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How Change Orders Work in Construction


In construction, change orders are often an inevitable part of the process.

These modifications to the original contract or plan can arise for various reasons, making them a focal point for builders, contractors, and clients alike.

This article goes into the intricacies of change orders, their significance, the common types of changes encountered, and the innovative ways software solutions like BuilderPad can make their management simpler.

What is a change order?

A change order is an official document detailing any modifications to the initial contract terms, specifications, or construction plans. Reasons for such changes might encompass unexpected site conditions, client-driven requests, overlooked details in the preliminary plan, or other unforeseen factors.

Change orders, although common in the construction industry, can have cascading impacts on various facets of a project. Beyond the primary adjustments to scope, cost, or schedule, they can influence multiple stakeholders and processes integral to construction:

1. Disruption in Work Flow

When a change order is initiated, it can disrupt the current sequence of activities. Tasks might need to be halted, postponed, or even reversed to accommodate the change.

2. Impact on Subcontractors

Subcontractors can be significantly impacted by change orders:

  • Rework: They might have to redo some of their completed tasks.
  • Rescheduling: Subcontractors might need to reschedule their tasks, which can affect other projects they’re involved in.
  • Cost implications: Any change can also mean increased costs for subcontractors, which needs to be negotiated and covered.

3. Procurement Delays

Material orders might need to be modified, postponed, or canceled. This can lead to renegotiating with suppliers or even paying penalties for late cancellations.

4. Permit and Inspection Issues

If the changes are significant, it might require re-application for certain permits or getting re-inspected, leading to potential delays.

5. Financial Implications

Beyond the direct costs associated with the change, there can be indirect costs:

  • Administrative: Costs related to documenting the change, communicating with stakeholders, and other overheads.
  • Operational: Delays can mean extended equipment rentals, labor costs, or site overheads.

6. Design Revisions

Significant changes might require modifications in design documents, which would mean more work for architects and designers.

7. Quality Implications

Hasty changes can sometimes result in compromised work quality. Without proper planning, the end product might not be up to the standards expected.

8. Client Relations

Continuous change orders can strain the relationship between contractors and clients. While some changes are unavoidable, a project that constantly shifts can cause frustration and decrease trust.

9. Impact on Labor

Repeated changes can affect worker morale and productivity. It’s challenging for teams to continually adapt to moving targets, and it can be demotivating if they feel their hard work gets undone.

10. Timeline Extensions

Almost all change orders will result in some extension of the project timeline. This not only impacts the current project but can also have cascading effects on other projects that the contractor or subcontractors have lined up.

11. Safety Concerns

Frequent changes can sometimes overlook safety protocols, leading to increased risks on site.

12. Legal Implications

Especially if the change orders aren’t properly documented or if there are disputes about who bears the additional costs, it can lead to legal complications.

13. Stakeholder Communication

Change orders necessitate increased communication with all stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page. This can mean more meetings, documentation, and discussions.

In essence, while change orders are an inherent part of construction projects, they undeniably ripple through multiple layers of the construction process. Effective management, clear communication, and tools that streamline change order processing can significantly mitigate their potential negative impacts.

Types of changes in construction

Throughout the construction journey, different types of changes may arise, necessitating the formulation of a change order:

  • Design changes: Alterations linked to architectural or engineering perspectives.
  • Site conditions: Discrepancies between the actual site conditions and initial expectations.
  • Material changes: Modifications in material types or quality.
  • Scope changes: Adjustments to the project’s breadth or scale.
  • Regulatory changes: Updates or changes in local laws, building codes, or environmental regulations.
  • Error corrections: Corrections needed due to mistakes or misinterpretations in the original plans.
  • Safety concerns: Changes made to address potential safety hazards recognized during the construction phase.

Why are change orders important?

Understanding the importance of change orders offers clarity in managing project alterations. Here are the primary reasons they hold significance:

  • Documented record: Providing a clear, written account of all post-contract changes.
  • Cost management: Equipping stakeholders with the ability to adjust project finances according to changes.
  • Time adjustments: Allowing for modifications to the overall project timeline based on the changes implemented.

How do change orders work?

Navigating the change order process involves several crucial steps. Here’s a breakdown of how they typically function:

  • Initiation: The inception of a potential change, identified by either the owner, architect, or contractor.
  • Documentation: Recording the proposed change via a formalized change order form.
  • Review & approval: Stakeholders collaboratively assess the feasibility and implications of the change order, leading to its approval or revision.
  • Implementation: Post-approval, the construction team incorporates the changes as documented.
  • Adjustments: Finalizing the changes by modifying the original contract to reflect the newly agreed-upon terms.

