Why Every General Contractor Needs A Change Order Communication Tool

By: Cameron Page  |  December 7, 2023

It’s basically every General Contractor’s recurring “you don’t know what you don’t know” dilemma: You're attempting to forecast in your project financial system, and the only way to ensure your forecast is up-to-date is to understand the Change Order exposure you’ve got across every Trade Partner on the project. 

Currently, the industry standard for determining Change Order exposure is to email each Subcontractor individually, request an updated COR Log, and then manually reconcile the information with what has (or hasn’t) been entered into your project financial software. These logs come back painfully slow and arrive in different formats, without the supporting documentation linked, and with a lack of clarity that can actually increase the risk of errors.

How the Change Order Gap Increases Risk for General Contractors 

At Clearstory, we call this The Change Order Gap, the gap between all the different project financial systems where everyone tracks their own project budget. Since these systems contain sensitive private financial information they are closed by design, so construction teams continue to rely on external workflows to align on outstanding Change Order exposure and risk.  

In addition to the monthly struggle through manual COR Log reconciliation, construction teams struggle with other antiquated processes as they attempt to close the Change Order Gap:

  • Paper T&M Tickets signed out on the jobsite are a blind spot, are hard to understand, and provide additional risk and uncertainty.
  • Like COR Logs, pricing exercises on design changes are likewise typically sent out via email and manually tracked down and tallied by project teams.
  • And Change Order Review and approval gets lost in PDF mark-ups, disconnected email threads, and uncertainty about version control.  

No matter the workaround, getting dependable results means navigating the fundamental process and system gap that leaves teams uncertain of their risk. 

Clearstory is Designed to Bridge the Change Order Gap

This is what Clearstory solves. As the only Change Order Communication Tool purpose-built to align all stakeholders on Change Order Risk, we help General Contractors answer the question: “How do I know all outstanding Change Orders are reflected in my forecast?” 

Clearstory’s core product is a shareable, cloud-based Change Order Log that creates instant transparency and alignment between you, your Trade Partners, and your client to eliminate Change Order Gap surprises. On top of that, we offer workstreams to capture field-directed extra work, conduct pricing exercises, and streamline Change Order review, and we integrate directly with industry-leading tools like Procore, CMiC, Vista, HCSS and others.

By closing the Change Order Gap, not only can you confidently forecast your projects, but you can also improve productivity (no more paper pushing) and dramatically reduce risk and the possibility of fee erosion on your projects. 

The best part is, you can get started in minutes without changing a single thing you’re doing today.

Streamlined Processes and Real-Time Intelligence 

Simply create a project and invite your Trade Partners and client to Clearstory’s cloud-based Change Order Log. Instead of using email, all Change Order Requests are captured and tracked in Clearstory’s Universal COR Log, providing real-time visibility into all outstanding risks. 

Need to review a Change Order? Simply open it in Clearstory and leverage our real-time messaging and built-in PDF markup tools to mark it “Revise and Resubmit.” And at any time, access the full history of all communication, markup, and back and forth on every Change Order. 

Tracking field-directed extra work? Eliminate triplicate carbon copy paper and move your Subcontractors to the Clearstory mobile app. You can authorize T&M Tags and instantly see a real-time log of all outstanding items, organized by status, and with clear visibility into what has and has not yet been priced. Your Trade Partners will thank you!

Have a design change? Distribute RFIs with Clearstory’s Change Notification tool and set a deadline for when cost impacts are due. Your Trade Partners can instantly respond with no cost impact or send a Change Order Request that is automatically logged. 

The best part is that Clearstory is already integrated with most leading project budgeting tools like Procore, CMiC, Viewpoint, HCSS, Sage and others so you can eliminate data entry and ensure all your Change Order Risk makes it across the Change Order Gap and into your forecast. 

If you’re ready to eliminate the burnout and headaches associated with the Change Order Gap, you need a Change Order Communication Tool purpose-built to solve the manual processes the industry has relied upon for too long. With Clearstory, you’ll improve your accuracy and confidence in forecasting, eliminate the risk of Change Order fee erosion, and make every project a happier, more productive workplace. 

Interested in gaining these benefits and closing The Change Order Gap on your next project? Reach out to the Clearstory team today for a quick demo and see how easy it is to get started. 

Cameron Page
Cameron Page

Cameron leads Clearstory as the founder and CEO. After 10 years as a Project Manager at Devcon, a leading design-build GC, he knew there should be a better way to track and communicate on Change Orders. He started Clearstory with a mission to help the entire construction industry get extra work processed and closed faster in order to reduce risk, waste less time, and strengthen relationships.

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