- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 04 Sep 2020
Change order for construction contracts
In project management, a change order (or variation order) is a component of the change management process in which changes in the scope of work (or project brief) agreed to by the client, contractor and architect are implemented.
A change order is work that is added to or deleted from the original scope of work of a contract, which alters the original contract amount and/or completion date. A change order may force a new project to handle significant changes to the current project.
Change orders are common to most projects, and very common on large projects. After the original scope (or contract) is formed, complete with the total price to be paid and the specific work to be completed, a client may decide that the original plans do not best represent their definition for the finished project. Accordingly, the client will suggest an alternate approach.
- The project's work was incorrectly estimated.
- The client or project team discover obstacles or possible efficiencies that require them to deviate from the original plan.
- The client or project team are inefficient or incapable of completing their required deliverables within budget, and additional money, time, or resources must be added to the project
- During the course of the project, additional features or options are perceived and requested.
- The contractor looks for work items to add to the original scope of work at a later time in order to achieve the lowest possible base bid price, but then add work items and fee back on once they have been appointed. This is an exploitative practice.
A project manager then typically generates a change order that describes the new work to be done (or not done in some cases), and the price to be paid for this new work. Once this change order is submitted and approved it generally serves to alter the original contract such that the change order now becomes part of the contract.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Tips for civil engineers and other construction professionals.
Updated credential recognition regulations introduced.
New disciplines that are worth keeping.
IHBC members encouraged to update violations database.
Non-obtrusive security sensors can help deter intruders.
Adopting a fabric first approach to efficiency.
Government emphasises training for construction and engineering trades.
ECA and SELECT offer assistance to members set back by delays.
The virtual learning event examines Historic Places - People Places.
Getting post-pandemic infrastructure on the right track.
One of England's grandest country houses.
Take just two minutes to provide your feedback.