Prepare an Effective Scope of Work For Your Next Construction Project
Every professional in the construction industry can tell you that one of the most important aspects of construction project management is the scope of work. It outlines the expectations of all parties involved, provides specific guidelines for how these expectations will be met, and defines administrative procedures on the project. A well-written scope of work helps ensure that all parties have a clear understanding of their obligations for the project and that all project deliverables are met in a timely manner.
Ideally, your scope of work should significantly reduce the possibility of payment disputes, project delays, defects, and other common issues on construction projects. However, you cannot reap these benefits unless your scope of work is well-written, concise, and clear enough to be understood by all parties involved. This article will review everything you need to prepare an effective scope of work for your next construction project. If you have any further questions or could simply benefit from guidance during this process, don’t hesitate to contact a Dade County contractor lawyer from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
Essential Elements of a Scope of Work
The first thing to understand about writing an effective scope of work is the essential elements that should be included. Below, we’ve compiled a list of these must-have items.
- Project Overview: This should be a brief, concise statement that summarizes the description of the project. It should answer questions, such as why the project is necessary, and establish key objectives that should be achieved to successfully complete the project.
- Project Deliverables: This section of the document outlines in detail all of the expected goals and outcomes that should be reached throughout the lifespan of the project. The contractor should be able to fully understand the requirements of the document after reading this portion of the scope of work.
- Project Scope: This should include any and all quantifiable goals outlined in the contract. Along with specific milestones, this section will also contain specific techniques or methods required for the completion of the project, evaluation criteria, and other technical specifications.
- Project Schedule: The project schedule outlines all of the required tasks and when they should be completed, including delivery dates, the overall length of the project, and any relevant completion milestones.
- Project Management: This section entails details regarding payment information (how and when payments will be made), any changes to the original contract, and functions of the project administration. It’s also a place to specify contract administration and time management details.
Tips for Planning and Defining Your Scope of Work
One of the most important aspects of an effective scope of work is clear wording. Above anything else, it’s absolutely crucial to ensure that your scope of work is clearly-defined and leaves no room for alternate interpretations. This will significantly minimize your risk for claims, disputes, and potential litigation. Here are some key tips to help you establish clarity in your scope of work:
- Define Terminology: It’s important to remember that all parties involved in the contract are not necessarily familiar with the jargon and abbreviations of the construction industry. Simply providing a section dedicated to terminology or a glossary will work wonders.
- Outline Your Project: Objectives and deliverables will guide the course of your project. To ensure these goals are achieved, we recommend specifying the parties responsible for each of these tasks, creating a reliable schedule, and having all parties involved agree upon the terms.
- Get Signatures: A simple way to avoid disputes is to have each subcontractor sign off on a copy of your scope of work to confirm that they have received, read, and agreed to the requirements laid out.
If you have any questions about defining your scope of work or would like to have an attorney review your scope of work for areas of improvement, reach out to one of our Dade County contractor lawyers.
Related: Perfecting the Scope of Work
Recognize the Common Causes of Scope Creep
Scope creep, also known as requirement creep, refers to any increase in the requirements of the project without properly addressing the effects on time, resources, or costs. Trying to incorporate new requirements or changes within the original time and budget constraints almost always results in a dispute, which is why it’s absolutely critical to recognize the common causes of scope creep. Below, we’ve outlined a few common reasons contractors find themselves facing scope creep on their construction projects:
- Lack of clarity in the scope of work
- Underestimating the complexity of the project
- Priorities or needs have changed along the course of the project
- Stakeholder needs were not properly identified
- There is no centralized process for managing change requests
The best way to avoid scope creep on your construction projects is to create a well-defined scope of work that involves all parties and includes an effective change management plan for how you will record, track, and achieve change requests that arise during the course of the project. If you need any assistance creating an effective change management plan, crafting the perfect scope of work, or otherwise reducing the possibility of disputes on your construction projects, consult one of the Dade County construction attorneys from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
If you would like to speak with a Dade County construction attorney, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.