Same-Day Delivery Makes Last-Minute Change Orders Easier

Alice Warnier

May 7, 2024

Alice Warnier

Change orders in construction—every project manager's headache. But what if managing these unexpected twists could be less chaotic? Whether it's a last-minute material need or a sudden design pivot, knowing how to handle these changes swiftly can keep your project on track and under budget. Here's how you can master construction change orders with smart strategies and the right support.

Understanding Change Orders in Construction

Let’s dive into what exactly change orders in construction are and why they happen so frequently. 

What is a Change Order

Let’s take a step back. What exactly is a change order? It involves a change in the scope of work. It can be either an addition or a subtraction, and it's agreed upon between the contractor and owner.

Autodesk adds, “A change order represents a mutual agreement to change the work, schedule, price, or other terms of the contract.” In addition, they typically lead to cost overruns.

Common Causes of Change Orders in Construction

Let's dive into some typical reasons these changes are needed:

  • Mistakes in the Plans: Sometimes, the original specs or drawings aren't just right — maybe they're unclear, incomplete, or just plain wrong.
  • Surprises on Site: Ever hit a massive rock while digging? Or found water where it shouldn't be? The unexpected is standard in construction sites.
  • Late Arrivals: When workers or materials show up late, it can push everything back.
  • Budget Busters: Often, the initial budgets and timelines are just too optimistic.
  • Changing Minds: Especially in homes, what if the owner decides they want an extra bathroom or a different kitchen layout halfway through?

These issues can arise at any stage of the project, disrupting even the best plans. They can have a major impact too.

The Impact of Change Orders on Construction Projects

Before we get into solutions, let’s take a closer look at how these changes can cause headaches in timelines, budgets, and client relationships.

How Change Orders Affect Project Timelines

Imagine you're building a house and suddenly, the plan shifts from fiberglass to cellulose insulation. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast. This switch means waiting for new supplies to arrive. Meanwhile, your crew is on standby, and the clock is ticking. Every day spent waiting is a day lost in the project timeline. 

Cost Implications of Change Orders

Construction change orders are not just a scheduling headache; they hit the wallet, too. When project specs change, costs can spiral. You might have to rush out to buy what you need at a premium price. In construction, this might mean hiring additional labor, rushing order materials, or even paying penalties for delays.

Change Orders and Client Relations

And let’s talk about your clients. They’re expecting the project finished on time and within budget. When construction change orders occur, the extra time and cost can strain relationships. Keeping clients in the loop and managing their expectations from the start can help mitigate dissatisfaction.

Managing Change Orders Effectively

Navigating change orders doesn't have to be a nightmare. With the right practices and tools, you can turn potential chaos into a structured process. Here’s how:

Best Practices in Change Order Management

To start, make sure your team has procedures in place for how you handle change orders. That should be documented and employees should be trained on it. 

Part of that process is staying organized and keeping thorough records of every change, including agreements and adjustments. Regular team meetings and maintaining clear communication are essential. Making sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities helps prevent misunderstandings and keeps the project on track.

 Photo of an excavator and pvc pipe on a construction site
Construction change orders often require new material and equipment on site

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Implementing a Transparent Change Order Process

Transparency helps with managing construction change orders effectively. Here's a more detailed look at how to ensure your process remains clear and consistent:

Document Every Detail

Record everything: Each change order should be documented with all relevant details including the reason for the change, the new requirements, and the expected impacts on the project timeline and budget.

Use standardized forms: Adopt standardized change order forms that prompt for all necessary information. This makes sure nothing is overlooked and simplifies the review process for everyone involved.

Ensure Stakeholder Approval

Get written approvals: Before any work proceeds, get written approval from all key stakeholders. 

Clarify responsibilities: Clearly outline who is responsible for what in the context of the change order. This minimizes disputes and misunderstandings later on.

Communicate Proactively

Regular updates: Keep everyone informed with regular updates. When a change order is initiated, communicate this with all parties involved as soon as possible.

Hold alignment meetings: Schedule meetings to discuss significant changes. This gives everyone a chance to voice concerns and ask questions, ensuring alignment before moving forward.

Use Clear, Accessible Language

Avoid jargon: Use plain language that is easy to understand for all parties involved, regardless of their expertise. This is especially important in documents that require client approval.

Provide examples or diagrams: Where possible, include visual aids like diagrams or sketches to help clarify what the change entails. This can be helpful for complex changes.

Technologies that Aid in Change Order Management

Adopting technology can help manage construction change orders. Here are several key tech categories to streamline your process: 

Project Management Software

Centralized Communication: Use project management software that centralizes all communications, changes, and documentation. This keeps everyone from the project manager to the on-site workers informed and aligned with current project statuses and updates.

Automated Updates: These tools can automatically notify relevant parties about changes, ensuring immediate awareness and response.

