Insight into variations

Rhys PrkaThe West Australian
Jay Walter.
Camera IconJay Walter. Credit: Supplied.

When you start building your home, you might decide you want to change a few things; maybe you want to move a few outlets or change the tiles in the bathroom.

This is called a variation.

“A variation, also known as a VO (variation order) or UCVO (under construction variation order), is an alteration to the scope of works in a construction contract in the form of an addition, substitution or omission from the original scope of works,” JWH Group General Manager Jay Walter said.

While variations are typically perceived to be expensive, Mr Walter said this was entirely dependant on the type of variation.

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“For example, if you had full-height tiling in your contract and removed this from your contract, this would be a VO that would give you a credit, which would save you money,” he said.

Where it can be expensive is the variation fee a builder may charge, according to Mr Walter

“A variation fee is in place to generally cover the administrative costs to make the change,” he said.

“This could be administration time, design or drafting hours or fees for the shire.

“The fee can either be applied as a percentage or a fixed amount, and is subject to what the actual variation item is.”

Mr Walter said ideally homebuyers would want to aim to make as many of their decisions as possible at contract signing stage.

“To do this you need to think far in advance as to the overall look and finish of your home,” he said.

“It’s also worth running your own personal Excel spreadsheet or table, listing your variations and the amounts as you build so you can keep personal tabs on what you are spending.”

Mr Walter said imagining a home off the plan could be difficult.

“Your new home administrator will naturally do their best to capture your vision and reflect this in your plans for what you’d like your home to look like, but once out onsite, people walk through their home and see things they may want to change,” he said.

“Some of the common ones are the locations of things like power points and switches, or the layout of their drawers and cupboards.”


JWH Group, 9464 7800


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