Change orders are periods in a construction or remodeling project where a core change needs to be made from the original plan. Sometimes it’s when a homeowner wants to add more features or complexity to the project after it’s started.

Other times, like in the example we’ll share in today’s post, a change order can occur because of poor planning on a contractor’s part that lead to mistakes that can be costly to resolve.

Concrete pour and supplies

Poor Supply Estimates and Shortages

In this case, we came into a project that was being managed in part by another contractor. They’d assured the homeowner and our team that a particular coating they’d insisted on ordering would cover everything the project entailed.

Partway into the job it became clear that the coating would only be enough for half the needed surface areas. Well, just order more, right?

It wasn’t that simple, since the particular pigment needed for this job was 2 months behind with the manufacturer. Had the contractor ordered the correct amount initially the supplier could have met the order, but now that production was months behind the project went on hold.

No other parts of the job could proceed until this coating was in place, and now it’d be months before that could happen.

Hallway width tolerances

Not Taking Modern Code Into Account On Older Buildings

This is actually one of the most frequent issues we come across in the remodeling business.

Modern building code has changed a lot over the years. Any new home or commercial building constructed now must be created with these codes in mind, but some older buildings are allowed to be “grandfathered in” on the code system from when they were originally created — with one important caveat.

Once those older buildings need any major work, such as a renovation to modernize electric or plumbing, or work on walls, that project becomes subject to modern code.

That can end up meaning a renovation is more involved than you might assume, because what begins as upgrading electrical systems and changing a wall can also mean reworking door widths.

For instance:

  • General Access Doorways: Most modern codes require a minimum of 32 inches of clear width for main entry and interior doors (typically translating to a 36-inch door when accounting for the door’s actual width and doorstop).
  • Bathroom Access Doorways: For bathrooms, a 24-inch minimum might be acceptable, but accessibility standards (like ADA in the U.S.) require wider doors.
  • Doorway Height: Modern standards often require doorways to be at least 80 inches high. Some older homes might have shorter doorways, especially in basements or attics.
  • Hallways: Most modern building codes stipulate a minimum width of 36 inches for hallways in residential buildings. For commercial spaces or those that need to be ADA compliant, the minimum can be wider, often 44 inches or more.
  • The layout inside a bathroom is also essential. Modern codes often have requirements about clear floor space, especially around fixtures like toilets and bathtubs, to ensure accessibility and safety.

Call us today to schedule a consult for your next remodel project — we’ll review costs and can optionally help create a plan of action for you so you’ll know exactly which steps to take and what your options are.