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How does scope creep begin? Learn more

Most contractors are familiar with the term scope creep. This insidious problem crops up frequently on new builds and renovations equally. It eradicates profits and can generate litigation if not resolved.

So, if we understand what it is, why does scope creep continue to be the bane of contractors' existence? Let's examine a few ways in which scope creep can begin on a construction project.

Lack of formal change management protocols

If a contractor is away from the site bidding another job or tending to another project, the client may seek out the foreman with proposed changes. Telling clients "no" can be difficult, especially when a company lacks strict protocols dealing with changes to projects.

While making a slight change like moving a window may seem inconsequential initially, collectively these additions and alterations add up. When you're footing the bill, it rankles.

Clients seeking freebies

Contractors see them pulling up to the job site and their stomachs start to churn. Just what extras will they try to wheedle out of you now? Entitled clients are more than just annoying. Their sense of entitlement and endless requests use up your time and resources and can wind up causing cost overruns.

Since clients like this only seem to grow bolder with each concession, it's best to head them off at the first pass. Be prepared to whip out the signed contract to point out what is — and isn't — included.

Beginning projects without doing thorough cost-benefit analyses

Some contractors fail to exercise due diligence and conduct cost-benefit analyses that include all pertinent factors when bidding on projects. This is a recipe for disaster, as the contractor will have to foot the bill to accommodate changes needed to meet the project specifications.

Contracts that lack clarity and specification

Ambiguously worded contracts can give clients the legal edge if the construction dispute escalates and winds up in court. You can avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation by scheduling a document review with an Austin construction law attorney. They can review your work orders and contracts and recommend changes to better protect you and your company if a conflict ensues.

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