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Change Order Protocol Part II


In last month’s Extensions, I introduced a change order protocol that was drafted by the Toronto Trade Association Standard Practice Committee, along with a taskforce made up of electrical, mechanical and sheet metal Contractors, as well as engineers, general contractors and owners/representatives. This protocol is a shift in thinking across these industries and promises to have significant impact going forward. Part I gave the background on the drafting of the Change Order Protocol and introduced the guiding principles that drove the document. It went on to define Labor Rates and Man Hour Calculations.

I am proud and honored to have had the opportunity to be part of the Taskforce, and to have contributed to such an important document. This article is Part II of a 3-part series that continues to describe the Change Order Protocol and the various factors that can affect productivity, attaching a potential percentage of loss to each factor.


There is a need to discuss the adverse effects on labor productivity resulting from causes beyond the direct control of the contractor.

A study of these productivity factors may be helpful in preparing original estimates and change orders. The individual items and titles proposed cover a description of conditions without necessarily including each detailed condition that may be involved. The values are a percentage to add onto labor hours of the change.

The factors listed are intended to serve as a reference only. Individual cases could prove to be too high or too low.

  Minor Average Severe
1. STACKING OF TRADES: Operations take place within physically limited space with other contractors. Results in congestion of personnel, inability to locate tools conveniently, increased loss of tools, additional safety hazards and increased visitors. Optimum crew size cannot be utilized. 10% 20% 30%
2. MORALE AND ATTITUDE: Excessive hazard, competition for overtime, over-inspection, multiple contract changes and rework, disruption of labor rhythm and scheduling, poor site conditions, etc. 5% 10% 15%
3. REASSIGNMENT OF MANPOWER: Loss occurs with move-on, move-off men because of unexpected changes, excessive changes, or demand made to expedite or reschedule completion of certain work phases. Preparation not possible for orderly change. 5% 10% 15%
4. CREW SIZE INEFFICIENCY: Additional men to existing crews "breaks up" original team effort, affect labor rhythm. Applies to basic contract hours also. 10% 20% 30%
5. CONCURRENT OPERATIONS: Stacking of this contractor’s own force. Effect of adding operation to already planned sequence of operations. Unless gradual and controlled implementation of additional operations made, factor will apply to all remaining and proposed contract hours. 5% 15% 25%
6. DILUTION OF SUPERVISION: Applies to both basic contract and proposed change. Supervision must be diverted to (a) analyze and plan change, (b) stop and re-plan affected work, (c) take off, order and expedite material and equipment, (d) incorporate change into schedule, (e) instruct foreman and journeyman, (f) supervise work in progress, and (g) revise punch lists, testing and start-up requirements. 10% 15% 25%
7. LEARNING CURVE: Period of orientation in order to become familiar with changed condition. If new men are added to project, effects more severe as they learn tool locations, work procedures, etc. Turnover of crew. 5% 15% 30%
8. ERRORS AND OMISSIONS: Increases in errors and omissions because changes usually performed on crash basis, out of sequence or cause dilution of supervision or any other negative factors. 1% 3% 6%
9. BENEFICIAL OCCUPANCY: Working over, around or in close proximity to owner’s personnel or production equipment. Also badging, noise limitations, dust and special safety requirements and access restrictions because of owner. Using premises by owner prior to contract completion. 15% 25% 40%
10. JOINT OCCUPANCY: Change causes work to be performed while facility occupies by other trades and not anticipated under original bid. 5% 12% 20%
11. SITE ACCESS: Interferences with convenient access to work areas, door man-lift management or large and congested worksites. 5% 12% 30%
12. LOGISTICS: Owner furnished materials and problems of dealing with his storehouse people, no control over material flow to work areas. Also contract changes causing problems of procurement and delivery of materials and re-handling of substituted materials at site. 10% 25% 50%
13. FATIGUE: Unusual physical exertion. If on change order work and men return to base contract work, effects also affect performance on base contract. 8% 10% 12%
14. RIPPLE: Changes in other trades’ work affecting our work such as alteration of our schedule. A solution is to request, at first job meeting, that all change notices/bulletins be sent to our Contract Manager. 10% 15% 20%
15. OVERTIME: Lowers work output and efficiency through physical fatigue and poor mental attitude. 10% 15% 20%
16. SEASON AND WEATHER CHANGE: Either very hot or very cold weather. 10% 20% 30%