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All industries have their own jargon, and the building & construction industry is no exception. For people outside of the industry, it is sometimes difficult to know exactly what certain terms mean. A lot of this jargon makes its way into contracts as well. We have taken the liberty of explaining some of these builder jargon terms to help you better understand what your builders or subbies are going on about!


Variations are so common in building that it is rare for a project to have none. Yet, some builders don’t do a great job at explaining to their clients what ARE and what ARE NOT variations. This can lead to disputes over costs, which can get ugly. 

So what ARE they?

Variations are extras or changes that are not included in your contract. They are very common and often come about when a client wants to upgrade or change a specification..

For example…
Diane and Peter are building a three bedroom home. They want to make a window in their master bedroom larger to let in more light. This is considered a variation.

Why do they incur a fee?

Homeworx Home

Any variation made creates administrative, or even re-design work. In the case of Diane and Peter, their variation creates both:

  • Size changes will need to be reviewed by the architect to see whether or not light and insulation requirements are still met

  • A change in window size may alter the bracing plan, thus the structural integrity of the building

  • Changes will need to be sent to council for approval and may incur a fee from council

  • The entire plans will need to be re-drawn

  • The previous purchase order for window joinery will need to be cancelled

  • Window and joinery will need to be re-quoted and re-ordered

  • All of these changes have to be communicated to the builders on the job

Even simple variations require work for the building company.

Variations Form Example

For example…

Diane and Peter also decide they want to change their bathroom and kitchen fittings from silver to black.

Administrative work required from building company:

  • Fittings will need to be re-quoted

  • Previous purchase order needs to be cancelled

  • Price increase must be calculated

  • Black fittings need to be re-ordered (in some cases this can alter the schedule of the build if products cannot be delivered when required)

  • Plumbers pack needs to be changed

  • All of this must be communicated to builders

Homeworx and Variations

Before we proceed with a change as a result of a variation we will discuss extra costs with you and how it may affect your project schedule. Variations must also be signed off by you either on our mobile app or a variation form.

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