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5 Reasons Why Change Control Is Important For Projects.

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 15th July 2013

Paul, could you please provide feedback on the below;

  1. Explain five reasons why change control is important for projects.


1.       Purpose,

2.       The cost of change curve figure58,

3.       counterproductive to have uncontrolled change,

4.       cost is fully considered,

5.       proper authorisation


The change control process is required to make sure that the baselines of the project are secured and only changed with appropriate controls, checks, agreement and communication. This is important so that effective control over the project is maintained. For example imagine a project without change control; you have commissioned a contractor to build a red house but due to no controls, checks, agreement or communication the contractor ends up building a green barn – this would not be acceptable.

Another reason is that as time progresses our ability to change the project reduces whereas the cost increase, similar to the cost of change curve. Thus, any change at a late stage in the project would have a significant cost and may be difficult to implement. For example if a building with a concrete roof was a month from completion and a request to add a glass roof was made, this change would be immense as not only would the roof be effected but also the interior works would also be effected, as well as the project deadline.

It is counterproductive to have uncontrolled change, for much time is spent in planning and producing viable documentation and communicating this to the team. If change is uncontrolled, there would be much confusion from the various stakeholders and ultimately no one would know what was going on. For example if during the implementation phase the Architect drew up plans with new details and issued these to the Contractor without advising the PM, this would cause problems as the Contractor would at some stage seek to claim for the new changes.

When the project is commissioned, the project costs have been fully considered and understood. Any changes to these agreed parameters may call into question the viability of the project as a whole. For example, a greenfield site being developed as a new suburb maybe aborted if it is found that the change in economic environment was not conducive to provide the rate of return within the business case.  

The final reason change control is important, is that all changes require the proper authorisation and in turn allows the Project Manager to keep track of and control the changes. This is implemented by using a change control log whereby change requests are logged, evaluated (initial and detail assessments), recommended, plans are modified and the change is executed. For example a change request is only authorised once it is approved by the Sponsor.