Change control procedures

Once a project brief has been agreed and signed off, any change needs to be carefully managed using an agreed change control procedure.

Use change control procedures to make sure all potential changes are logged and tracked.


Suggested changes will have an impact on the timescale and costs (positive or negative).


All implications need to be considered, and if agreed, formally signed off by the client.

A change control form makes sure all potential changes are logged and tracked.

It will include

  • What the proposed change is

  • Reasons for it

  • Design costs associated with making the change

  • How it may affect construction costs

  • What date the decision was made.

Until a change is signed off, the design team will continue to work on the original, so the process should be as quick as reasonably possible.


Lines of communication need to be clear so everyone knows about the change as soon as it is agreed.

A change is anything that alters the brief or basis of design so some re-work is needed, which may have an impact on the project budget.


When a change is first proposed, the change originator who suggests it should complete an Early Warning Notice (EWN) form.

You can download a template early warning notice (168kb Word document) here.


They will issue the EWN to the client and lead designer, and add the EWN to the Change Control Register. Download a template change control register (60kb Excel spreadsheet) here.


The client will review the EWN with the lead designer and design management team, and decide if it should be investigated, or if they need more information from the change originator.

If the client believes the change is worth investigating, they will ask for it to be added to the Change Control Register. It will have a change order request number assigned to it.

The design team will then comment on the impacts of the proposed change, including

  • design

  • programme

  • quality

  • cost.


The quantity surveyor (QS) will indicate changes in costs.

This information will feed into the Change Order Request. You can download a template change order request (161kb Word document) here.

The client will review the change order request with the lead designer and design management team, and decide whether to approve it.

Whatever the client decision, it will be noted on the change control register.

If the client decides to go ahead with the change, the design and construction programmes should be checked and updated if necessary. The design drawings and documents should also be checked and amended as appropriate.

An early warning notice (EWN) alerts the client to any risk to the scheme which could lead to

  • increases in costs (professional fees or construction costs)

  • delays in the project

  • delays in meeting a key date

  • making any part of the process or project less useful to the client

  • change to the way sub-consultants work.

Our processes ensure that all changes to a project are properly managed. Talk to us if you'd like support with your major architectural project.