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What is Scope Creep and How to Avoid it in New Home Construction

March 6th, 2024

By Sofia Alonso

3 min read


Picture this: You're halfway through constructing your dream home when suddenly, a stream of new ideas begins to flow. Maybe a bigger kitchen, an extra bathroom, perhaps a personal gym? Enticing as this creative spark might be, it soon ignites a dreaded phenomenon in the world of homebuilding: scope creep. Those additional features and changes during construction sound minor, but they can quickly spiral into a web of extra costs, unexpected delays, and ultimately, a compromised vision of your dream home. Have you ever faced the frustration of your building project spiraling out of control, watching helplessly as the costs and complexities soar?  

At AV Architects and Builders, we recognize the pain that scope creep can cause. We've all heard the horror stories and understand the pitfalls of a rushed design phase. Our narrative is one of precision and foresight, qualities honed over 20 years of crafting custom homes tailored to the unique lifestyles of our clients. Our expertise isn't generalized; it's focused on avoiding the pitfalls that lead to scope creep, ensuring that every detail of your home is meticulously planned and agreed upon before the first nail is driven.  

In this article, we promise to share some advice for avoiding scope creep in new home construction. You'll learn why investing ample time in the design stage is crucial and why avoiding change orders during construction is all about master planning. We're not just building homes; we're cultivating satisfaction and delivering peace of mind. If you're looking to navigate the construction of your home without falling victim to scope creep, you've come to the right place. Let us guide you through a process that ensures the space you envision is the space we deliver—perfectly planned and beautifully executed.


Understanding and Avoiding Scope Creep in New Home Construction    

The journey of building a new home is akin to setting sail into a sea of possibilities. In the excitement of such an adventure, it's important to be vigilant against any undercurrents that may lead us off course. Among these, 'scope creep' stands out as one of the primary challenges that homeowners and builders must navigate. This shift often starts with a small change request and before you know it, has ballooned into a series of alterations that push the project beyond its original boundaries. These changes can lead to inflated costs, extended timelines, and a pile-up of stress for a homeowner looking forward to their dream home.  


The Shadow of Scope Creep

Often, scope creep is the result of not dedicating enough time and thought to the design phase of the project. The eagerness to break ground and start seeing tangible progress can prompt a rush through the initial planning stages. However, when the foundation of your project—the design—is not solidified, changes during construction become almost inevitable. Midway through the build, new ideas and preferences emerge, and without a plan to accommodate such evolutions, these changes become change orders. These aren't just any modifications—they're expensive, disruptive, and typically lead to a cascade of further alterations.  


Change Orders: A Costly Side Effect

Not all builders see scope creep as problematic. In fact, some may welcome it as an opportunity for additional revenue through change orders. However, for the homeowner, change orders can quickly turn a well-calculated budget into an uncontrollable expense. Apart from the financial implications, these detours can disrupt schedules, prolong construction, and erode the trust between builder and client. It's not just a matter of cost, but the emotional and psychological toll it can take as the vision of your new home becomes blurred by compromises and frustrations.  

Finessing the Foundations  

At AV Architects and Builders, our philosophy is prevention over cure. This mindset is woven into our ethos, as we emphasize the significant impact careful planning has on a project's success. The process before construction isn't just about blueprints and aesthetics; it's about considering the lifestyle, future needs, and personal tastes of our clients. By thoroughly discussing these elements and incorporating them into the project scope, we ensure that the final design is fully aligned with the homeowner's desires, minimizing the potential for future changes.  


Crafting Clarity in Communication

Our commitment to combating scope creep begins with clear and consistent communication with our clients. During the design process, we invite you to take your time—to question, to clarify, and to dream openly. We're not just constructing a building; we're crafting your future living space. It's for this reason that our design phase is not rushed but rather embraced as a critical component of our construction process. We are patient because we understand the significance of every decision made at this stage and its impact on the overall outcome of your home.  


How to Avoid Scope Creep

In conclusion, while scope creep is a common challenge in the world of construction, it is not an inevitable one. With architect-led design-build from AV Architects and Builders, your path to a new home is safeguarded against unnecessary detours and disruptions. Our unique design process is the map that we follow meticulously, guiding us to your envisioned outcome without the need for a course correction. Your dream home is not just a goal but a destination that we reach together, with shared enthusiasm and a mutual commitment to excellence.


9903 Georgetown Pike Suite 201
Great Falls, VA 22066
(703) 865-5065