orders by anticipating both the short-term and long-term needs of your organization—and work that into your plan from the start.

That’s why your project’s success stems from working with you the moment design begins. That way we can provide an all-hands-on-deck approach toward problem solving that involves a whole team of people. Oftentimes, when design and construction are separated, it’s more difficult to foresee any challenges that could eventually lead to a change order.

Keep in mind that the earlier we get involved with a project, the less likely you will face change orders. How early we step in is based on the delivery method you choose. If you’re unsure about which method will work best for you, feel free to contact our team, and we’ll be happy to guide you. 

What is a change order?: Learn more from McCownGordon Construction

At McCownGordon, our team of builders and engineers maintain a customer-focused mentality, allowing us to outperform even your highest expectations. Dedicated to promoting integrity, performance and relationships, it’s our people and values that truly make the difference. 

Our customers aren’t simply another project; they’re an extension of our team and community. Together, we don’t just build—we bring creative visions to life. From first thought to final nail, we deliver quality work to ensure our builds stand above the rest. 

We have three regional offices around the Midwest—Kansas City, Manhattan and Wichita. Call us at 888-304-4929 or use our free online quote tool to start building today. 

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