How can BuilderPad help?

Navigating change orders can be intricate, but BuilderPad, a construction management software, is tailored to simplify this aspect:

Real-time collaboration:

Enable stakeholders to collaboratively review, discuss, and sanction change orders swiftly.

Builderpad’s activity feed keeps everyone updated on the process and how changes impact the whole project.

Timeline analysis:

Get a clear understanding how changes impact timeline and progress completion. Keep the client, subcontractors and co-workers updated on everything that is going on.

Get a clear understanding how changes impact timeline and progress completion.

Record keeping:

Archive all change orders, ensuring easy access and future reference.

Construction Change Orders: Q&A

Q: How do you prevent unnecessary change orders?

A: Proactive planning, meticulous site surveys, and continuous dialogue can diminish avoidable change orders. Platforms like BuilderPad also offer early detection of potential discrepancies.

Q: Are all change orders billable to the client?

A: It varies. While contractor-induced changes might be absorbed by the contractor, client-initiated changes usually translate to additional costs for the client.

Q: How can one ensure that change orders don’t derail the project timeline?

A: Leveraging efficient tools like BuilderPad can proactively manage resources and tasks, ensuring that the project remains on schedule.

Q: Can clients decline a change order?

A: Absolutely. Especially if they perceive it as unnecessary or if it goes beyond their budget. Therefore, maintaining transparent communication is pivotal to mutual comprehension.

To conclude, while change orders remain a routine component in construction, with modern tools like BuilderPad, overseeing them becomes infinitely more organized and effective.

Turn Concerns into Solutions: Navigating Client Feedback in Construction & Remodeling


In the dynamic realm of construction and remodeling, client feedback – positive or negative – is an invaluable asset.

While positive feedback boosts morale and builds trust, negative feedback or complaints provide opportunities for growth, learning, and enhancing client relations.

Here’s a guide to effectively navigating client feedback in the construction and remodeling sector, enriched with the capabilities of BuilderPad.

1. Listen Actively

Before diving into problem-solving, it’s vital to understand the client’s perspective. Active listening involves:

  • Giving the client your undivided attention.
  • Avoiding interruptions or making premature judgments.
  • Asking open-ended questions to grasp the full scope of their concerns.
  • Reflecting back their concerns to ensure clarity.
  • Being patient, even if the feedback is intense or emotional.

BuilderPad’s communication channels can help log and track all client communications, ensuring that no concern goes unnoticed or unresolved.

Client communication

2. Acknowledge and Empathize

Validation goes a long way. Recognize their feelings and concerns. Statements like, “I understand why you feel this way,” or “Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” can make clients feel heard and valued.

  • Empathy can transform a confrontational scenario into a collaborative one.
  • It’s not just about acknowledging the issue but genuinely understanding its impact on the client.

BuilderPad’s features ensure every client interaction, including complaints, is stored and referenced, fostering consistent and empathetic communication.

Activity feed

3. Document Everything

From the initial project blueprint to any changes in the design or materials, maintain thorough documentation. In case of complaints, these records can provide clarity, resolve misunderstandings, and offer tangible solutions.

  • Regular documentation helps avoid “he said, she said” scenarios and serves as a neutral point of reference.
  • It offers a clear trail of decisions, enhancing transparency and promoting trust.
  • Photographic or video evidence of progress can be invaluable, capturing real-time project evolution and condition.
  • Detailed documentation helps in ensuring that all parties involved — from contractors to subcontractors — are aligned and accountable for their roles.
  • In cases where legal or contractual disputes arise, well-maintained documentation can be an essential safeguard, providing clarity and evidence.

With its comprehensive documentation tools, BuilderPad ensures that every project detail, change order, and communication is archived and easily accessible.

4. Analyze the Root Cause

Every complaint has an underlying cause. Is it a communication breakdown, a lapse in quality control, or perhaps an unforeseen external factor? Pinpointing the cause is the first step toward effective resolution.

  • By addressing the root cause, you ensure the issue doesn’t repeat in future projects.
  • It showcases to the client a commitment to improvement.

5. Offer Solutions, Not Excuses

Clients are looking for solutions, not reasons or excuses. While it’s essential to provide context, the primary focus should be on how you plan to rectify the situation.

