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Table of Contents

How do you write a project scope for a construction project?

Include on a document the review of the blueprints, project charter/schedule, the reason for the project, summary of the services, cost estimates, project requirements and acceptance guidelines. You could also try Bonsai's free template to quickly customize and send off. Attorneys approve our templates so you'll be protected.

Who writes the SOW?

The client typically writes the SOW, however, authors vary. A project manager or independent contractor may also produce this document.

What is SOW format?

This legal document usually follows the format of defining the scope of work between a contractor and a client. It'll include the details of the relationship and cost. Bonsai's free pre-made templates have the correct format and structure. All you need to do is edit it and send them off

Planning your dream construction projects or just doing your homework before you talk to your project manager?

Well, you are in luck because we will show you how to create a good scope of work, covering every important detail of your project. Remember, a well-drafted scope of work document is vital in helping you bring your construction project (just as you envisioned it) to life.

Note: If you need a free scope of work template, try Bonsai's software. Easily customize the relevant details and send them off to clients to begin landing more deals. Claim your 14-day free trial here.

Introduction to Construction Scope of Work?

The scope of work is a part of the "Statement of Work" that outlines project goals and describes how you will accomplish them. It’s a separate document that is attached to the construction agreement. Both “Scope of Work” and “Statement of Work” are abbreviated as “SoW”, but they are completely different things.

It’s Importance

This document makes an important portion of contract document which defines the work included in the construction project. The sow template sets clear expectations for both parties (helping project managers and owner stay the on same page), covering responsibilities, milestones, etc.

Who is Responsible for Creating This Construction Document?

In most cases, the construction team does the heavy lifting for creating the plan, they have the scope of work builder template available to speed things up.

Although the project’s owner has the final say,  the contractor or his team  translate the owner’s requirements into deliverable milestones and create the construction scope.

Protect Your Interests

Call your lawyer and manager, and have your lawyer review the simple scope before you sign it

Residential vs. Commercial Construction Scope of Work

If you are wondering what is the difference between Commercial and residential construction scope of work? Well, there is no difference, except for the type of construction, and scale of additional resources. Apart from these, both of them remain almost identical.

Outlining a Good Contractor Scope Work Template

We will mention every minor detail you need to create a well-drafted work template for commercial or residential construction scope

Project Overview

There is a brief introduction at the start of scope of work. It summarizes the project and helps the reader learn about this specific project, who is involved, its work checklist, and the critical objectives that will help complete it. 

Avoid Confusion in Construction Scope

Clear wording and terminology are the keys to avoiding disputes, claims, and litigations with project managers down the line.  So, use words everyone can understand, including terms used for each party and the agreement itself. Avoid industry jargon or abbreviations.

Project Purpose

This second section details the reason why you commenced this project. It’s an outline of the project objectives and the purpose of the project. Project purpose helps the reader understand why this project is important to you.

Project Scope

The most detailed section of the construction scope covers how you plan to accomplish the task list given in the project description. All the tasks are broken into smaller ones within the project timeline to help complete them quickly.

Depending on the scale of the project itself, this section may contain detailed technical details or a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) which visualizes individual tasks and helps make this section digestible.

More Minor Details of the Construction Projects

You better mention every specific project or work requirement on expected outcomes, including the equipment, certifications you expect the team to have, or security clearances for workers.

Also, mention the job location of your construction work. It clarifies whether the project’s in a remote environment or will you meet on-site so your team can complete this project.

Milestones and Deliverables

Apart from detailing the tasks, the construction scope of work also includes “Milestones” to define project deliverables. It breaks down the project objectives into manageable chunks and helps workers reach their assigned goals on time. Don't forget to mention milestone dates for all the work for your project work.

Schedule and Timeline

A timeline covers task due dates, project’s deadlines, and when you should check up on the project’s progress.

Once you have cleared your milestones and assigned them, it’s time to schedule dates and deadlines. Speak with your contractors to understand how much time each milestone will take to complete, and set accurate timelines accordingly.

The timeline you set should be tentative to let the workers make adjustments according to their convenience (to some extent).

Standards and Testing

If there are any industry standards you wish to apply for, list them (and explain) here. This way, the scope of work document will refer to all test stages you expect to pass to complete the project successfully. Every testing stage should include information about who is involved in the project, requirement resources, equipment, and at what stage the testing will commence.

Your Definition of Success

When creating the standards or testing section, do mention your definition of success, including everything that makes the project or a millstone help pass the test.

Management and Administration

Define the administrative procedures of your project including how you will handle any change in work requirements, when or how you will release payment, etc. You better answer these questions here, along with giving any other vital contract or legal requirement in your contract.

Payments Details

Everything related to costs associated with the project goes here on scope of work templates. Mention everything from the outside expense, resources, material, equipment, location, and labor cost to the payment schedule, and mode of payment here.

Write down the payment structure including upfront, milestone, and successful deliveries. You may need to coordinate with a lawyer and your contractor for this.

Contractor’s Signature

This part only consists of a few lines saying the contractor agrees with what is expected from them or their team and will deliver the project deliverables within the given deadlines (according to your requirements).

Other Details

If you overlooked or missed any important aspects in work documents like travel expenses, payment terms, security concerns, restrictions on hardware or software, testing or support after completion (from a project management point of view), you can mention it here with a dedicated section. Once again, speak with your lawyer and contractor for their input.

What If You Need to Make Some Changes During Construction?

Making changes once the work template is signed and the work process has started usually leads to issues. Therefore, as we discussed before, it’s better to leave a “Changes” section empty (don’t cross it out) in the Scope of work document. It helps make changes without creating much disruption.

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