Use a digital checklist to create a complete scope of work (SOW) for your projects. Learn the difference between an SOW and a statement of work, what it is, and how to write one. Base yours off our provided example with Lumiform’s free app and template library.
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A scope of work (SOW) is an official document that names and defines the tasks, due dates, leadership, price, and any other information required to plan for a project. In other words, the template defines the scope of the project in terms of partial services or service items. In project management, scopes are mainly used in construction and plant engineering, but due to their success rate, they are now gaining popularity in planning other types of projects in different industries.
Service specifications are used for three purposes:
The scope of work should include a complete list of all services provided. At the same time, it also outlines project cost projections, planning of work packages, the consignment of company resources, and an estimate for the project’s duration. This document is of crucial importance to avoid time-consuming and expensive corrective work and legal disputes regarding withheld payments, poor craftsmanship, or scheduling issues.
When formulating the checklist items for a scope of work, certain guidelines must be followed. Simplicity will be your friend here. For example, the checklist should only contain key information that is relevant to the project. Therefore, only required services that are in agreement with the contract or commercial customs should be listed. That means there will be services that do not need to appear on the checklist. Adding them will only make the document needlessly complicated, which could cause delays in production or mistakes from miscommunications. Accordingly, only the type and scope of the services to be performed as well as the circumstances affecting their performance are to be mentioned.
These details should not be missing in a scope of work checklist:
A project management scope of work template can be a complex and time-consuming matter. It is crucial to define all the necessary details about a project to avoid unexpected problems and costs. Here are 4 tips for your SOW:
The reason for the project and why you were hired by the client should be clearly stated. This minimizes ambiguity and ensures that all parties agree on the proposed terms of the services. To ensure a successful partnership, you can also take a look at our free supplier audit checklist for additional resources.
It is critical to define a timeline and timeframe for the proposed work. This helps to specify how long certain steps will take and can avoid misunderstandings if the work happens to take longer than expected. Especially in construction, it seems like deadlines are constantly getting missed and the due dates always have to be extended. This isn’t the result of lazy workers but of an overextension of money and resources because of insufficient planning and projections. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you. Be prepared with a scope of work template.
Specific tasks should be assigned to specific people. Nothing will get done if employees don’t know they’re supposed to be doing something in the first place. Communication and faulty planning methods are perhaps the number one culprits in why projects are over time and over budget. To avoid this, the project’s outcome should be clearly stated as well as documented.
You should estimate the necessary budget for the project as accurately as possible. Budget overruns are common in large-scale projects, so it is advisable to break down estimated costs by tasks, materials, labor, taxes, property, and cost of professional services. There will most likely be other expenses that don’t fall under these aforementioned categories. Break down other projected expenses into two groups: indirect and direct costs.
What is a statement of work vs. a scope of work? The most prominent difference is its purpose, function, and length. It’s important to note that these two SOWs will appear in the same document, but they play vitally different roles. It’s also one of those cases where the two documents are not always mutually exclusive.
All scopes of work are a statement of work, but not all statements of work are a scope of work. Confused yet? Don’t worry. That was really just a roundabout way of saying that a work of statement document will always proceed a work of scope document.
A statement of work is a long document, varying from 12 to 15 pages in length, and provides an overview of the project’s parameters after work has been contracted out. It brief rundown of the project’s highlights, deliverables, budget, and timeline whereas a scope of work will go into detail about what each task’s execution might look like in terms of pricing, how many personnel it will take to complete the task, start and end dates, the tools or equipment to be used, and step-by-step instructions. In this way, a scope of work can be written up for each deliverable or specific ones that are more complex and might require more work to plan.
Variably, how many scopes of work you plan to include will depend on the complexity of the current project. When in doubt, it’s always better to include more detail than not. A thoroughly planned out affair is less likely to result in missed deadlines, client disputes, or costly reworks.
To recap, a statement of work will always be written before a project commences to help with planning, budgeting, and making sure all legal documents are in order. Although it is not a legally binding contract, it can still be used as evidence in court if disputes arise between contractor and client or, better yet, help prevent such a dispute from occurring in the first place. A scope of work does not need to be included within this document although it is highly advisable for the reasons mentioned above.
A scope of work template in construction is especially important for keeping to strict timetables. There are so many moving parts in construction that it can be difficult to plan for every inevitability, but a readily prepared team can adapt when change orders or partial terminations are suddenly submitted.
A scope of work in construction is used to define the parameters of each deliverable. It’s an extra step after a statement of work has been completed to further delineate the procedures for each task within a deliverable. Everyone already knows that time is money, and filling out a scope of work leaves contractors no room for misinterpretations that could result in costly project delays.
The tasks that will benefit from a thorough breakdown would be those that require more coordination on the part of project planners:
For example, framing a house—Who’s going to be in charge? How long will it take? What’s the start date? What’s the end date? How many people will it take to complete the framing on time? What if other variables, such as the houses’ foundation isn’t completed on time, that might set back the project? What plan will be in place for each of these variables? Who’s going to buy the wood? How much will the wood cost? Etc.
