Avoiding Change Orders in Public School Construction

Web Abstract: 
Increased student enrollment and the current poor state of the educational infrastructure require the construction of more school buildings and the renovation of many of the existing ones. The large number and magnitude of change orders in these projects constitute an impediment to the rapid and economic delivery of these projects. A total of 6,585 change orders filed in a school district's projects in the 5 1/2 year period from 1999 to 2004 were analyzed in five categories including owner-directed changes, code compliance issues, errors/omissions in contract documents, discovered or changed conditions, and others. The results of the study indicate that the dollar value of change orders relative to the original contract can be reduced if preventive measures are taken. These measures include choosing the right construction management firm, emphasizing the definition of project scope early in the project, and effectively managing the precontract activities by conducting value engineering and constructability reviews. The results indicate that school projects can be completed with change orders not exceeding 5% of the contract value if these measures are taken. This study is of relevance to practitioners involved in school design and construction projects. [Authors' abstract]
Günhan, Suat; Arditi, David; and Doyle, Jacqueline
Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice
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