More on the Scope of Work

The Scope of Work

Use the Scope of Work to control QUALITY on your project

What is a Scope of Work?

"If you want to work on my project, this is how you will build it".

The Scope of Work (SOW) is the second step in the Terms and Conditions -> Scope of Work -> Work Order -> Inspection Report process. It is the menu for how the work is to be done on your project. Extremely detailed, it reflects how you would do the work so that those performing the technical labor replace you on the project.

The SOW is a dynamic document, meaning that it will be adapted as you become aware of new products or techniques. We recommend issuing a new SOW for each project so that the subcontractor always has the latest version in its hands.

It is a notice to the subcontractor that he has to meet this level of performance to be paid. The document describes to the subcontractor what you expect to have done, how you expect to have it done, and the consequences if the work is not done correctly. This document should strive to eliminate any confusion about your work requirements.

Creating the Scope of Work

  • Clearly state the objective of the SOW, the end result that your are seeking.
  • Define the other documents that comprise the remainder of the package. If you are using the Builder Resource suggestions, the package also includes the Terms and Conditions, the Work Order, and the Inspection Reports relating to the work phase.
  • Define any terms that might be confused or twisted in discussions after-the-fact.
  • Lay out the general standards applicable to all trades. This could include conduct on the job, interaction with other subcontractors, invoice submittal procedure, warranty requirements, and any other general instructions.
  • If you are using the Terms and Conditions -> Scope of Work -> Work Order -> Inspection Report process, this section is a reiteration of the important parts of the Terms and Conditions document.
  • Describe general work requirements such as how this trade can coordinate with previous trades and trades to come, delivery requirements, clean-up procedures, etc.
  • Describe, in very specific detail, how the actual installation or work is to be performed.
  • Do not be afraid to be very demanding here. This is the point at which you transfer your knowledge to the subcontractor.
  • This is also the point at which you build the Inspection Report checklist. If you do not document your work performance requirements here, you cannot expect the work to be done to your standards.
  • Further, and most importantly, this is where you build and preserve your reputation. When you were the technician, you did it a certain way because you recognized the importance of quality to your client. If you are going to preserve that hard-won reputation, you must assure those working for you meet the same quality benchmark.
  • The Scope of Work is how you do that.
  • Have the agent for the subcontractor sign the SOW to confirm that they received a copy, and agree to abide by the instructions and requirements in the document.
  • Create Scopes of Work for the following trades:
  • Excavation/Grading
  • Foundation
  • Framing
  • Roofing
  • Window/Exterior Door Labor
  • Flatwork
  • Stucco
  • Siding/Exterior Trim
  • Soffit/Facia
  • Shutter
  • Gutters
  • Deck/Porch
  • Garage Doors
  • Landscaping
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning
  • Fireplace
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Insulation
  • Drywall
  • Interior Finish Trim
  • Stairs
  • Flooring – Hard Surface
  • Flooring – Carpet
  • Painting
  • Mirrors/Shower Doors
  • Countertops
  • Cleaning

Six Ways to Use the Scopes of Work to Control Jobsite Quality

and move away from the hands-on role to the hand-off role, the SOW preserves and extends your knowledge to the tradesmen doing the work.

exactly how you want the work done will help you separate the weak subcontractor from the future team member. The subcontractor who balks at a list of reasonable performance benchmarks to which he is going to be held is a subcontractor you are better off without.

that many subcontractors will offer suggestions about how to better perform the tasks listed once they see that we are serious about meeting the benchmarks. The document actually becomes a discussion starter for improving processes and products.

will work very well for enforcing warranty repair issues. Once agreement exists up-front as to what the subcontractor responsibilities are, it is very easy to demonstrate where the sub may have strayed from the guidelines.

establish a very simple “yes-no” decision model for payment. If all the work was completed as agreed, payment will be made. If not, payment will be made when the work meets expectations.

to enforce quality measures on the job. This fact will put the subcontractor in the correct frame of mind.  Just as importantly, it will exhibit your effort to control project quality to your client, lender, and any other interested party.

The SOW, and in fact the entire Terms and Conditions -> Scope of Work -> Work Order -> Inspection Report process, is an important part of your financial and legal risk management program.

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