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What is Scope Creep?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2024 | Construction Law

Scope creep refers to the gradual expansion of a construction project’s original goals and objectives. Scope creep can occur during contract negotiation and during the course of the work. In construction, it often manifests as additional work, changes in design, or modifications to the project’s specifications. It can result in delay and additional cost, and sometimes it can affect the quality of the work.

Causes of scope creep

  • No clear initial scope of work
    • This could be due to incomplete initial planning, incomplete plans and specifications, lack of a baseline schedule, lack of funding, or other causes.
  • Lack of communication between owner, architects, contractors and subcontractors
  • Unclear or unrealistic expectations regarding a project’s timeline, costs, or complexity
  • No clear change order and change directive procedures

Ways to avoid scope creep

  • Set and adhere to realistic budgets
  • Negotiate and finalize clear and complete contract documents
  • Invest time and capital in a detailed initial scope of work
    • Incorporate clear drawings, specifications, and schedules in contract documents
  • Commit to regularly scheduled meeting among owner, architects, contractors and subcontractors

Scope creep is an ever-present challenge in construction projects, but it can be mitigated.