  • Solutions showcase professionalism and a proactive approach.
  • Being solution-oriented fosters trust and confidence in the client.
  • By addressing concerns directly, you convey a sense of responsibility and ownership of the project.
  • It’s not just about rectifying the present issue; it’s about setting a precedent for how future concerns will be handled, ensuring that the client feels secure in continuing the project with you.
  • Remember that every solution offered and successfully implemented can potentially turn a negative experience into a testimonial of your dedication and commitment.

Utilizing BuilderPad’s construction management tools, teams can quickly devise and implement action plans to address client concerns.

Overdue projects

6. Involve the Client in the Solution

Make the client an active part of the resolution process. This could be through regular updates on how you’re addressing their concerns or seeking their input on proposed solutions.

  • Clients feel valued when they’re part of the problem-solving journey.
  • It reinforces the collaborative nature of the builder-client relationship.

BuilderPad’s integrated communication channels enable real-time updates, ensuring clients are always in the loop.

7. Follow Up

After implementing a solution, check back with the client. Ensure they’re satisfied with the outcome and ask for feedback on how you handled their complaint.

  • Regular check-ins post-resolution further solidify trust.
  • It provides an opportunity to ensure the client feels valued and heard.

With its client management tools, BuilderPad facilitates timely follow-ups, ensuring continuity in communication.

8. Implement Preventative Measures

Use feedback as a tool for continuous improvement. If a particular complaint surfaces repeatedly, it might indicate a systemic issue that needs addressing.

  • Prevention is better than cure, especially in maintaining long-term client relationships.
  • Proactively addressing potential pitfalls showcases foresight and responsibility.

9. Educate Your Team

Ensure that your entire team, from site supervisors to customer service reps, is equipped to handle client feedback.

  • A well-informed team can address concerns promptly and effectively.
  • Continuous training ensures your team is always aligned with best practices.

Create and organize training materials, ensuring the team has easy access to resources and best practices.

10. Celebrate Positive Feedback

While addressing negative feedback is essential, it’s equally important to celebrate and acknowledge positive comments.

  • Positive reinforcement motivates teams to maintain high standards.
  • It showcases to the client that their positive feedback is valued and not taken for granted.

Use BuilderPad’s team communication features to share and celebrate positive client feedback, boosting team morale.

Conclusion

In construction and remodeling, building structures and building strong client relationships go hand in hand. Leveraging the capabilities of platforms like BuilderPad can revolutionize the way professionals navigate and address client feedback, ensuring projects not only reach completion but excel in client satisfaction.

To sum up: Here is a comprehensive list of solutions to cope with the problem of construction contingencies discussed in the article:

  • Set aside an adequate contingency fund: The article recommends 10-20% of total project costs to cover unexpected expenses. Determine the right percentage based on project complexity and risks.
  • Closely monitor contingency use: Track what the contingency is being used for to identify problem areas. Require approvals for contingency spending.
  • Update estimates frequently: As more details become available, update estimates to reduce surprises. Provide updated spending forecasts to stakeholders.
  • Manage change orders diligently: Scrutinize change orders to ensure validity, check for alternative solutions, negotiate pricing, and minimize impact.
  • Enforce contracts rigorously: Contracts should clearly define responsibilities and change order workflows to minimize disputes.
  • Improve communication: Keep all project stakeholders updated on budget and schedule changes to manage expectations.
  • Choose contractors carefully: Thoroughly vet contractors to reduce performance problems and unforeseen costs. Check references diligently.
  • Watch market conditions: Monitor material and labor costs and availability. Have contingency plans for sourcing constrained resources.
  • Refine estimating skills: Invest in training to improve cost forecasting capabilities. Learn from past project histories.
  • Implement controls: Use project management systems and procedures to control scope and costs.
  • Reduce customization: Limit project changes and avoid expensive custom elements if possible. Stick to proven designs.
  • Allow time buffers: Build in extra time to absorb delays without increasing costs through crash schedules.
  • Address risks proactively: Anticipate issues like permits, weather, staffing to minimize impacts. Have workarounds ready.
  • Pursue alternatives: Look for less costly procurement and design options if budgets are tight (e.g. value engineering).

A Guide to Residential Construction Contingencies for Builders: Managing the Unexpected


In the world of residential construction, it’s often said that the only predictable thing is unpredictability. Whether it’s unforeseen soil conditions or sudden spikes in material prices, every construction project has its share of surprises.

These unplanned incidents or costs are precisely why builders should understand and factor in construction contingencies.

This article explains the essentials of residential construction contingencies and offers insights for builders to navigate them effectively.

What Are Construction Contingencies?

At its core, a construction contingency is a reserve amount of money set aside to cover unforeseen expenses that arise during a building project. Typically expressed as a percentage of the overall construction budget, this reserve ensures that the project doesn’t stall when unexpected costs surface.

