delivering excellence

Variations: what are they and how do they impact build costs?

Variations are changes to the scope of work after a contract has been signed. A variation can be as simple as a colour change or a minor design detail being altered. At the other end of the spectrum, a variation can be a substantial change to the scope of the project that impacts on the building consent.

Substantial variations where architects or engineers are required to create amended plans require an amendment to the building consent. In this situation, an application to vary must be made to the authority that issued the original building consent.

Variations are easy to do, however they may have a significant impact on the overall project cost and may cause delays to the building schedule while amendments to the building consent are being sought. All costs associated with a variation are provided to clients in advance to assist with decisions about any changes to the build. 

Solar Panel.jpg

When can variations be made?

Variations can be made at any time, however the timing of the request to vary an element of the design or build is critical, The House Company’s Philip Powney says.

“In some instances, the build is past the point for the change to be practical and a variation would require a lot of rework and stall the project. However, in most instances we can accommodate variations or provide a good alternative solution if a late request is received.”


What are the cost implications of variations?

“Our policy is to make the building process as smooth as possible. We understand that variations can be part of this process and do not penalise for variations sought after a contract is signed or work is underway,” Philip says.

“Variations are all priced the same way. The quantity surveyor will put together costs, consider any relevant credits, and discern if the variation will result in an extension of the building programme. 

“Your project manager will present you with the costings and any required extension of the building programme in order to make the change. Should the building programme have advanced past a point where a particular variation is possible, you will be presented with an alternative solution to achieve the desired outcome.”