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Foundation Repair Change Orders (Warranted to Manipulative)

Table of Contents

Change orders are not unique to the construction industry, but the term is definitely considered jargon, shorthand, and industry-specific speak due to its prevalence.

A change order is not inherently negative or positive. When utilized correctly, it guarantees that you have enough material to finish the job. If misused, it’s just a money suck.

In short – if you don’t need a change order for additional workmateriallabor, it’s really not helpful.

In this article, we are going to cover –

  •   What is a Change Order
  •   Common Industry Reasons for Change Orders
  •   Common Dalinghaus Reasons for Change Orders
  •   Change Order Abuse

What is a Change Order?

A change order is an addendum to the original contract which delineates revisions of construction design, site conditions, scope, or project schedule. Change orders are most commonly utilized when unforeseen/additional itemized expenses need to be added to the final cost. Some estimates calculate that as many as 33% of all construction projects require change orders.

It is important to note that a change order is an addendum to the original contract. The original contract is the foundation and basis of all change orders.

It’s best to know and understand your contract inside and out. Your signed contract is like your BibleKoran, or Kama Sutra – read it. Adhere to it. Preach it.

To gain a better grasp of what is on your Dalinghaus Contract, read our article How to Read your Dalinghaus Proposal – we have three whole sections regarding change orders and change in work.       

95% of our repair projects do not require a change order.

Common Industry reasons for change orders include:

  •   Flawed original project design/contract
  •   Obscure or inaccurate blueprints/CAD
  •   Unexpected job site conditions (such as inclement weather & soil conditions)
  •   Supplies or crew do not arrive on time
  •   Conflicting project schedules or inadequate budgets

*Note – Some foundation repair companies have depth clauses in their contracts, indicating the initial pier installation fee only covers x amount of feet (usually 20 ft). We here at Dalinghaus do not charge a depth clause fee. Depth clause fees are potentially sneaky.

Without a depth clause, the piers are typically cheaper upfront. With a depth clause, you may have to shell out some extra green to reach the correct competent, load-bearing depth. It’s a gamble.  

While a depth clause fee is not typically a change order (because it’s a clause), it is still something to keep in mind.

Common Dalinghaus reasons for change orders include:

Footing Depth

 If your foundation’s footing is deeper than 18 to 24 inches, we charge an additional $100 per additional foot.

Costs associated with footing depths beyond 48″ will be determined based upon approved shoring/engineering plans

Soil Conditions

 Your soil may be too dense to properly install helical piers, resulting in a push pier substitution.

On average less than 5% of our projects have a change order attached to them.

We hate change orders as much as homeowners. They’re a nuisance to fill out, but occasionally necessary when we need to course-correct due to unforeseen circumstances.

Change Order Abuse

Change orders are prevalent in the construction industry and often benign (if not a minor financial inconvenience); however, they can be manipulated for fiscal gain.

Por ejemplo, let’s say a sleazy contractor and shifty engineer/project manager fall into bed together (no surprise here), maneuvering an incredibly low bid (a too good to be true bid) – knowing full well they plan to drop massive change orders as soon as the contract is signed, adding big fat digits to their bottom line.

This actually a form of bid-rigging.   

This allows a contractor to recoup what profit was initially lost during the ludicrously low bid and pocket some additional blood money.

Welcome to the leaches of the industry.

There’s a special place in Dante’s circles of hell for these construction clowns where they are forced to perpetually excavate helical holes and backfill them into eternity to Billy Ray Cyrus’ Achy Breaky Heart.        

 How do you know if you’re being sold a bag of beans or a Kirby Vacuum? Watch out for these classic signs –

  •   Poorly documented, dubious sounding change order requests
  •   A perceivable pattern of lowballing to win contracts followed by the onetwo, gut-punch of change orders
  •   Single source contract awards won well below the competitive bidding line (followed by change orders)
  •   Lack of accountability in terms of controls/procedures regarding review/approval of change orders  

 The better you understand your repair and your contract, the better you will be prepared to avoid unethical, nefarious change orders.

This is part of the reason we write our blog – to educate our primary neighborhood audience of SoCal and Central AZ on all things to do with foundation repair (Price, Process, & Payoff) and beyond.   

In short –

  •   Know your contract
  •   Get a written, detailed account/rationale behind the change order
  •   Choose Dalinghaus

To learn more about possible untoward behavior in the foundation repair industry, read our article Elder Financial Abuse and Foundation Repair. 

We Never Change

Change orders with Dalinghaus Construction Incorporated are incredibly rare, but when they do happen, we are honest, clear, and transparent about why they are necessary.

If you live in Southern California or Central Arizona and would like a FREE foundation inspection, click the link below –


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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