How to Write a Scope of Work for a Construction Project
The Scope of Work is among the most important documents to have in place before a construction project begins. The SOW describes the work needed to complete a construction project, defines the roles of the various stakeholders involved, and lays out milestones to ensure a smooth project from start to finish. The Scope of Work is important not just to set expectations but also to drive accountability from the various people involved in the project.
What is a Construction Scope of Work?
A Scope of Work is a highly detailed document that gives the client a clear picture of what their expectations should be over the course of a construction project. It breaks down the responsibilities, timelines, and tasks to be carried out by contractors, subcontractors, vendors, and other stakeholders along with other details that have an impact on the outcome of a construction project.
The Scope of Work is a useful document to measure the progress of a construction project once it gets underway.
Components of a Construction Scope of Work
The most important function of a Scope of Work is to give everyone involved in a project a clear picture of the entire project along with their roles within it. A construction Scope of Work should include the following components.
1. Project Overview
This is a short statement that summarizes the project and key objectives.
2. Project Deliverables
This section outlines the milestones necessary to complete the project along with the deliverables needed to achieve them. This section should give contractors a clear picture of what is expected of them.
3. Project Scope
Closely related to the deliverables, this section gets into the technicalities of how the deliverables are to be achieved. This section gets into the minutiae of the individual steps and methods that the contractors will use to complete their tasks.
4. Involve the Contractors and Subcontractors
Involve your teams and your contractors while writing your Scope of Work. Their expertise in their fields of work will be invaluable while outlining the phases, requirements, and timeframes necessary for their work. They may also be able to help you with budgetary requirements, value engineering and cost savings too.
5. Project Schedule and Timeline
This section gives an overview of your construction schedule. It gives an overview of when major tasks need to be completed so contractors understand their deadlines.
6. Project Management and Administration
This section outlines how administrative processes will be handled during the project including payroll details, and schedules, and how change orders will be handled along with terms and conditions of contracts.
While you should aim to avoid using jargon as far as possible, sometimes its use is inevitable. Including definitions of terms used in the document helps everyone involved understand it.
Tips to Write a Successful Scope of Work
Keep the following tips in mind while writing your scope of work.
Be Clear and Concise
Make sure that you use clear and concise language in your Scope of Work. Don’t be vague and use words like ‘must’ and ‘shall’ to avoid ambiguity for mandatory actions. Be clear about timelines for deliverables and make sure the objectives of the project are clear.
It’s important to be firm about the goals you want to achieve. However, it’s equally important that they are reasonable. Make sure your goals are measurable along with evaluation criteria.
Include Visual Aids
Visual aids are a great way to give everyone involved a better understanding of the vision for the construction project. Include charts, photographs and drawings wherever possible to clarify the various sections of your project. Provide building plans and 3d renderings wherever possible.
Involve the Contractors and Subcontractors
Involve your teams and your contractors while writing your Scope of Work. Their expertise in their fields of work will be invaluable while outlining the phases, requirements, and timeframes necessary for their work. They may also be able to help you with budgetary requirements and cost savings too.
A detailed scope of work is a great way to make sure you have everything covered before a construction project gets underway and avoid disputes in the long run.
Syncra Construction is an expert construction management company dealing with the core areas of Pre-Construction, Construction Management, and General Contracting in the Lower Mainland. Built upon a solid foundation of knowledge and experience, the company offers a unique portfolio of mixed-use, commercial, residential, institutional, public realm, and First Nations projects.
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