Variations or changes to the work you’ve agreed are often inevitable and can be frustrating.
But handled correctly – with a good ‘Variation Process’ – they don’t have to become a problem for you or your customer. Having a clear process for managing and communicating variations to your team and your customer are vital.
A Variation is an alteration to the scope of works laid out in a construction contract – it can be an addition, substitution or complete omission. Common examples include:
- your customer asks you to do some extra work;
- the architect or engineer needs a design change;
- your earthworks subcontractor had to remove more soil than allowed for; or
- your customer changes their mind.
A good Variation Process is one which is clear, consistent and documented properly. It doesn’t need to be complicated and could be as simple as:
Good tech helps with variations
Managing your variations with tech simplifies the process, making it easier by:
- quickly documenting the scope of the variation
- quoting the costs of the variation
- seamlessly communicating it to your customer (and even request their digital signature)
- tracking all expenses and time for completing the variation
- making sure you actually get paid for the variation.
Here are examples of how 5 commonly used Project Management Systems can help to clearly document, communicate and invoice variations on your projects:
Buildxact: quickly raise a variation, provide the details, quote the costs and send it to your customer for signature. You can track your materials costs against the variation, your team can track their labour and you can quickly invoice the variation to your customer. Here’s an example of their simple Variations Form:
CoConstruct and Buildertrend: both have a variations (or ‘Change Order’) feature as part of the system. You can do everything – raise the variation, include the costs for the variation, send it to your customer and they can even sign it electronically without the need for paper copies. Your team can track their time and you can manage your main contract or variations budgets. And don’t forget to invoice your customer! CoConstruct and Buildertrend allow you to invoice your customer so you can make sure you’re getting paid for the extra work.
NextMinute: to raise a variation simply create a new task within your job. Create a quote and make sure that your quote includes the scope of the change. From NextMinute, you can email it directly to your customer and they can electronically accept or decline the variation. Your team can track their time against the task in the app and you can easily invoice any time and materials tagged to the task or the variation quote.
Builda Price: manage your variations process within its Job Tracker. This adds a new variation for your team to track their time, and for materials to be tracked against. This will ensure the time and materials for the Variation are accurate and your customer can clearly see the costs for the variation on their invoice.
Variations don’t need to be a stressful headache for you and your customers. Talk to your tech advisor about how Cloud-based software can help you run your projects more smoothly – ensuring everyone is on the same page – so that you can focus on growing your business for the future.