O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 39

to be altered to lower the costs. This might be
referred to as a negative change order. "You
might hit overruns early on in the project," notes
Lovell, "and try to save some money on the back
end. This actually affects the fabricator most
because they're usually one of the last guys in
on the project. By the time the project is ready
for rails, or gates, most of the job's done and
you're getting pretty close to completion. We
once got called in to install a rail with a mirror
stainless steel finish on it. The owner changed
it, and decided instead to go with a rail with a
painted steel finish, which lowered the overall
contract amount."
Another reason for change orders is
whimsy. The change may seem inexplicable,
or unnecessary to a fabricator, but bear in
mind, like it or not, the client is paying for
the job and therefore has the right to change
his or her mind. It is this reason for change
orders that triggers the most visceral emotional reactions among fabricators.
Finally, a change order is indicated when the
design is brought out of the studio, blinking in
the harsh light of reality, it becomes obvious
that it is flawed. When asked by a reporter
what is the greatest threat to the planned
course of a country, British Prime Minister
Harold Macmillan replied, "Events, dear boy,
events." Even the most talented and experienced engineer or architect occasionally sees
a flaw in his well-reasoned plans when they are
actually bent, cut, or welded into place. Mike
Stylski, who owns Accent Ornamental Iron
and Powder Coating, Cambridge, Minnesota,
recalls a plan for a legally mandated addition
to a project that wound up blocking access to
the building from the parking lot, rather than
enhance access, as it was supposed to do.
It's a fact of life that sometimes you just don't
know how design will turn out until you build it.
This existential gap between design and
reality should be enshrined in the collective
consciousness of all metal workers by the bitter lesson of the HMS Titanic. Designed with
watertight bulkheads, and expansion joints that
would allow the keel to flex fore and aft by as
much as 45 degrees, it was these very design
attributes that actually contributed to the ship's
demise. As it turns out, the Titanic didn't need to
strike an iceberg to sink; a bad storm could have
done the trick as well. The moral is, a degree in
naval architecture doesn't confer clairvoyance.
Ditto for engineers. And even the most titanic
of designs can often stand improvement. Not
surprisingly, it is often the fabricator that initiates this type of change order.

Put it in Writing. Get it in Writing.
If the change order is initiated by the fabricator, all the reasons for it should be committed to a written form. That means scrupulous
documentation of everything involved in the
change order.
"Be specific," says Rhoda Mack, proprietor
of Fine Architectural Metal Smiths, a Florida,
New York-based fabrication shop. "Document
the project as you go along; emails, notes
(from) meetings. Put everything into words
so you'll have it when you refer to the change
order."
"Make sure the numbers add up," says Tim
Lovell of Foreman Fabrication. "Let (the other
party) know exactly what the costs are up
front. Document your reasons (for the change
order) and make sure the numbers add up."
This is important for another reason. There
is a misconception out there that fabricators -
indeed, contractors in general - profit from
change orders. Not so.
If, on the other hand, the change order is
coming from the customer, make sure you get
everything documented in writing from that
end. After all, it's something that will involve
your time, money, effort, and perhaps reputation. Look it over before you sign. Remember,
if there's a problem later, the fabricator commonly takes the brunt of blame.
Just the Facts, Man
It's a common sense practice to document
all reasons, and results of a change order,
but don't get carried away. Over doing it can
paint you into a corner both in costs and
in feasibility.
Mack has this advice to offer. "Bear in
mind that you shouldn't specify more information than you need to. Sometimes people
can get overly enthusiastic about things that
they may not have really thought out and can't
deliver on."
Or as Lovell puts it, "keep it simple."
Changing on the Fly
All this said, there does exist a contractually kosher mechanism for unilateral changes
in a project. Called a construction change
directive, it requires no special form or signatures because it is written into the original
contract. It's basically a clause in the original
contract that allows for what is basically one
big open ended change order. Here's how
it works. The owner and prime contractor
agree, in the parent contract, that the owner
may make any changes in the work that he

deems necessary, or proper. The prime contractor is then obliged to simply go ahead
and implement the changes as ordered by
the owner. All without going through the formality of a change order each time. The two
parties will later, presumably when the job
is completed, reconcile all these changes,
retroactively, in one single comprehensive
change order. This would include not only
the changes, but any resultant costs for time
or materials.
Of course, all the changes still need to be
written down, as a matter of record. But it still
streamlines the process.
Whether you're using orders or construction change directives, the main thing is to
adhere to these three simple rules.
1. Look at it in a positive light. Even the best
designs need a little de-bugging when
implemented. It's what turns a good design
into one that works well.
2. Don't take it personally. Even if it's an owner's whim, he's the one paying for it, and
you have to let the one putting the groceries
on the table decide whether they're plastic
or paper.
3. Write everything down. You'll thank yourself for this later on down the road.

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January/February 2018 * O&MM Fabricator
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018

President’s Letter
Letter From the Executive Director
NOMMA Network
NOMMA Education Foundation
2018 Metalfab / Fencetech Attendee Brochure
Three Things You Need to Know* to Save Money and Time When Commissioning Custom Metal Castings
The Collective Mind Gate Series - Part Vi
Change Orders
Women in Industry
What Experience Modifiers Do, and What You Can Do About It
How to Handle Your Toughest Employee Problem
Supplier Members
New & Returning NOMMA Members & Iron Club Members
Gold Members
Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane - Nomma’s First Years
2018 Product Preview
Index of Advertisers
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - Intro
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - cover1
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - cover2
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 3
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 4
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 5
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 6
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 7
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 8
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 9
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 10
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - President’s Letter
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 12
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - Letter From the Executive Director
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 14
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - NOMMA Network
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - NOMMA Education Foundation
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 17
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 18
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 2018 Metalfab / Fencetech Attendee Brochure
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 20
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 21
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 22
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 23
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 24
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 25
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 26
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 27
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 28
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 29
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - Three Things You Need to Know* to Save Money and Time When Commissioning Custom Metal Castings
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 31
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 32
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 33
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - The Collective Mind Gate Series - Part Vi
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 35
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 36
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 37
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - Change Orders
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 39
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 40
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 41
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 42
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - What Experience Modifiers Do, and What You Can Do About It
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 44
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 45
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 46
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - How to Handle Your Toughest Employee Problem
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 48
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 49
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 50
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 51
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 52
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - Supplier Members
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 54
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - New & Returning NOMMA Members & Iron Club Members
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 56
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - Gold Members
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane - Nomma’s First Years
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 59
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 60
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 2018 Product Preview
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 62
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 63
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 64
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - Index of Advertisers
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - 66
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - cover3
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - cover4
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - outsert1
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - outsert2
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - outsert3
O&MM Fabricator - January/February 2018 - outsert4
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