Construction Scope
Construction Scope

Creating a Well-Defined Construction Scope of Work in 5 Easy Ways


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One of the most important parts of construction agreement is the scope of work, even more essential than the agreed price. Without a well-defined SOW, there’s no possible way to determine what work should be implemented. It only means it is very crucial to establish the scope during the contracting period.

Furthermore, writing a scope of work (SOW) is an integral part of the construction business for many contractors, particularly those who handle large-scale projects. The statement of work defines specific details and phases for a particular project. It will also showcase the flow of the plan and the actions taken. SOW is a well-organized document where the business plans are spelled out in full detail.

For this article, let’s begin understanding the scope of work including its 5 components and a 5-step guideline for creating one.

What is the Scope of Work?

The scope of work in construction refers to a list of all construction obligations including work activities that all projects managers, suppliers, contractors and subcontractors are obligated to do. Everything in the scope is written out in a contract or agreement form, termed the scope of work (SOW). It is typically used in project management, particularly in tracking progress.

For construction projects, SOW may be a separate document usually attached to the agreement or perhaps a contract portion. You can actually tell if the work scope is properly written when there’s enough detail to ensure that every member involved in the project stays on the same page. The scope of work is considered as the most foundational piece of any construction contract. Without a clear and defined SOW, payment disputes and project delays will soar and project completion can be impossible to achieve.

Listed below is the scope of work elements:

· Outlines all regulations and standards, including any unique specifications and requirements

· Explain all related tasks, duties, and limitations needed in obtaining the results

· Determine all the obligations and responsibilities of the participating contractors

· Includes the contract method and payment schedules

· Defines all the requirements of the project and objectives of the contract

5 Components of the Scope of Work

Some important considerations must be included before setting out the scope of work and these are the 5 basic components of SOW. Take a look below.

1. Project Overview

A brief outline of the key objectives and project summary is expected to be included in here. The statement outlining the project description should be short yet concise. By doing so, there will be an assurance that the project will be completed successfully.

2. Milestones and Deliverables

This particular section must outline all anticipated project goals that need to be obtained. Obtaining these goals must happen within the lifespan of the construction projects. The deliverables will include sufficient information and insights to give the project manager and contractors a clear and better understanding of the project requirements. Deliverables can all be inputted using a construction scheduling software. Accessing it anytime and anywhere is one of the best features it provides.

3. Scope and Technical Details

The scope of the project will give the participating members some important details about technical aspects and other tasks. Specific techniques and methods required for the completion are listed. These are the portions that significantly affect the contractor’s performance alongside the evaluation criteria.

4. Schedule and Timeline

This section is not a fully detailed construction schedule, but it is like a general list of all created tasks related to the project. It is the part where contractors have to plan around the deadlines. To do so, contractors have to know the overall scheduled delivery dates, project timeline, and other completion milestones.

Using a builder trends software can make the construction schedule easier to outline. All created tasks and the designated crew member can be tracked and monitored using this application.

5. Management and Admin

This portion from SOW is referring to the administrative procedures needed on a construction project. How will these change orders be handled? How and when are payments to be issued? This set of questions are best answered in this section alongside other relevant contract and legal requirements.

The management can utilize construction management software to properly manage construction procedures, change orders, and guidelines set to be implemented in the midst of the work.

5 Effective Ways to Create a Construction Scope of Work

Let’s break down the 5 practical ways in creating a well-defined SOW:

1. Include Clear Definitions and Terminology

Clear terminology and wording go a long way to reduce the risks of litigation, disputes and claims. Besides, including a definition section or glossary can definitely help in avoiding any misunderstandings. Apparently, the construction business is known to be overloaded with several abbreviations and industry jargon. Thus, ensure that anyone who has the opportunity of reading the SOW can actually and literally read it.

2. Breaking down the entire pieces

The overall construction project can be very tedious and lengthy. For this reason, it is essential to break it into smaller parts in order to determine the scope of work. Anyone who handles in creating it can start with much broader terms. Next, create sections for every level of work that needs to be finished. By doing so, it will be easier for the involved crew to follow the flow of the work and determine the recently-completed parts including what is left to do.

3. Set Realistic Expectations and Goals for the Project

Project goals must be realistic and ambitious. Therefore, this set of goals must be broadly worded enough to reference it easily. The most important part of all is setting these goals as specific and clear to provide better details necessary for the performance. The project’s objectives must state the materials and time expected for every task. By doing so, contractors and subcontractors will know what things they need the most and how much of the time they actually need to perform.

4. Include Visual Aides

Drawings, photos, and graphs are great ways to ensure that any vague terms are determined and clarified. Regardless of having a definition section, there are still some few phrases and words that are always open for more interpretations. Providing models and plans can lessen any form of misunderstanding and give a point of assessment with the project’s actual development.

Graphs and photos can be saved and shared using builder software. Accessing images and other drawings are easier for the crew. The tool has a cloud-based feature that allows everybody to access it anywhere at any given time.

5. Get Signoffs from Contractors and Subs                      

This portion is a simple wat to avoid any possible disputes with every involved participant. Let each participating subcontractor sign off on an SOW copy. Signing the document is a way of confirming that they have read and understood their obligations. You also have the choice to let them sign whenever a personal objective or milestones is being reached.

Before Writing the Scope of Work

A well-written SOW enables the construction business to get the most of everything, especially in contracts. It will also help the business earn a good reputation and respect and build customer goodwill. Using SOW for any construction project can help establish credibility, which will make the clients trust the services offered.

Before writing the scope of work, make sure to follow the guidelines listed below:

· Use a template for your SOW. You’ll probably prefer to use this template in every project.

· Spend time searching for any SOW examples. You can start searching over the web, there’s plenty of these samples and templates. You can check in here.

· Describe the work to be done in full and clear details. Never missed anything out. If you’re tasked to create the SOW, you have to be wise and thorough. Giving a complete outline of the project will ensure a much easier way of managing it.

· Always include details about procedures, guidelines and policies that might affect the scope of the project

· Take sufficient time to understand further the client’s requirements, including their expectations regarding project goal, deliverables, and deadlines.

· Ensure to let the team be informed of the collected information. Let them pay attention to any of their concerns and seek their individual inputs on deadlines or any milestones. Using a subcontractor scheduling software, it will be easier for the crew to access project-related information.

· If the client isn’t familiar with SOW documents, let them see the SOWs from the previous projects. Doing so will help them gain insights and better understand why their specifications are incredibly crucial.

· Mention maintenance agreements, warranty terms, and all other significant terms and conditions. Be specific in giving details about the maintenance agreements.

Key Takeaways

The scope for construction project documents is expected to be done with tons of considerations. However, with responsibilities and obligations being taken properly, it can help distinguish disagreements that affect the flow of the scope. Above all, creating a well-formulated SOW can significantly provide a high level of certainty and security. It is why the scope of the work has become one of the essential parts of completing projects.

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