But to truly understand its significance, it’s vital to break down its multifaceted nature:

  1. Risk management: At its essence, a construction contingency is a risk management tool. It acknowledges the inherent uncertainties in any construction project, from geological surprises beneath the ground to sudden weather events that can delay work.
  2. Types of contingencies:
    • Design contingency: This is often used in the early stages of a project when the design is not yet finalized. As the design evolves and becomes more detailed, some elements might cost more than initially anticipated.
    • Construction contingency: This is for unforeseen events related directly to the building process, such as labor issues, equipment failures, or unexpected material cost hikes.
    • Owner’s contingency: Separate from the amounts that contractors set aside, this is a reserve that the project owner maintains to address changes they might want or unanticipated challenges that don’t fall under the purview of the contractor’s responsibilities.
  3. Calculation factors: While the contingency is often expressed as a percentage, the specific percentage isn’t arbitrary. It’s determined by evaluating various factors, including the project’s complexity, past experience, site conditions, project duration, and even the local regulatory environment.
  4. Evolution over time: As the project progresses and unknowns become knowns, the amount of contingency needed may decrease. Regularly revisiting and adjusting the contingency amount can free up resources or provide a clearer picture of the project’s financial health.
  5. Legal and contractual considerations: In many contracts, especially for large projects, the use of contingency funds and the conditions under which they can be tapped might be strictly defined. This ensures transparency between contractors and clients and sets clear guidelines for unforeseen expenses.

Why Are They Crucial for Residential Construction?

Unpredictable Conditions

Residential construction often involves working on sites that might have been untouched for years.

There could be unforeseen soil conditions, hidden water tables, or even buried remnants from past structures that can derail your initial plans.

Construction management software helps document and archive site assessments, ensuring that any unusual conditions are flagged and accounted for in both planning and budgeting.

Material Price Fluctuations

Economic factors can lead to sudden changes in the prices of essential construction materials. Having a contingency allows builders to proceed without compromising on quality.

With its inventory tracking and vendor communication features, BuilderPad enables builders to get real-time price updates, helping anticipate spikes and making the necessary budgetary adjustments.

Design Alterations

Sometimes, what looked good on paper may not materialize as expected, necessitating design alterations. These changes can increase costs.

By integrating design tools and allowing for change logs, BuilderPad ensures that any design modifications are instantly recorded and announced, keeping stakeholders informed.

Updates
Get notified of every progress update, delays and milestones

Regulatory Hurdles

Zoning laws and building codes can sometimes throw a wrench into the works. Staying compliant might mean additional work and expenses.

By providing a repository for latest regulatory guidelines and integrating them with project planning, BuilderPad ensures builders stay on top of compliance requirements.

How Much Should Be Set Aside?

While general guidelines suggest:

  • New Builds: 5-10% of the total budget.
  • Renovations: 10-20% of the total budget.

It’s essential to assess each project individually.

How much to set aside

There are several nuanced factors and considerations that builders should take into account to determine the appropriate contingency amount:

  1. Project Complexity: More complex projects with intricate designs, specialized materials, or cutting-edge technologies will inherently carry more uncertainties. Such projects might require a higher contingency allocation to cater to unexpected challenges or specialized solutions.
  2. Project Size and Duration: Longer projects tend to have more uncertainties, simply because they span across extended periods. Market conditions, labor rates, or even regulatory frameworks can change over time, necessitating a larger contingency reserve.
  3. Past Experience: Historical data and past project experiences are invaluable. If previous projects of similar nature frequently encountered unforeseen costs, it would be prudent to set aside a more generous contingency for upcoming endeavors.
  4. Site Conditions: Sites with unknown conditions, or those in challenging terrains (like waterfronts, hillsides, or dense urban environments) may necessitate a heftier contingency. If comprehensive site surveys haven’t been conducted, or if a site has a history of surprises, a higher contingency percentage might be in order.
  5. Economic Climate: In periods of economic volatility, material prices and labor costs can fluctuate more unpredictably. During such times, it might be wise to have a more substantial contingency to buffer against these fluctuations.
  6. Contractor’s Track Record: If working with a new contractor or one with a varied track record, it might be prudent to allocate a higher contingency. Conversely, a seasoned contractor with a stellar track record might justify a slightly lower contingency.
  7. Flexibility of Scope: If there’s a likelihood that the project scope might expand or change based on client feedback or evolving requirements, a more considerable contingency can help accommodate these changes without disrupting the project’s financial health.