Logistics Software

Efficient Material Handling: Sophisticated logistics software helps manage the flow of materials from suppliers to job sites. It becomes indispensable when change orders require sudden shifts in material needs.

Curri's Same-Day Delivery: Curri provides swift same-day delivery of construction materials to address urgent material requirements. Distributors, suppliers, and construction companies use it nation-wide to get the right materials to the right place on time. 

Screenshot of Curri’s delivery platform
Curri lets you book on-demand deliveries for any type of material

BIM Software (Building Information Modeling)

Detailed Modeling: BIM software offers detailed 3D modeling of construction projects, allowing teams to foresee potential issues and adjust plans before they lead to costly change orders.

Collaborative Revisions: With BIM, changes can be simulated and reviewed by all stakeholders in real time, enhancing decision-making and reducing the need for physical reworks.

Financial Tracking Tools

Cost Tracking and Control: Financial software tailored for construction projects can track the immediate and cumulative cost impacts of change orders. This helps with budget management.

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Role of Same-Day Courier Services in Managing Change Orders

Quick and efficient material delivery can make a huge difference in managing construction change orders. Here’s how same-day courier services from Curri mitigate issues caused by sudden changes.

Benefits of Same-Day Courier for Urgent Material Needs

When change orders in construction arise, they often require immediate adjustments to materials and equipment. Delays in obtaining these can stall projects, pushing timelines and swelling costs. Same-day courier services shine in these scenarios, offering:

  • Rapid Response: Ability to quickly adapt to new demands, getting materials on-site as soon as they're needed.
  • Reduced Downtime: Minimizing the waiting period for essential supplies keeps your workforce active and productive, avoiding costly delays.
  • Enhanced Project Flexibility: Quick material and equipment replenishment allows for greater flexibility in managing project specifications and timelines. With Curri’s delivery services, you can track deliveries in real-time and plan accordingly. 
Image of a Curri truck delivering lumber
A Curri driver delivering lumber

How Quick Delivery Can Reduce Construction Delays

The speed at which materials are replaced or supplied following a change order can critically determine the pace of a construction project. Same-day couriers help maintain momentum by:

  • Preventing Bottlenecks: Making sure that no single missing item holds up the progress of the entire project.
  • Streamlining Supply Chains: Reducing the complexity and length of the supply chain, cutting out unnecessary waiting times for material delivery.
  • Improving Client Satisfaction: Faster project completion rates lead to happier clients, enhancing your company’s reputation for reliability and efficiency.

Curri’s Solution: Case Studies and Success Stories

Curri’s impact can be best illustrated through real-world applications. A compelling case study is Coburn’s Supply Company, an HVAC and plumbing supply company. They faced significant challenges with their logistics operations. 

Before working with Curri, Coburn’s was grappling with high costs and inefficiencies in their trucking operations, which strained their ability to manage change orders effectively.

The Transformation:

By switching to Curri’s on-demand fleet for their delivery needs, Coburn’s was able to save approximately $150,000 annually in trucking costs. Curri’s flexible, on-demand delivery model allowed them to adjust quickly to varying project demands and change orders without the burden of maintaining a large fleet or dealing with the logistics of last-minute deliveries.

The Outcome:

This strategic shift not only improved their operational efficiency but also enhanced their ability to handle unexpected changes swiftly. It saved the business money and got material on job sites faster. 

Table showing Curri’s fleet of on-demand vehicles
Curri’s fleet of on-demand vehicles can delivery anything you need

FAQs About Construction Change Orders

What is the most common reason for a construction change order?

Unexpected issues often lead to change orders. Whether it's uncovering unforeseen site conditions like underground pipes or changes requested by the client, these surprises can significantly alter the original plan. Planning flexibility into your project from the start can help accommodate these changes more smoothly.

How do I communicate a change order to a client effectively?

Start by explaining the reason for the change. Use simple terms and avoid industry jargon to make sure the client understands. Provide a detailed breakdown of the impact on the schedule and budget. Being transparent about these changes fosters trust and helps maintain a positive relationship with your client.

Can change orders be avoided?

Not always, but you can reduce them. Thorough planning and a detailed initial assessment can minimize the likelihood of change orders. Regularly involving experts who can foresee potential problems and using advanced technology to simulate construction phases can also help reduce the frequency of change orders.

Streamline Construction with Curri

Last-minute construction change orders? No problem. With Curri, managing these unexpected hiccups becomes a breeze.

Streamline with Speed: Curri specializes in rapid delivery. We make sure that the materials you need reach your job site swiftly. This means less waiting around for essentials.

Cost-Effective Solutions: With Curri, you're not just saving time; you're also cutting costs. Avoid the expense of project delays and the need for urgent, often expensive, procurement methods. Our efficient delivery service helps keep your budget in check.

Whether it's a sudden need for different materials or a quick replacement of equipment, Curri has your back. Keep your construction project on pace and under budget with our reliable, same-day delivery service. You can book a delivery here or schedule a demo to learn more. 

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