Here are some benefits to having lead carpenters write change orders:

* Faster turnaround. When a change order passes from field to office, the chance for delays increases. A lead carpenter can calculate and present the change within 24 hours.

* Changes are more likely to be billed. Giving the field crew authority to write change orders will prevent them from making on-site changes before the paperwork clears the office.

* The field staff will be better informed. When leads write change orders, it prevents mistakes caused by their forgetting about or disregarding paperwork.

* The sales staff can focus on new work. On some projects, change orders are so numerous that the salesperson does not have time for new projects.

* Better knowledge of work details. Field staff will know how a change must be executed. When trained properly they can efficiently include details and pricing.

You should set limits on this process. The size of the change order should be limited so the lead can do them without spending too much time on paperwork. Salespeople should handle changes that involve design or misunderstandings between them and the client. --Tim Faller, Field Training Services,