What is the Scope of Work for a Construction Project

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What is the Scope of Work for a Construction Project

Any construction project has a scope of work, and every project manager should know what it is. 

In short, the scope of work is a list and description of what work contractors should perform under their contract on the project. The more detailed the scope of work, the better the team will perform. It allows team members to understand what the goal of the project is and how it will be executed. 

The scope of work consists of

Project Overview: A description of what the main goals are. How the work will be executed and where are the boundaries? An overview should be a brief description and talk about the main objectives.

Project Scope: This is where the main scope of the project is split into smaller tasks. Usually, every contractor has one objective, for example, concrete wall production and installation. In order to produce and install, there are many tasks contractors have to perform. These tasks are the project scope. The more detailed these tasks are, the less confusion there will be between team members.

Project Deliverables: This section should list all project goals and objectives in order to give a contractor all the information they require to comprehend the requirements of the project.

Project Schedule: The projected timeline for the construction project is outlined in the project schedule. A schedule should include dates, deliveries, tasks, and overall duration.

Project Management: In this section, the project manager outlines the responsible individuals for the project. For example, in this section, it should be outlined who is responsible for design, project management, site management, production, etc. In this section, anyone who reviews the scope of work can understand their role in the project. Here should also be detailed all the documents and change orders. 

Tips for Defining the Scope of Work

Breaking down the scope

    First, you have to determine what could be possible and how much time you would need to finish the project. This information can come from the contract, your experience, and feedback from the team. The whole scope must be split into smaller tasks that require a few days to finish and don’t require many resources. Avoid making tasks where different departments or subcontractors are involved; this can only confuse things and damage the project timeline.

    A very detailed breakdown of the project into who, what, and when will help make the scope of work more clear.

    Use plain language

      Goals must be clearly stated in a simple language that everyone can understand. You definitely should avoid lawyers language and style of writing. 

      Keep the text in short sentences and use bullet points if necessary. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives.

      Clarify the goals and deliverables

        Once the scope is made and detailed, everything on it must be discussed with the team. The team must be introduced with goals and objectives. Commitment from each team member is important; this will ensure that they have been introduced and are ready to achieve.

        The main problem comes when the scope of work is not properly introduced to the team members. Not every member has seen it, and each one of them can work towards a different goal. This then opens up space for errors and schedule delays. 

        Illustrations and drawings 

          Up-to-date drawings and illustrations are priority number one. With illustrations, team members or new team members can quickly understand the objectives and deliverables of the project. These illustrations give an understanding of what the end result will be. Up to date drawings are important for the team when they are executing the project. It is a must to keep an eye on whether drawings are up to date. Whenever some changes happen and a new drawing is made, the whole team must be informed about such changes. Most companies use cloud software for storing drawings, and usually such updates are notified by email. 


          A detailed and well made scope of work is a key to a successful project. I believe most experts will agree that the main reason projects fail is a poorly prepared scope of work. This is the foundation for any construction project. Detailing the scope of work and setting out objectives and goals with the team will increase the success of the project. 

          The scope of work shouldn’t be broad or too detailed. The team is the one who will review it and make a commitment. If the team sees the goals and you have commitment from the team, then the documentation is well prepared. Otherwise, everything must be reviewed. 

          PMBOK is a great source when contractors and project managers can learn more about this topic.