Tips for Managing Construction Contingencies

Thorough Site Analysis

Before starting a project, conduct a detailed site analysis. This includes soil tests, site accessibility assessments, and reviews of any existing structures.

BuilderPad allows for easy upload, storage, and sharing of site reports, ensuring all involved parties are on the same page.

File storage BuilderPad
BuilderPad ensures all involved parties are on the same page.

Regular Budget Reviews

Ensure you’re reviewing the budget regularly, tracking contingency usage.

Open Communication

Keep clients and stakeholders informed about contingency usage and potential budget changes.

Through integrated communication channels, BuilderPad ensures everyone is updated in real-time, fostering trust and transparency.

communication
BuilderPad fosters effective communication between all parties involves in a construction or remodeling project

Flexible Planning

Be ready to adjust your construction approach based on emerging challenges.

With BuilderPad’s agile management, you can use tools that allow task adjustments, resource reallocation, and timeline shifts, the software ensures adaptability throughout the project lifecycle.

Conclusion

Construction contingencies are more than just a financial buffer; they’re a testament to a builder’s foresight and commitment to a project’s success.

By integrating knowledge about contingencies with powerful tools like BuilderPad, builders can ensure a streamlined, informed, and proactive approach to residential construction, consolidating their reputation as industry leaders.

How to Deal with Under-Performing Subcontractors


In the construction industry, the smooth coordination between contractors and subcontractors plays an instrumental role in the timely and successful completion of projects.

While many subcontractors maintain high standards of work and commitment, occasionally, one might encounter a subcontractor that doesn’t live up to expectations.

Such non-performing subcontractors can create bottlenecks, leading to time delays, increased costs, and potential legal complications.

Here’s how you can proactively deal with such situations:

1. Open Communication

The importance of open communication cannot be overemphasized. Most problems in the construction sector arise from miscommunication or lack thereof.

  • Channels of Communication: Establish regular channels such as weekly meetings, status reports, and even casual site visits. This not only keeps everyone aligned but also helps build rapport.
  • Early Intervention: The moment you notice a decline in the performance of a subcontractor, it’s crucial to address it immediately. Early intervention can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.
  • Clarify Expectations: Ensure that the subcontractor clearly understands the project’s goals, quality standards, and timelines. A lack of understanding can sometimes be the root of underperformance.
  • Feedback: A two-way feedback mechanism is vital. While you must provide feedback to the subcontractor, it’s equally essential to encourage them to communicate any issues they might be facing. This reciprocal relationship fosters understanding and cooperation. Regularly provide feedback, both positive and constructive, to keep the subcontractor informed about how they’re doing.

2. Detailed Documentation

Keeping meticulous records is crucial, especially when dealing with non-performance.

  • Contract Clarity: Before starting any project, the contract should clearly detail the scope of work, quality standards, payment terms, and performance metrics.
  • Monitor Progress: Regularly update and review project timelines, deliverables, and milestones. Documenting delays and issues can be useful if disputes arise.

Using BuilderPad can be an asset here. It allows for efficient project management and progress tracking, ensuring all stakeholders are updated on the project status.

Activity feed

By centralizing data, BuilderPad can help keep track of any discrepancies, thereby providing evidence if discussions about performance become necessary.

Accurate documentation is the backbone of any contractual relationship.

  • Change Orders: Any changes to the initial contract, no matter how minor, should be documented formally in change orders. This ensures clarity and avoids disputes later.
  • Photographic Evidence: In the digital age, using photos and videos to document progress or lack thereof is easy and can be invaluable in the future.

3. Performance Review Meetings

Establish regular review meetings to discuss performance. This structured communication can help in:

  • Identifying Challenges: Understand any roadblocks the subcontractor might be facing. It could be related to resources, funds, or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Setting New Targets: If the original timelines are no longer achievable due to the subcontractor’s delays, set new targets to get the project back on track.

4. Consider Financial Incentives

If the subcontractor is essential to your project, you might consider introducing financial incentives to boost their performance.

Motivation can sometimes come from aligning financial interests.

  • Performance-Based Contracts: Instead of fixed contracts, consider contracts where a portion of the payment is tied to performance metrics.
  • Early Payment Benefits: Offer discounts or benefits for early invoice payments. This can be especially motivating for smaller subcontractors who have cash flow concerns.
  • Bonus for Early Completion: Offer a bonus for finishing certain tasks ahead of schedule.
  • Penalties for Delays: Conversely, the contract can stipulate penalties for delays, ensuring the subcontractor remains accountable.

