Scope creep is probably not a term you may have heard, but it is quite common in industries like construction. Scope creep occurs when the terms of the initial project expand beyond what is covered. This blog defines scope creep, the many things that can impact scope creep, and how best to mitigate it.
Having been in business for over 21 years, we know how best to limit the domino effect of scope creep. The Corinthian team does things a little differently than many in our industry. We spend additional time upfront prior to a construction contract, to completely design and make every selection decision to eliminate going to a contract with allowances. This limits many of the “add-ons” that can occur as a renovation is being designed. Additionally, we understand the importance of having a Scope of Work and contract that clearly defines exactly what will occur during a renovation. This is a critical component because it lays the foundation for the future of the project. It sets expectations for all aspects of what will occur, and in concrete ways, what is not included.
In addition to the scope creep during the design phase, there are modifications and additions that can occur once the job is in production. These are typically referred to as Change Orders and are an additional cost to the already defined contract and Scope of Work. They occur as the homeowner looks around and realizes additional areas of the home could use some work as well…and what better time to get it done than while subcontractors are there.
Causes of Scope Creep
Most home renovations begin with carefully drafted plans on paper with clear descriptions of work to be done. While it may seem perfect on paper, things may take a different turn during the actualization of the project. These changes can be avoided if the design and estimating phases are thoroughly analyzed to help prevent surprises when the work starts. Corinthian makes every effort to ensure that none of these occur on our projects.
Some common causes are:
- Lack of a clear and concise detail of the work to be completed.
- Lack of clear delineation of who is responsible for what.
- Lack of involvement of the homeowner throughout the Design Phase.
- Not adding additions or subtractions of work to be done into the Scope of Work during the Design Phase.
- Subcontractors have not seen the home’s conditions or understand work to be done.
- Poor estimating of costs of the renovation.
- Homeowner spouse/partner is not in agreement on work to be done.
- The homeowner is unable to visualize the design.
- Selections are not made prior to the start of work.
- No agreed-upon format for dealing with changes to the Scope of Work.
How Scope Creep Impacts Us All
It almost never fails! Once we get into a project, there are additions to the original scope. Some of these may occur in the form of additional things discovered during the demo, such as a leaky pipe behind the wall that has been hidden for years. But most of the time it is the homeowner who gets excited about the changes they are seeing and thinks that perhaps the adjacent spaces could use some “freshening up” as well.
The impacts to home renovation projects include:
- Project Delays
- Increased Cost
- Wasted material
- Redoing work already done
Preventing Scope Creep
Scope creep can find its way into any project and have both a positive and negative impact. When it occurs during the Design process, it can help capture additional work that makes sense to have done while subcontractors such as plumbers and electricians are in your home, thus saving your cost later. But there are several things that can occur to limit or prevent scope creep from occurring. Corinthian prides itself on these:
- A clear and concise Scope of Work and contract prior to construction start.
- Establish a budget and revisit it often.
- Discuss how changes to the Scope of Work will impact the schedule and budget.
- Have a detailed project schedule.
- Strong management of the project.
- Clearly communicate procedure for changes to the Scope of Work.
Having a clear understanding of what Scope Creep is helps to minimize it. And being aware of it from the beginning of the design to the end of the estimating helps you understand how costs may have escalated.
For example, you started your kitchen renovation thinking you would simply pull and replace cabinets and counters to update the look, and the estimate your contractor gave you is accurate for that limited Scope of Work. However, during the Design phase of the project, you changed your mind and are now moving appliance locations, adding a larger island, removing a bulkhead, getting all new custom cabinets and countertops and backsplash and lighting, and… while you’re at it let’s add new lights and paint in the family room and dining room. Now your “estimate” for this Scope of Work will be significantly higher, yet again accurate to the Scope of Work.
When you plan your home remodel with the awareness of Scope Creep in mind, you will be more likely to complete your project on schedule and on budget. Corinthian Fine Homes prides itself on completing our projects on budget per your contract and Scope of Work.