Construction Scope of Work Template

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Table of content

Scope of work (SOW) is vital for any construction project because it sets expectations for the client, contractors, and subcontractors. A SOW template also acts as a point of reference in the event of disputes during project management and execution.

This guide will discuss the scope of work, why it's crucial for contractors, and templates you can use.

Note: After you complete the scope of work, try Bonsai's construction contract template to kickstart the agreement with a new client. You'll also get access to our proposal and invoice templates on top of all our other freelancer tools. Claim your 14-day free trial here.

What is a Scope of Work in Project Management?

Also known as a statement of work, a SOW can be a section of a contractor's contract or a separate document. The scope of work outlines the obligations and rights of contractors, subs, and clients so that they are all on the same page.

What Does a Scope of Work Include?

Construction projects vary in size and, consequently, the construction scope of work. For instance, a commercial construction scope differs from a residential construction scope of work (apartments, flats, and houses).

Generally, here are the critical elements of a well-written scope of work.

Project Description

  • A project description should explain the job overview or summary in a way that is easily understandable by all parties involved. The report should list the objectives of the project. The client should explain their expectation here.
  • For example, a client can let the contractor know that they expect a clean and litter-free environment after the completion of the project.

Project Deliverables

  • Creating a SOW requires the client to outline tangible goals for the project. Instead of replacing taps during a house renovation, replace the current fixtures with faucet ones. Or, retile the bathrooms with bright colored walls and floor tiles.
  • Breaking down the deliverables in a tangible manner helps the contractor understand what is expected of them for successful project completion.

Project Scope

  • The scope explains the different milestones of the project and how to achieve them if different contractors are working on a single project—the scope details what each contractor or sub should do and when.

Schedule and Timeline

The client should outline all tasks and their expected completion time. A timeline helps the contractor plan their time well to deliver assignments within the stipulated timeline.

Project Management

The project management explains in writing how aspects such as payment, disputes, and change orders are handled. Any other legal issue is explained here.

Tips to Help you Create a Scope of Work for your Construction Projects

Having all the vital elements of a contractor's scope of work is not enough. The success of any contracting business depends on how well the construction scope is outlined. Some best practices can help business owners articulate their requirements to contractors.

Be Realistic

  • When setting goals for a contractor's scope of work, it's okay to be ambitious but realistic. It is imperative to remain realistic, especially when setting timelines and budgets.

Use Visuals

  • What you think is easy to understand may not be for everyone. You want to ensure that you've explained the project scope so well that there won't be any disputes. The best way to do this is to include visuals. The best visuals include graphs, photos, sketches, drawings, and plans.

Clear and Concise Language

As a contractor, you may know some industry jargon your client may not understand. It helps to create a good scope of the work contract that uses simple language. If technical words are used, ensure to have a glossary list explaining the meaning of each of these technical details.

How to Implement a Construction Scope of Work

Now that you know what to include in your scope of work document, it's time to implement the project goals. But how?

Business Representative's Signature

Contractors and subs should sign the scope of work documents at the beginning to acknowledge that they have read and understood their rights and obligations. Additionally, you should ensure that they also sign off after they accomplish each milestone in your construction project.

Having everyone sign off the construction scope of work document also makes it a legally binding contract.

Proper Communication

Communication is crucial if the project manager meets all project objectives. With proper communication, transparency is also upheld. Since a construction SOW agreement is legally binding, it holds all project managers accountable.

Contractors can also use the statement as a reference in the event of disputes regarding milestone dates, payment, and other important details.

Construction Scope of Work Template

Now that we already know what a construction scope of work is and why it's important, what does it look like?

There are many construction scope of work templates available online and free for download. Alternatively, you can use software to help you create an SOW for your projects. This way, you don't have to worry about all the time you will use creating one.

Generally, there are three main types of scope of work templates used for different industries.

Design/ Detail Scope of Work template

The design scope of work template details the processes a contractor or subcontractor should follow to complete the work. It specifies each requirement, and there are repercussions of going against it.

Construction companies mainly use the design SOW to manage projects. This type of SOW also helps any government agency monitor contractors and suppliers to ensure that they meet each requirement.

Unit Rate Scope of Work Template

The unit rate scope of work template helps businesses that hire people on contract write down the process of what's expected from the service providers. Usually, the agreement contains the specific services required and the time needed to fulfill them.

Performance-Based Scope of Work Template

Government agencies commonly use a performance-based scope of work template to monitor work performed. This template explains the resources provided for project execution, the goals of the project, and the expected results.

Construction Scope of Work Template Examples

There are many scopes of work examples online that you can use for benchmarking. There are sample scope of work templates from a government entity that can be found. The template outlines all the key elements that a construction scope of work should contain.


The construction scope of work template is essential for all project managers. A SOW is more important than factors such as cost and labor. With a well-outlined scope, projects are much more likely to succeed than those that don't have one.

The above guide explains everything you need to know about scopes of work in the construction industries, an example of a template, and how you can write one yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about this template.