5. Training and Resources

A subcontractor’s under-performance might stem from a lack of knowledge or resources.

  • Skill Development: Offer training sessions to bridge any skill gaps that might be hindering their performance.
  • Resource Allocation: If a subcontractor is lagging due to insufficient resources, consider assisting them, if feasible. This could mean lending equipment or connecting them with suppliers.
  • Continuous Learning: Encourage a culture of continuous learning. Offer to sponsor certifications or courses that can benefit the subcontractor’s team in the long run.
  • Tool Training: Sometimes, the subcontractor’s team might not be familiar with the latest tools or machinery. Consider periodic training sessions.

6. Legal Recourse

If all else fails, and the subcontractor continues to underperform, you might have to consider legal action.

  • Notice of Termination: Before terminating a contract, usually, a formal notice is required, giving the subcontractor a chance to remedy their performance.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Before taking any drastic measures, consult with a legal professional to understand your rights and potential liabilities.

7. Utilize Technology for Better Management

Leveraging technology can aid in overseeing subcontractors and ensuring they align with project goals.

  • Project Management Tools: Use tools to monitor progress, allocate tasks, and communicate effectively.
  • Digital Collaboration: Use digital platforms where all stakeholders can collaborate. This includes sharing designs, timelines, and feedback.

BuilderPad can streamline the management process, acting as a centralized platform where tasks can be assigned, tracked, and reviewed.

Overdue tasks

Its intuitive dashboard allows for real-time monitoring of various project elements, helping in quickly identifying areas where a subcontractor might be lagging.

Use BuilderPad for planning and resource allocation. A clear view of available resources can help in timely allocation and avoid any potential delays.

8. Re-evaluate and Replace

If all strategies fail, you might need to consider replacing the non-performing subcontractor.

  • Backup Planning: Always have a backup plan. Identify potential replacement subcontractors even before issues arise, so you can act quickly if needed.
  • Onboarding Process: When bringing in a new subcontractor, ensure that there’s a robust onboarding process. This includes familiarizing them with the project goals, tools, and team.
  • Smooth Transition: Ensure a seamless transition by having detailed documentation (which you’ve maintained using tools like BuilderPad) so the new subcontractor can pick up from where the previous one left.
Detailed activity feed

Conclusion

While dealing with a non-performing subcontractor can be challenging, proactive measures, open communication, and leveraging technology can often turn the situation around.

Platforms like BuilderPad further ease this process by centralizing data, tracking progress, and ensuring effective communication. Remember, the goal isn’t just to finish the project but to maintain quality and relationships in the long run.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Elevating Customer Service in the Construction Industry


The construction industry is a cornerstone of modern infrastructure and urban development.

While it primarily emphasizes tangible products like buildings, roads, and bridges, the essence of providing an unparalleled customer service often goes under the radar.

The true mark of excellence in this sector isn’t just about meeting budgetary constraints or deadlines but extends to clear communication, understanding the client’s vision, and fostering respect throughout the project lifecycle.

Enhance Communication

Establish clear communication channels with clients, suppliers, and internal teams. This ensures regular updates and makes you available for any queries.

An open line of communication builds trust, allowing clients to feel involved and informed throughout the project.

Establish Expectations Early

Discuss and set clear expectations at the project’s inception. This involves scope, timelines, costs, and potential challenges.

Setting the stage early prevents misunderstandings and ensures that both parties are aligned in their objectives and outcomes.

Implement Customer Feedback Systems

Post-project reviews can be a goldmine of insights.

Create systems where clients can easily provide feedback, and remember that acting upon constructive criticism showcases your commitment.

This iterative process will also refine your operations over time.

Offer Transparency

Ensure that all facets of the project, from costs to potential delays, are openly discussed.

Clients appreciate honesty, and transparency helps mitigate unpleasant surprises. Such openness fosters trust and reassures clients of your integrity.

Invest in Training

Arm your team with both technical and soft skills through regular training. This not only enhances their on-site efficiency but also their ability to communicate and solve problems.

A well-trained team resonates professionalism and confidence, directly impacting client satisfaction.

Leverage Technology

Embrace technology to streamline project management and improve communication channels.

BuilderPad offers intuitive features that simplify project planning and team collaboration, ensuring clients stay informed and engaged throughout the project’s duration.

BuilderPad activity feed

Offering real-time updates through these platforms enhances client engagement and keeps them informed. By integrating such tools, construction firms can offer an enhanced digital experience that complements their on-ground work.

