Go Honest or go Home…
Clients don’t want to hear the C Word. Decent Contractors don’t want to say it unless it’s a client requesting change or an unforeseen occurrence. CHANGE ORDER. There I said it. For those unfamiliar, a change order is an additional cost to the client that comes up during the project. There are many legitimate Change Orders. But it’s important to be able to spot the difference.
When a project is priced properly there is a lot to be taken into consideration. Construction is much like math. There are drawings that specify calculated detail including materials. The project should have a walk through and always be physically seen as well. There is always much to be discovered that can’t be inferred from the drawings.
With all of this, the Contractor should be able to come up with a FAIR estimate that encompasses potential changes , add alternates, allowances and note any potential unforeseen challenges that they may see.
Sounds simple, easy peasy right?! Not so fast ….Here is where your eyes should begin to squint….
Many General Contractors will not price the project accurately (you don’t say?) and not identify potential add-alternates or unforeseen challenges, allowances and present an incomplete and much lower estimate (GASP!).
Let me say that again, in case you missed it,
“Many General Contractors will not price the project accurately and not identify potential add-alternates or unforeseen challenges and present an incomplete and much lower estimate.”
Let’s let that sink in, the GC appears to have the lowest and best quote and promises the same completion schedule. Suddenly the complete and accurate quote looks high and expensive ?!?!!! This is where the “C” word rears its head….
CHANGE ORDER TIME IS ON THE WAY!! In the spirit of Oprah, you get a change order, you get a change order, you get the idea.
I have seen it time and time again. The project gets under way and the client is hit over the head with change orders. Often, times the project ends up exceeding the “The expensive (yet accurate) quote” and the clients find themselves in a contentious relationship with their contractor which makes the entire project run sour. This is an unfortunate occurrence that can be avoided. Many larger renovation projects are lengthy in time and fighting with your GC is not a place you want to be. This is an exciting time and should be spent smiling.
Your General Contractor should be your ally that advocates for you. They should sit with you and review the drawings and pricing and potential hiccups. They can help identify what may be missing from the low bidders numbers for clarification. There can always be unforeseen occurrences but the important thing is the trust you have with the General Contractor you choose.