How to Reduce Contractor “Extras” and “Change Orders” During Renovations

How can you reduce those pesky contractor “extras” and “change orders” during your home or office renovation? The answer is simple: exploratory demolition.


Do you have any idea how easy it is to cut a hole in drywall? It literally takes minutes. The same goes for most wall coverings, both on the interior and exterior of your home. Why, then, do most Contractors default to, “We’ll just have to see what’s in there when we start the project?” I’ll tell you why: contractors WANT “surprises.” If a pipe, electrical wire, or better yet, some rotten-looking wood or sewer waste line are miraculously discovered once your contractor opens up a wall after they’re under contract, it’s change order time, baby! They’ve got you right where they want you, and to them, it’s time to get back all that money you negotiated them down on the original contract.

If you’re entering into any sort of major renovation where a wall is moving, layout is changing, or the major systems in the house are going to be affected, have your contractor (or architect, or engineer, or whomever) open up the wall area and TAKE A LOOK FIRST! Contractors live in and love gray areas and surprises, so look to take that angle away whenever you can. You’re likely going to be living in a construction zone for months regardless, so a little patched wall shouldn’t bother you much for the time being… especially when it can save you so much time and money down the road.

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