Construction Change Order Forms Guide

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get through a project without a single construction change order form?

If only!

Change orders are an inevitable part of any significant build. However, they don’t have to be a headache to create, manage, and track.

With a construction change order template and an organized process in place, these forms can be seamlessly integrated into your operations.

Improve Your Change Order Process

Let’s face it—mismanaged change orders waste time and cost money. In fact, one study found that they’re responsible for a 30% loss in productivity.

This isn’t just a matter of wasted time on admin tasks. It’s also a matter of project delays and the compounding costs associated with them.

There are 3 main steps to optimizing your process and keeping things streamlined:

1. Agree on a process

Too often, a few stakeholders price and approve a construction change order form without realizing how it affects a subcontractor’s scope. Alternately, details slip through the cracks when the person completing the form isn’t the person dealing with the issue on-site.

Before a project begins, meet with stakeholders and agree on how change orders will be handled. Include everyone, even subcontractors. Think about how you can keep everyone in the loop without overwhelming them. The more eyes on change orders, the better.

2. Prioritize transparency

Everyone involved in change orders should be able to access them easily whenever they need. Visibility enhances communication and makes it easy to approve or clarify documents as needed. When everyone is looking at the same information, there’s less room for confusion.

Leaving people in the dark is a recipe for frustration. Your system should include a method of notifying stakeholders when something changes. It should also enable discussion whenever there’s confusion. Plan proactively to prevent miscommunication or missed updates.

3. Automate tracking

The more you can automate when it comes to generating, submitting, and tracking the status of change orders, the better. Large projects often have dozens or even hundreds of change orders. Handling these manually is an impossible task.

Automated document management software allows you to easily generate construction change order forms in the field, view their status, and even access other documentation like RFIs, rolling punchlists, and submittals. This is much more efficient than spreadsheets, email, or even paper processes.

Managing Change Orders Without Excel

Many contractors turn to Excel or Google Sheets to manage their construction change order forms. As their business grows and they take on larger projects, however, the limitations of spreadsheets become obvious.

While it’s easy to find Excel construction change order form templates online, it’s harder to find realistic solutions to the problems with this management method. Using Excel to generate and manage change orders leads to:

  • Manual Errors. Anyone keying in project information can input data in the wrong cell or enter the wrong information by mistake. It’s also easy to accidentally delete parts of the template—or even the whole document!
  • Disorganization. Whether you create a shared folder, an email thread, or both to manage your multiple Excel forms, you’re bound to bump into trouble. Submissions are easily overlooked with these methods, and anyone can still accidentally delete forms.
  • Lack of Tracking. Has the reviewer received the request for the change order form? Have they reviewed it? Approved it? Excel won’t tell you unless you add even more fields on the form for people to check—and they may fail to do that.

Manually creating, submitting, and tracking change orders is cumbersome at best. On large projects, it’s simply not practical.

Teams need one centralized place where they can find everything. They also need a simple process that ensures no one accidentally deletes or changes important information without documentation.

Download free digital construction form templates

Use our free digital construction form templates as a standalone solution, or in our Forms software.

Best Practices in Change Order Management

How can contractors create a change order process that avoids the pitfalls of spreadsheets? The simple answer is construction document management software.

According to Statista, 68% of contractors use software to manage project financials, and 58% use it for general project management. With the increased availability and functionality of construction software, that number is sure to grow.

Document management software meets a number of needs when it comes to best practices in the change order process, including:


With digitized document management, every form is stored in the same place. This increases organization and decreases friction in the change order process. This is especially true when platforms also offer mobile apps for management.

These platforms allow every stakeholder to easily view change orders by category or approval status. They even notify users when a document or its status changes, with updates coming in right on their phones or desktops. This minimizes disputes since everyone is working with the same information.


Not only is information centralized with this software, any changes to it are accurately logged and timestamped. This creates more clarity around who is responsible for which changes, reducing liability and risk.

Attachments such as photos, plans, specs, and reports are also easy to add for further clarity. These details create a chain of linked data related to each change order and make it easy to collect information such as the root cause, turnaround time, and date of completion.


If you want fewer change orders and a more efficient process, you need to learn where current snags are coming from. The data collected by digital management platforms makes this easy to do.

Review frequent root causes and average turnaround times to look for areas of improvement. Dig into the details of past projects to identify patterns in your change order process that are holding you back. Then, implement new procedures to address them. With time, you can iron out process wrinkles so that change orders become less of an annoyance and simply ‘business as usual’.

Save Money and Time on Change Orders

There’s no way to completely avoid change orders. However, it is possible to reduce their impact on your completion date and bottom line.

Identify potential issues during pre-construction, and be selective about who you work with. High quality work the first time around is always less time-consuming, and usually less expensive, than a change order.

Once you break ground, document management software like DADO has a built-in construction change order form template to help you streamline things when adjustments are necessary. It also has automated tracking to reduce errors and eliminate lost forms.

DADO’s mobile app allows you to easily attach photos to change orders and other forms. Your team can view, update, and approve documents in one place. Changes trigger automatic notifications, allowing everyone to see the date, time, and budget information they need.

Change orders aren’t the only forms DADO can handle. Find out how the platform also automates RFIs, submittals, and more.

Integrate your Change Orders seamlessly into your operations

Want to streamline your change order process and save time and money in the process? Find out how DADO can help.