Building a New Home: Scope Creep - Kawartha Lakes Construction
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Building a New Home: Scope Creep

January 13, 2022

Posted by Lindsay Wilson in Blog

Scope creep can happen when building a new home. Read more here about new home building tips from Peterborough and the Kawarthas Homebuilders Association.

Unless you work in construction you probably aren’t familiar with the term “scope creep”…yet.

It’s an important term to be aware of if you’re looking at building a new home, and it’s an issue that can affect anyone. Scope creep means your project coming in late and over budget. It also creates extra stress for you and your homebuilder. Get some tips here on managing your budget.

What is a Scope of Work?

A scope of work outlines all aspects of your project. It offers a detailed list of all the work to be accomplished.

What is Scope Creep?

Scope creep is when that list of items grows after construction is underway.

Scope creep can appear in many forms. It usually takes place after planning has taken place, a contract has been signed and you and your general contractor have invested and embarked on a plan.

Changing the scope once the project is underway rapidly causes your budget and timelines to balloon. It negatively impacts the project finishing on time and within budget.

When does Scope Creep occur?

It typically starts after construction but it can also occur during the initial site visit. This is natural. The scope can increase 25-50% during the initial site visit. This is because you’ve had time to think over of all the issues you’d like addressed in your build.

How can you prevent Scope Creep?

The best way to prevent scope creep is through meticulous planning and clear communication with your homebuilder. Know exactly what you want, and what your budget supports. This will mean following a good plan to arrive at a great project.

Pointers on how to avoid scope creep:

  • Set Strong Goals: What do you want vs what do you need? Ask yourself questions like: How many family members will be part of your household? Children? Grandchildren? Pets? Do you want to age in place? Hobbies? Vehicles? Explore all aspects of your future home and then share your list with your home builder. A good builder ensures that your goals and budget stay aligned.
  • Understand your budget, don’t deviate: Be firm. Determine early on what you can afford. You may be tempted to add features or finishes but being firm with yourself can ensure that scope creep doesn’t become an issue. You should also work closely with your home builder through the budgeting and design process.  As a team, you’ll be able to confine the scope and budget.  
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! Never assume. You cannot overcommunicate with your homebuilder. During the initial meetings communicate all of your wants and needs. A good homebuilder will help you make solid design choices but keep you within your budget.
  • Understand the change order process: If it’s not in the contract, then it’s a change order. Sometimes a change order is inevitable. Even with the best plan and excellent research, building can be a process of discovery. You may discover that the footings you thought would support your renovation need to be replaced, or there’s a crack in the foundation that has to be repaired before work can proceed. A good homebuilder has a transparent change order process in place for all changes. They are clear and communicate the cost impact of the particular change in terms of time and money.
  • Invest in a strong relationship with a great contractor: Research, research, research. Look for a builder with a reputation for great communication, excellent customer service and transparent and ethical building practices. Again, a strong relationship with your homebuilder will mean clearly outlining the consequences of making a change during the home building process.

Your project should include a clearly defined scope of work. A best practice is for your homebuilder is to also outline what’s not included in the scope of work. If the scope does creep, you want to know that the relationship with your homebuilder is one where you both work together to manage increasing costs and time.

At Kawartha Lakes Construction we believe a good plan leads to a great project. Our design-build approach combines both design and construction, providing you with a single contract. We are in this together. We will work to exceed your expectations. This means that we are accountable for the entire project. This means making sure the final product stays within budget and timeframe.

Have more questions about the build lifecycle? Or have a project in mind? We’re here to help you put together that perfect plan leading to an even more perfect home.

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