By Pavel Bigas, President of Novacon Construction Inc.
Every renovation project will have changes; it’s inevitable. It could be a simple thing like changing the type of flooring, or it could be more complicated like completely altering the kitchen layout. What’s important is properly documenting the change request, any implications, and formally approving the change in the contract documents.
What’s included in a change request?
One of my biggest concerns as a professional RenoMark renovator is a client who’s unhappy with the result of a change they requested during their renovation.
A professional renovator needs to translate your verbal change requests to a written document outlining the details, then communicate to you any associated cost and schedule implications. You’ll have a chance to review and approve the change(s) – this is the most important part of the change process. If you don’t approve the change order document, the contractor will have to adhere to the original contract and design. This approach protects both you and your contractor.
Your written contract needs to outline the proper steps to be taken when requesting any changes during your renovation. This will include items such as associated management or processing fees and timeframes for your approvals. For example, if you want to change the kitchen layout from the design you and your contractor had originally set out with, it’s your responsibility as the homeowner to make decisions and send approvals/edits to the change documents in a timely fashion. Otherwise, construction delays may happen which could be costly, and come out of your budget.
What if the change I request doesn’t cost anything?
Changes that don’t cost anything still need to be properly documented. You may ask for a small change – like moving an electrical outlet before it’s finished – during a progress check. This needs to be recorded in writing, either through a site visit report or an email exchange between you and your renovator. This documentation proves you’re both on the same page and protects everyone involved. It’s important to understand that although a smaller alteration may not have cost anything to you as the homeowner, your contractor will incur staff time/costs to process the change and make it happen.
Remember, communication is key in any successful renovation. Regular meetings with your contractor to review the work, progress, next steps, and invoicing is a necessary part of any project. Being proactive is the best way for a project to stay on-track and on-budget.
The ultimate goal for a professional renovator is to make sure that the homeowner gets the beautiful home that they wanted and only pays what they are supposed to. No client should be charged for work they didn’t request or approve, and your contractor should be paid per the terms of the contract.
Have a question? Get in touch!
If this column has you thinking about a past or future renovation, send us a line at email@example.com. Then look for the answers to your questions in the next Ask a RenoMark Renovator column.