Can You Work With a Commercial General Contractor Without Paying a Fortune in Change Orders?

“While you’re at it …” Using that phrase with a commercial general contractor means you’ve just initiated what’s called change order – something that goes beyond what was specified in the original project scope or price. In commercial construction, those change orders can really mount up, adding a hefty percentage to the final cost of your space remodeling or renovation.

Given that change orders push up the price of a project, you’d think commercial general contractors would welcome them. Some may, but we don’t. That’s because anything that adds “surprise” costs or delays to a project reduces the client’s satisfaction. And that’s why we use processes up front to try to minimize the need for change orders.

Now, let me say right away that it’s not always possible to avoid change orders completely. You can encounter last-minute requirements from a municipality or a space planning need can crop up mid-project that simply couldn’t have been anticipated up front. Complexity can be part and parcel of developing space that’s commercial. General contractors, however, can minimize change orders by making sure that everything they can control is covered in the plans and in the bid. As a veteran commercial general contractor, I can tell you that while this upfront detail work is challenging, it’s absolutely possible. Plus, the more years of experience someone has as a commercial general contractor, the more scenarios they know to anticipate.

Another source of change orders is when clients speak directly with subcontractors and ask for changes. The process you want here is for that subcontractor to communicate immediately with the commercial general contractor. Not only does the commercial general contractor need to authorize any changes, he can often eliminate the need for the change order by working with the subcontractor to see if what the client is requesting actually falls within the original scope of the work the sub agreed to perform.

We have an excellent track record working commercial. General contractor control is delivered at a high level from the bidding phase on and it’s one practice we use to minimize costly change orders and bring remodeling and renovation projects in on time and on budget.

Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to get even more tips & trends