Qualitative Analysis of Electrical Change Orders

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Quantitative change order research previously completed at two universities, including Auburn University, showed that electrical change orders were disproportionately high (16%) as compared to general contracting (5%) or mechanical (10%) construction-related change orders, on a percentage of contract value basis. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively analyze electrical change order descriptions on completed Auburn University projects to discern why this variation exists. The descriptions for 1,197 change orders (associated with 330 projects completed between 2006 and 2016) were collected, and categorized based on the 21 separate reason codes. The reason codes associated with access control/security, interior lighting, circuitry, and low voltage wiring were found to have the highest prevalence. Also, the analysis showed that many electrical change orders were related to work items accounted for by the project team during preconstruction, but not contracted for during the initial tendering stage. Hence, these additional costs, which account for 7% of the electrical change orders (as a percentage of contract value) were changes to the electrical scope of work as originally contracted, but not changes to the project itself. The results of this analysis show the value of qualitatively tracking (through codes or other methods) change orders, as opposed to purely tracking costs.