Personalize the Experience

Every client has a unique vision and need. Tailoring your services and adjusting your communication style can greatly enhance their experience.

Personal touches, be it in meetings or through the project’s execution, make clients feel genuinely valued.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Actively anticipate potential problems and address them head-on. This approach not only prevents larger issues but showcases your foresight and dedication.

Clients are more forgiving of setbacks when they’re informed ahead of time.

Show Appreciation

A heartfelt ‘thank you’ or a small gesture upon project completion goes a long way. This isn’t just about courtesy but building lasting relationships.

Gratitude strengthens bonds and opens doors for future collaborations.

Maintain Consistency

Delivering consistent service, irrespective of the project’s scale, is vital. This ensures that every client feels equally important and that your brand maintains its reputation.

A consistent standard of excellence builds a reliable brand image.

BuilderPad sends weekly progress emails keeping your customers and your team members consistently updated:

Stay Updated

The construction industry is in a state of constant evolution. Familiarizing yourself with the latest trends and best practices ensures you provide innovative solutions.

An updated approach differentiates you from competitors and positions you as an industry leader.

BuilderPad‘s activity feed is designed to keep everyone up-to-date with everything that is going on with the project. You can also look back at past updates in an even of a dispute that resulted from a lack of communication:

BuilderPad activity feed

Handle Disputes Gracefully

Conflicts are inevitable, but it’s your handling that counts. Always aim for a win-win resolution, approaching disagreements with empathy and understanding.

A respectful and objective stance during disputes can salvage relationships and even strengthen them.

Set Up A Dedicated Customer Service Team

A specialized team to address client concerns ensures swift problem resolution.

Clients need to feel heard and valued, and a responsive customer service team accomplishes precisely that. Their role is pivotal in enhancing client trust and satisfaction.

Aftercare Services

The relationship shouldn’t cease post-project. Offering maintenance services or periodic check-ins provides an added layer of trust.

These gestures ensure clients that you’re committed to their project’s longevity and their peace of mind.

Commit to Continuous Improvement

Strive to elevate your service standards continuously. This involves regular introspection and a willingness to adapt.

By embodying a growth mindset, you signal to clients your dedication to delivering nothing short of the best.

In conclusion, exceptional customer service in the construction industry is more than a supplementary benefit; it’s a pivotal ingredient for sustained success.

By focusing on enhancing these service touchpoints, companies can not only ensure client satisfaction but also secure a reputable position in the market, fostering both repeat business and referrals.

Permit Delays: Managing Construction Client Expectations Amidst the Wait


The construction industry is rife with challenges, and one that often stands out is the waiting period associated with obtaining the necessary building permits.

Permit delays can range from bureaucratic red tape, local zoning issues, to environmental concerns.

For clients, especially those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the construction world, this can lead to mounting frustration and concerns about project timelines.

Takeaways:

  • Educate early and often: Providing clients with a comprehensive understanding of the permitting process and potential delays can alleviate anxiety and set realistic expectations from the onset.
  • Communication is paramount: Whether there are significant updates or minor developments, keeping the client informed through regular communication ensures trust and transparency throughout the project.
  • Engagement Alleviates Frustration: Keeping clients actively involved in various aspects of the project during permit waiting periods ensures they feel progress is still being made. BuilderPad is a construction management software that can help you set up an effective communication management and engagement strategy with your clients.
  • Advocacy Builds Trust: Demonstrating a proactive approach, such as directly liaising with authorities to expedite processes, can showcase commitment and foster stronger client relationships.

Here’s how construction professionals can effectively manage their clients’ expectations during these inevitable permit delays.

1. Education is Key

Before embarking on any project, educate your clients about the permitting process.

Offer them a realistic understanding of how long it typically takes in their municipality, the steps involved, and the potential hurdles that might arise. Knowledge often diminishes anxiety.

2. Transparent Communication

Always keep the lines of communication open. If there’s a delay, let your client know immediately.

Explain the reasons for the hold-up, whether it’s a backlog at the city’s permit office or additional documentation that’s required.

BuilderPad’s communication tools allow you to keep your client updated on everything that is going on with your project.

3. Factor in Buffer Time

When providing project timelines, always include a buffer for potential permit delays.

This not only sets realistic expectations but can also come as a pleasant surprise if the permits are secured earlier than anticipated.

4. Keep Them Engaged

During the waiting period, maintain your client’s engagement with the project.

This could be through design discussions, material selection, or planning the subsequent phases.

Keeping them involved assures them that progress is still being made, even if it’s behind the scenes.

5. Provide Regular Updates

Even if there’s no significant movement on the permit front, regular updates are crucial.