Asking yourself these questions will help with planning. This will constitute much of the content in a scope of work in construction, except that this process is repeated for each deliverable.
This document is meant to anticipate questions ahead of time in order to save time. There’s no telling how many scope of work’s will end up being typed up for anyone given project, however, you can expect the bigger the project, the more moving parts, and the more deliverables will need to be broken down into more manageable pieces.
Writing a scope of work for construction follows much of the same process as the general writing guidelines with a few key differences: the content will be about construction. Sound simple enough? With sufficient practice, it should be as second nature as tying your shoe.
Now let’s explore some writing hacks that will make a normally very tedious process a little easier to stomach:
Don’t worry if you’re still not clear on what to do. If you keep reading, there’s an example of what a completed construction scope of work will look like for you to model your own off of.
The following is a construction scope of work sample template. The example will be based on the premise of contracting a construction company to build a house and will be structured into twelve parts: Scope of work, deliverables, schedule, costs, acceptance criteria, variations, conditions of contract, project approval and signatures, clients, contractors, and signatures.
The following scope of work example is only meant to act as a reference guide while creating your own. It’s likely that your scope of work checklist will include many more variables than the ones mentioned here. For more information on how to write your own, please cross-reference the sections above.
Start by defining why the construction process was inducted in the first place and what precisely the client plans to achieve when it's concluded.
The client has hired us to construct a 3,000 square foot house with four bedrooms and three baths. They chose our company because we do it all in one, meaning we don’t subcontract out. We will draw up a blueprint, acquire the materials, and begin construction.
List the client's deliverables using the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific Measurable Achievable Reasonable Time-Bound) criteria. In each deliverable, you can name a responsible person, the cost, and the target date of completion. You may also add supporting records (.e.g floor plan, design plan, Work Breakdown Structure) for further references. Write down a glossary/definition of terms to prevent miscommunication and misunderstandings down the line.
Enter the Scope of Work:
Deliverable 1: Draw up blueprint
Deliverable 2: Buy construction materials
Deliverable 3: Pour Foundation
Definition of Terms (glossary):
Attatch Relevent Doucments/ Photos:
Enter the deliverables required to achieve the goal
Person in Charge:
John Smith is the responsible person who will oversee the project from start to finish. If anyone has any problems that arise during any stage of the project, he will be the person to consult.
Projected cost: $500,000
Attatch Relevant Documents/ Photos:
Explain your project's timeline here. Classify milestones (e.g. securing of local authority's building permission, completion of acquisition, 50% achievement of the project) to pinpoint critical issues that lead to the project's fulfillment. You can also add visual directors, such as charts, boards, and roadmaps, to support that everyone has a quick overview of the project schedule.
Summarize the Schedule:
Attatch Relevent Doucments/ Photos:
Projects usually tend to go over budget, making it more relevant for project managers to perform a cost-benefit analysis before. This can assist you to determine the correct mix of resources (e.g. labor, machinery, safety facilities, and security) and the optimal cost. Ask experts when preparing this part to get precise costing for manpower, instruments, and equipment, and other demands.
Acceptance criteria are used to assess the deliverables - whether they are operating fine according to the prescribed specs.
Many construction projects may vary from the original design and terms, which is why it's imperative to decide whether to allow or not allow these kinds of changes. The variations sector can address the method by which the parties will adhere in case of change demands.
Explain the Variations
Here you can include further conditions that encourage your SOW. You can define details for objects, such as workmanship, working hours, security program, site clearance, and cleaning methods, warranty, and standard of performance.
Define the Conditions of the Contract:
The client may rescind payment only on the basis of poor craftsmanship. For this reason, the client must sign off after each step of the construction process before the next one begins in order to mitigate this risk. After this sign-off, they are no longer permitted to withhold payment.
Never start constructions without important signatures/approvals; these make your SOW enforceable. Project managers need to get all key signatories to agree on each project objective and milestone before ending the SOW. This will help guard all parties in case of legitimate disputes. You may also attach more signatories here in case there are more than one.
Full Name and Signature of Client Representative(s):
4821 Ridge Top Cir, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA
Name: Jeff Steele
Add Relevent Signatures to the Following
Name and Signature
As you can see, the simple constructions scope of work checklist is pretty straightforward and, hopefully, easier to fill out now that you have an example to reference. To reiterate, a construction scope of work template like this one can prevent unexpected costs that are common to construction projects and the project management field in general.
With Lumiform's mobile app and desktop software, you can create a scope of work digitally using a free checklist, so you can be you don’t miss anything that will prevent your project from finishing on time and on budget. Go through your list point by point and then automatically create a performance report that you can send immediately.
With Lumiform, project managers can: