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JANUARY JLC 1997 I Clear specifications and written change orders are the answer when clients exceed allowance prices n a perfect world, every detail of a construction project would be nailed down by the time the contract is signed. In practice, however, there is always something — a choice of countertop material, a kitchen cabinet style, a type of lockset or lighting fixture — that is still up in the air when the project starts. Whether you're working from in-house designs or architectural plans, a common solution to this problem is the use of allowance prices. When used properly, allowances give both owners and contractors a reasonably accurate idea of the final cost of a project. Used carelessly, however,