Variation Orders: A Big Challenge in Construction Management

Nature of variations

Managing variations is one of the most significant challenges in construction management in every type of project. The number of variations that are issued vary from one project to another depending on various factors, and some variation orders are more common in some phases of a project than others. 

Variation types

Variations have an impact on both the contract scope of work and time-and-cost implications. Recognizing the different types of variations helps in developing an understanding as to the magnitude of their affects. Here are the some of the most common variations: 

  • Changes in means and methods, or materials for projects 
  • Unforeseen site conditions that were not envisioned in the original contract price 
  • Modifications or additional changes to designs or plans of the schedule and scope of work 
  • Changes to the scope of work due to constructability issues or conflicts between work elements 
  • Changes to plans and specifications 
  • Corrections made due to errors or omissions 
  • Modifications as a result of actions or inactions of third-parties 


The impact of variations is usually related to additional cost and time. Furthermore, variations often result in the loss of efficiency. The adverse effects of variations need to closely be determined as preparation so their consequences can be fully evaluated and mitigated. 

Variation Management with Sitearound

Sitearound serves as an all-in-one tool in assisting contractors to plan projects across all dimensions from project start to close out. First, Sitearound provides a Schedule feature to support development of project schedule, and management of project cost and project resource. Well-established project plans reduce the number of variation orders issued.  

Second, Sitearound’s Document feature stores all project documents in a centralized location. It also permits custom mark ups on PDF and other file-types. Users can easily add comments and notes to files to communicate more clearly with other viewers of those same documents. 

Lastly, applying the Workflow feature with SItearound’s RFI, Submittal, and Inspection tools creates   standardized communication and collaboration among team members. This ensures better response to variations orders that come your team’s way. Sitearound’s features complement one another for maximum efficiency. 



Click here to read more of our insights on construction management technology, or here to explore how Sitearound may be of help to your business. 

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