English: This article has a two-fold aim, namely of reviewing the literature pertaining to waste associated with variation orders and providing a tool for identification of waste zones arising from a variation order. Literature was reviewed about the administration and waste associated with variation orders. Two case studies for the purpose of the study consisted of completed apartment complexes in Cape Town. Variation orders on the respective projects were grouped by number and value in an origin-cause table. The literature review confirmed the likelihood of waste of resources following the occurrence of variation orders. Arguably, the excessive occurrence of variation orders was among factors that contributed to overall higher construction delivery costs and time overruns. By auditing each variation order in terms of the value, origin agent and the cause, it was possible to identify some project aspects that yielded waste of resources. Typically, these were the cost of errors originating from the consultant and the client. The origin-cause matrix could be a tool to provide a breakdown of the probable magnitude of waste associated with variation orders. The study was confined to a limited number of apartment-type construction projects to provide insight into the potential impact of variation orders on project performance. The origin-cause matrix could be a practical tool used to track construction project activities that yield waste. The topic discusses issues that have not been widely covered by previous research studies. The origin-cause matrix was designed as a tool for identification of waste based on a theory of waste formation.