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Can you stop scope creep from derailing construction projects?

Scope creep can be one of the most disastrous and expensive things to occur in any construction project, and it's especially frustrating when it comes from the other party. If you're the property owner, scope creep can mean ever-rising expenses and a timeline that stretches on for what seems like forever. If you're the contractor, scope creep can mean that the client expects you to deliver things that aren't possible in the budget and timeline provided.

Strong planning and contract management can help you avoid scope creep, no matter which side of the issue you might be on. The first step in avoiding scope creep is ensuring that you have a solid, understandable and measurable goal. It needs to be a goal you can communicate to the other party so that they understand what you are trying to achieve and so you can build a project plan around that goal.

Next, any contract you negotiate needs to be aligned with your goal. Contracts should have clear beginnings and ends with parameters that control the flow of work and money. When both parties are aware of contract parameters, then they are less likely to try to creep the scope of the project up.

Finally, you need a plan of action that all parties agree with that is in line with the goals and contract. If any changes need to be made to the plan or the contract, they should be made in writing. In fact, your contract should have a clause that lays out provisions for any changes that might be made.

To best protect your interests during construction projects, work with a business law professional to vet your contracts. You should never sign or agree to anything you don't understand fully or which isn't in line with your goals.

Source: Capterra, "3 Ways to Prevent Scope Creep During a Construction Project," Rachel Burger, accessed Dec. 23, 2016

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