A Broader Definition of a Change on a Construction Project

The first step for contractors improving their management of changes on a project is simply earlier identification.

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As contractors get more involved in advanced preconstruction services on projects, this ability to identify changes early in the design-development process becomes a competitive advantage. 

The first step in early identification is to broaden the definition of a change.  

Accept that a change is any material deviation from your planned execution of the project.  

This starts with a broader overview of the project, ultimately breaking it down into “Good Tasks” that can be started and then completed without interruption.  

Considering there are two basic outcomes of a task: “On-Schedule” and “On-Budget,” you want to identify any material deviations. Systems like the Last Planner (LPS) help project teams stay on track and better able to manage changes effectively.


  • Not all changes are good and not all are bad.

  • You will get compensated for some, while others you won’t.

  • You can learn from all changes, including how to identify them earlier and possibly mitigate them all together. 

Change Orders
Change orders are a fact of life in construction. Improve profitability, cash flow and customer satisfaction by effectively managing changes. Build a foundation for success with 12 steps to improve pricing and 11 negotiating strategies for the whole project team....

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Change Orders
Change orders are a fact of life in construction. Improve profitability, cash flow and customer satisfaction by effectively managing changes. Build a foundation for success with 12 steps to improve pricing and 11 negotiating strategies for the whole project team....

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Changes and Cash Flow Improvement
Construction is a cash-intensive business and change orders are often one of the root causes of poor cash flow. A 30-day improvement to change management workflow can generate over $400K in additional cash flow for a $50M contractor.
Two Planning Dimensions
Some of the impacts you see on a project are not as clear as a design change, conflict, or obviously changed condition. Some impacts, such as poor project sequencing or congested work areas are hard to notice if you don’t have good tracking systems.