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Do not let “Scope Creep,” creep up on you!

Do not let “Scope Creep,” creep up on you!

Scope creep refers to the gradual and continuous expansion of a project’s scope after it has been signed. This is usually caused by multiple owner-issued change orders. Let’s take a look at the phenomenon with the help a simple example.
A demonstration of scope creep
Imagine this. Joe and Mary are building a new home. They explained to the architect their design requirements and guidelines. Joe stresses that his budget is limited at $250,000. The architect completed the design within their budget and guidelines.
Joe signed a contract to build the house at a price of $250,000. Mary decided to add a small suite for her parents, who often visit Mary’s house when the contractor was putting the foundations in. Joe agreed to this idea as it gives him more privacy when they visit. The architect had to redesign the addition and reapply for a permit.
Because they overlook beautiful scenery, the contractor suggested that Joe’s office and the living room have larger windows. Later, the children (Mike, 15, Kyle, 14, and Beth, 10) pressed Joe to install a swimming pool. Joe finally relented.
Mary was working with the contractor to finish the floors. The contractor offered Mary the option of upgrading. The upgrades would include flooring, kitchen cabinets, appliances, countertops, paint and plumbing. Lighting fixtures and security systems are also included. She was able to explain the benefits of these additions to her contractor and she could not say no.
The project was completed and the house turned into a beautiful home. This was the good news. Unfortunately, Joe and Mary ended up paying $384,000. Joe and Mary had signed so many changes orders that they didn’t anticipate the cost would rise so much.
Scope Creeps: Why are they happening?
Scope creeps can occur for many reasons, including:
Poor planning,

Inadequate assessment of the impact of changes on cost and schedule

Unrealistic expectations and decentralized decision-making

It often has negative consequences for the owner, including a decrease in the project’s value. Scope creep refers to the gradual, but subtle, expansions of the project’s scope that occur without much noise.
1. Scope Creeps: Direct and Indirect
Scope creep can be classified into two types: direct and indirect. The first category includes changes made by the owner voluntarily due to changes in mind during construction, regardless of whether they were influenced or rethought. The second group includes items that the owner should have considered before making changes.
This is most likely due to poor planning. Sometimes, these changes are not the owner’s fault. The project may need to be modified due to sudden changes in codes and regulations, market conditions, or new developments.
2. Scope Creep and Modify Orders
Scope creep is related to change orders (variation). Scope creep is usually characterized by a chain of change orders. However, not all change orders are necessarily part of scope creep.
Change orders may not always change the project scope. Large numbers of change orders is an indicator of poor project scope definition/management. We must distinguish scope creep from the value engineering (VE), results. VE-induced changes, unlike scope creep, are controlled and studied so they are more logical rather than emotional.
There are two key differences between scope creep and VE changes. Value engineering changes tend to increase the value, but it can also increase the upfront costs. Scope creep changes result in an increase in cost and a decrease of value.
A value engineering study is prominent in a project and its results are usually grouped in a repor