True Builder – the Why Behind Initial Change Documents

On every project there will be questions, clarifications and changes.  It is an infinite game.  Having a system in place to document and track the changes as they occur is one of the keys to a successful project.  The changes fall into three general categories:

  1. Changes to the work without a change in cost
  2. Changes in the work that result in agreed cost or time extension
  3. Changes in the work that result in a disagreement in cost or time

These change can come in many forms:  RFP – Request For Proposal, SI – Supplemental Instructions, Owner Verbal Direction, Architect Verbal Direction, CCD – Construction Change Directive, RFI – Request For Information. 

When Tracking and documenting these changes you do not initially know what category they will fall into.  So, you need to put a system in place to document all potential changes for the worst case… You cannot predict but you can prepare. 

It is a dichotomy…all issues should be documented and tracked like they will be a claim while working with the owner and architect in an up front manner to resolve all issues without going to claim.  

Your job as a project administrator is to track, document, and organize for the worst case… like an insurance policy… hoping you never need to use it.  The superintendent must take action to implement the change in the field.  The Project Manager must oversee the process and be sure to resolve any conflicts.

Safety – Safety includes risk too.  Risk of not implementing a critical change, costing money, structural integrity issues… all are critical to the project

Quality – Finishes, material types and installation procedures change and must be communicated and approved to be sure the end product is correct

Time – Follow up, follow through, and approval of the changes and questions must be timely to allow the project to keep moving forward on schedule

Cost – Changes that include cost must be communicated and approved to allow all parties to agree on the cost impact prior to proceeding with the work..

The initial change documents are the starters for all changes on a project.  Follow up and follow through is the critical in moving the project forward while maintaining proper approvals..

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