How to Deal More Effectively With Change Orders & Design Changes

Change orders are one of the most dreaded things that an estimator has to deal with in a project. They could occur when the owner simply changes their mind—someone might decide they want a metal roof instead of the asphalt shingle roof that had originally been chosen, for instance. Changes might also occur when a conflict arises between trades. Regardless of the circumstances, keeping track of a long list of change orders is tedious. Fortunately for us, technology can come to our rescue. Here are three simple ways to deal more effectively with changes during a project.

1. Use software to track revisions.

The first thing that probably comes to an estimator’s mind when they think about design changes is revisions. You might be working with 100 pages on the day the bid is due only to receive an extra 60 pages full of changes. Now you’ve got to go find them. Software like PlanSwift is terrific at helping you perform such an onerous task. Estimating software like Sigma also allows you to create custom fields/columns and organize all the costs collected for a change order under one heading.

2. Leverage alternates instead of duplicating work.

Back in the old days, if you dropped something out of the estimate, you would have to write up the estimate all over again. Estimating software like Sigma allows you to drag and drop an item that’s been deleted and turn it into an alternate. It takes the item out of the estimate total, but you don’t lose the history of what was previously included. Now all you have to do is choose the alternate and you’re right back where you were.

3. Keep costs organized and easily visible.

Whether you’re dealing with change orders after the contract was signed or revisions during the estimate, it’s really a matter of keeping track of the costs and being able to present them in an organized manner. That way you’ll be able to follow the steps of exactly how you got to the number you’re using. These items are easy to track with dedicated estimating software. You can simply create a revision number heading to contain all the relevant changes. Then you can drag and drop all the items from other sections of your estimate that have been taken out into that heading. It’s an extremely versatile feature, particularly because you can later produce an insight report showing the owner exactly the information they want to see.

If you need assistance with using Sigma to track and organize changes, please don’t hesitate to contact support.