Why We Call Them Change Order Requests and Time and Material Tags

By: Greg Seldon  |  March 17, 2021


Construction loves acronyms, especially when it comes to out-of-contract work. Out of all the options, why did we at Clearstory choose to call our tracking documents a “Change Order Request” and a “Time & Material Tag?"

It wasn’t as easy as you think. There are as many different names for CORs and T&M Tags as there are Subcontractors. Just as an example, we sampled one major construction project with 44 Subcontractors in San Jose, CA. Of the dozens of T&M Tags and Change Order Requests that were submitted, Subcontractors called them close to 40 different names.

Here are the different names Subcontractors put on their documents submitted on the project:

Time & Material Tags

  1. Extra work order (5x)
  2. Daily planning and report form
  3. Extra work authorization
  4. Daily rental or extra work report
  5. Service order
  6. Time and material tag
  7. Field work authorization
  8. Daily extra work report
  9. Day work report
  10. Work order (4x)
  11. Order for additional work
  12. Additional work authorization field report
  13. Time and materials extra work
  14. Change order request form
  15. Force account report
  16. Field work order (3x)
  17. Survey service record

Change Order Requests

  1. Change Order Request (12x)
  2. Invoice
  3. Cost Proposal
  4. Request for Change Order (3x)
  5. Change Order (5x)
  6. Change Request
  7. Proposed Change Order
  8. Extra Work Order
  9. Quote
  10. Quotation
  11. CX
  12. LTO
  13. EWL
  14. EBA
  15. FWO
  16. Potential Change Order
  17. Change Proposal
  18. Extra
  19. Change Estimate
  20. Work Orders

Wow! As the General Contractor or end customer in this situation, you can imagine the confusion reviewing 44 differently named documents and logs from each of these Subcontractors.

So why can’t we all just call them the same thing? The short answer is: we aren’t all using the same software or process. Everyone has different vendors where they purchased their software or their paper T&M Tags (à la Dunder Mifflin). Everyone has their own documentation system, cumbersome as it may be.

“Time and Material Tag”

How did we choose “Time & Material Tag,” instead of, say, one of the examples listed above?  We followed one of our company mottos and we KEPT IT SIMPLE. While many Subcontractors call T&M Tags something different, they all instantly recognize the term: “Time & Material Tag.” It is commonly recognized industry jargon.

From a technical standpoint, a Time & Material Tag is simply a mechanism to document and authorize that a certain scope of work was performed. It lists the labor, material and equipment used to complete the work performed. It is NOT approval that the work was considered out of contract. The “field guys” verify the hours are correct and the “office guys” verify the work is out of contract.

“Change Order Request”

Choosing “Change Order Request” was an even easier decision. It’s already a universally used term in the construction industry. Many Subcontractors use some form of that term in their documents.

Technically, a Change Order Request means you are sending your customer a request to adjust your contract by a certain amount so you can bill for it in the next billing cycle. In response, your customer can simply approve or reject (hopefully approve) the amount and issue a Change Order in return updating the contract value.

Let’s end the confusion.

Using Clearstory, we finally have the ability to achieve unanimity and simplicity in terminology...for all parties. With Clearstory, everyone’s on the same page: General Contractors and Subcontractors can easily communicate with one another on the job when tracking their T&M Tags and CORs.

Clearstory was built to bridge the existing confusion gap in the construction industry. Our automated workflow easily and clearly organizes these two documents for your team and makes it quick and easy for your customer to understand and ultimately approve them!

Clearstory Gets Us All Speaking the Same Language!

With Clearstory, you won’t just be using the same terms for these very important forms, you’ll actually be sharing them instantly, keeping everyone in the loop.

Greg Seldon
Greg Seldon

Greg Seldon is the Director of Sales at Clearstory. Prior to joining Clearstory, Greg ran procurement for Clark Construction’s West Coast division. After seeing Clearstory in action solving long-standing challenges, he joined the team to spread its reach across the industry.

Ready to see a Demo?

Contact us to schedule a 30 min call to see if Clearstory is right for you and your team.