Lessons Learned on Reducing Change Orders

Change orders are an inevitable part of the construction process; everyone involved in construction knows that they are coming and dislikes dealing with the typical confrontational environment that they frequently generate. Yet, most owners and their project managers receive little or no training in how to avoid unnecessary change orders or how to effectively and efficiently manage the change order process for legitimate changes in the scope of a project. This paper examines specific lessons learned on recent projects and offers recommendations on how to reduce the number and magnitude of change orders. The authors analyzed records from typical projects in the education and healthcare sectors and classified the change orders into category type. The results of the analysis indicate that there are specific steps that, if implemented, should reduce the number of change orders on the project.