What are Variation Orders? And why do they exist?

Okay, so by now everyone should have heard horror stories about the scary incremental in costs as renovation goes by. It probably went like this:
“Wah bro, I tell you, go to my ID. He damn cheap damn good damn solid.”

SpongeBob//few moments later sound//audio//video - YouTube

“Eh bro, my ID charge me extra $15,000 dollars leh.”

PROBABLY. (okay we may have exaggerated a bit.)

So what’s up with the extra charges? Let us try our best to explain.

First thing first, be sure to read our posts on what to look out for in a quotation. (Spoilers alert, we might do a part 3)

In a nutshell, variation orders are works that are NOT included in the initial contract. For example, halfway into the renovation, you decided to add an extra wardrobe. Or you decided to remove a shoe cabinet because you saw something online and decide to buy off the shelf instead.

In our opinion, above mentioned examples are reasonable variation orders. However, we have heard stories of unreasonable variation orders, that sometime results in massive extra charges. What are some unreasonable variation orders?

We have heard stories where if you wanted extra drawers in the kitchen, they gonna charge you! Ranging from 50 – 200 dollars per drawer! If we are not mistaken, other IDs usually cater for 3 drawers in the kitchen only, regardless of how big your kitchen is. Hello????? that’s crazy. Another reason why we think design should be finalised first before committing to a price! Once the design has been confirmed, pricing will be more accurate, reducing variation orders. Because we will then be able to calculate exactly how much hardware is needed for your design.

Another insane story: our friend’s ID wanted to charge extra for painting the ceiling another colour! What! Because the typical charges for painting works does not include coloured paint for ceiling. IDs & contractors out there only use Nippon Matex white (& Dulux equivalent) for ceiling paint only. Reason being Matex is the lowest grade of paint. Hence IDs & contractors use it for ceiling, an area that is not touchable by hand. Here @ Salt, we use at least Nippon Vinilex 5000 (or Dulux equivalent) for ceiling as well! How do we ensure that? Easy, we never use white paint. Yep, NEVER. (unless specified by homeowners).

These are just 2 of the more unreasonable examples that we have heard of. Do you know any? If you do, please feel free to contact us & share with us your stories!

So how do we go about avoiding variation orders? *Disclaimer, we are not saying we do not have variation orders here at Salt.*

Be extremely clear of the quotation that you are presented. There are questions that you can ask your ID to help you better understand what you are getting. Some of the questions are:

“What is the price range of laminate I can pick from?”
“What is the tile price & size that you are quoting me? How much is the increment if I want a bigger / smaller format tiles?”
“What brand & series of quartz / table top will I be able to pick from?”
“Will there by any extra charges if I want more drawers instead of doors?”
“Where are the areas that might cause an increment in price?”

Of course there are many more questions that you could be asking us to help keep increments to a minimum. Do hit us up if you need help / advise! Always willing to help.

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