Sourcing your scope of work: The how and what

To outline the necessities in your SOW, you can break it down into nine pieces.

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April 25, 2019 |

When creating your scope of work, knowing the Who, What, When, Where and How is key to laying out the foundation of the project. Looking at each of these pieces in more detail, though, we know the information you include can make or break the long term plan being laid out. So how you do you source clear and accurate data while covering all the points you need to hit?

To outline the necessities in your SOW, you can break it down into nine pieces: purpose statement; contractor responsibilities; owner responsibilities; project execution requirements; quality, quantity, and means of execution; project timeline; payment and reporting schedules; related tasks; and contractor performance evaluations. These sections will help clearly lead the reader to one specific conclusion, leaving no room for interpretation and eliminating ambiguity.

In order to be clear and complete, you’ll have to gather a lot of supporting data. We did the leg work to identify exactly where you should source your information from:

 

Plans and Specs

Existing plans and specifications for identical or similar buildings should be a go-to resource. These documents (including those scopes of work) are an amazing source of information including drawings, details on the materials and products used, installation methods and quality of work.

 

As-builts

Unexpected things happen on a job site, and contractors stray from even the best plans and specs from time to time. Studying as-built documents can explain why plans were deviated from and how. This will help owners prepare for changes or, ideally, prevent them.

 

Site Visits

For the Context Scope, there is no substitute for visiting a project site. A site visit will help inform challenges to equipment and material delivery, the conditions and operations of the existing facility and give a close-up look at potential security concerns. Walking the project area reveals ground-level knowledge owners can use to “build it before they build it.”

 

Vendors

Trustworthy vendors have a wealth of experience and see projects through the lens of that experience. This sort of help and advice can help ensure scope is useful and complete.

 

Third-Party Data

A construction cost database is typically associated with estimating, but access to verified, impartial data is invaluable for scope development as well. A robust cost database can fill in knowledge gaps and account for details owners may not consider. For example, RSMeans data from Gordian includes assembly models where construction tasks are grouped together and square foot models that provide an early idea of overall costs. This includes all the components and labor associated with complex jobs and is invaluable in the early planning stages and for validating estimates.

There is no such thing as too much data. Knowing what information you need a how to use it in your scope will prove invaluable to you planning process. A Scope of Work sets the tone for the whole project, so make sure you leave no stone unturned and no question un-asked.

 

For more information on how to create clear budgets via Scope of Work, check out our eBook.

Rory Woolsey has worked in the construction industry for over 40 years, starting as a laborer and superintendent. He has since held positions design, engineering, estimating and management positions at construction industry leaders Bechtel, RS Means Company and The Gordian Group. For 20 years he was the lead estimator and president of The Wool-Zee Company, Inc. working for architects, engineers and facility managers to accurately budget their construction projects at all stages of design. Rory has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil/ Structural Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in construction project management.

 

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