A brief email or phone call can reassure your client that they’re in the loop and that the delay isn’t due to any oversight on your part.

6. Leverage Technology

Today, many municipalities offer online tracking for permit applications.

Guide your client on how they can check the status themselves if they wish. This not only grants them autonomy but also reinforces transparency.

7. Anticipate Concerns

It’s beneficial to anticipate and address potential client concerns before they voice them.

If you sense growing impatience, consider discussing alternative solutions or contingencies, even if they’re only temporary.

8. Offer Reassurance

Remember that for many clients, this might be their first construction project. They might not only be anxious about the permit delays but also the financial implications, especially if they’re paying for rentals or other associated costs.

Reassure them by explaining the long-term benefits of waiting for the necessary permits, such as ensuring safety and adhering to legal guidelines.

9. Advocate on Their Behalf

Sometimes, it might be possible to expedite the process by liaising directly with the authorities or seeking the help of a local official.

Showing your client that you’re actively advocating for them can go a long way in building trust.

10. Highlight Past Successes

Share stories or case studies of past projects that experienced similar delays but eventually turned out successful.

This can provide your clients with a broader perspective and instill confidence in your capabilities.

In conclusion, permit delays, while frustrating, are an inherent part of the construction landscape.

By proactively managing expectations, maintaining transparent communication, and engaging clients throughout the wait, construction professionals can transform these delays into opportunities for deepening client trust and cementing long-term relationships.

10 Ways to Handle Construction Clients Changing Their Minds


Handling change requests, especially after completing a phase, is a challenge familiar to many in the construction industry. Effective management of these situations not only ensures the project remains on track but also strengthens client relationships.

Managing such situations requires tact, clear communication, and strategic planning.

Here are 10 practical strategies to handle clients who change their minds during the construction process:

Clear Communication from the Start

Setting clear expectations from the project’s inception can preempt many future issues.

By outlining project parameters, potential changes, and implications, both parties start with a shared vision.

This foundation establishes a roadmap, making deviations easier to manage. BuilderPad offers convenient scheduling tools allowing you to manage your clients’ expectations and keep them always updated on your progress:

Set up Flexible Contractual Agreements

Design your contracts to cater to some adaptability without neglecting your interests.

Including clauses for change orders or timeline extensions not only offers a buffer against unexpected requests but also conveys a client-centric approach.

Start a Quick and Open Dialogue

When clients hint at change, proactive engagement is key. Grasping their reasons and providing immediate feedback fosters trust.

Such transparency ensures that clients feel valued and that their concerns are genuinely addressed.

Document Everything

Consistent and detailed documentation offers a safeguard against future misunderstandings.

By recording every interaction and formalizing change requests in writing, both parties have a clear, referenceable history, reducing the chance of disputes.

BuilderPad offers a powerful suite of communication tools allowing you to record every interaction, change in agreement or request your client has ever made:

Educate the Client

Equip clients with necessary knowledge about their change requests’ consequences.

By offering insights into the technicalities and potential roadblocks, you’re fostering an environment where decisions are made with awareness and confidence.

Implement a ‘Cooling-Off’ Period

Suggesting a reflection window after significant phase completion can prevent hasty decisions.

This period allows clients to weigh the full spectrum of implications and reassures them of your commitment to their satisfaction.

Adopt a Collaborative Approach

Embrace shifts as collaborative challenges rather than setbacks.

Gathering your team and working hand-in-hand with clients to brainstorm alternatives nurtures a team spirit and reinforces the idea that challenges can lead to innovative solutions.

BuilderPad‘s dashboard is your ultimate project collaboration tool allowing you and your team to meet, discuss tasks and identify progress for each construction prpoject that is underway:

Stay Calm and Professional

Changes, while often vexing, are par for the course.

Your composed demeanor assures clients of your expertise and underscores your commitment to delivering quality, irrespective of evolving project landscapes.

Highlight Timeline and Budget Implications

Contextualize change requests by mapping out their ripple effects on the project’s timeline and budget.

This clarity empowers clients to make informed decisions, having visualized the broader impact of their requests.

Understand Underlying Concerns

If a pattern of change emerges, it’s crucial to discern the root causes. By addressing foundational concerns, you can streamline the construction process and create a more harmonious working relationship, reducing the potential for future shifts.

In conclusion, clients changing their minds is an inherent part of the construction industry. By setting clear expectations, maintaining open communication, and adopting a collaborative approach, construction professionals can navigate these challenges effectively and maintain positive client relationships.