What is a Construction Scope of Work and Why Do You Need One?

Because It’s Critical to Clear Communication, Whether You’re the Contractor or the Customer.

Last week Gene explained to John what project information needed to be gathered…

  • Project info (customer name, mailing address, project address if different than mailing, phone number, email address, project overview, budget, project deadline, any other relevant information that you need)
  • Measurements and dimensions, existing and new
  • Building materials, existing and new
  • Pictures of pertinent areas and existing construction
  • Customer’s design ideas and finishes

Overlooking or forgetting something is a sure way to lose money when doing a construction project.

This week they’re going to take the information gathered and turn it in to a scope of work. This will be the foundational form of communication between everyone involved in the process, i.e., customer, contractor, sub-contractors, employees, etc.

As they get started this week’s meeting Gene asks John if he had an opportunity to use the Bid Sheet this past week and if so, how it worked.

“Yes.” said John. “It was a little awkward in the beginning. By the time I was finished gathering the project information I was glad I had it, because there were a couple of things that it reminded me to do.”

Gene replied, “That’s great. Do you have any questions?” Not yet.” said John. Gene smiled, “You will before we’re done.”

Okay. Did you bring it with you? Asked Gene. “I did.” said John, “I’ve got it on my laptop.” Gene told him to open it up and follow along. “Today we’re going to work on the most important part of communication between contractor and customer.

The Scope of Work

What is a Scope of Work?

A Scope of Work clearly defines and explains the work to be done. It should describe what is included in each specific task in terminology that both the customer and the contractor understand. A scope of work describes the work to be done on a project, who is responsible for completing the work, how the work must be performed (techniques used), and what materials will be used. It helps in the smooth operation of a project, minimizing situations leading to disputes. It is the first step to building a mutually beneficial relationship between a contractor and customer.

Communication with the customer needs be simple and direct while explaining clearly and thoroughly.

After having gathered the information needed for the project using the Bid Sheet, write out in a few sentences, or less, of what each specific task is going to consist of. Explaining what you’re going to do in a way that a person with little or no construction knowledge can understand. Include as much detail and specifics as is needed to be clear on what is or is not included as a part of the project.

Once this process has been finished for each task included in the project, you have a Scope of Work ready to be transferred to a blank Proposal template.

Here’s an example of a Scope of Work using the information from the Bid Sheet we worked on last week.”

As they’re wrapping up this week’s training Gene tells John. “Next week we’ll get into the pricing of a project.”

The real value of this Proposal System is in the pricing.

Previous posts in this series –

What is “business clarity” and how do you find it?

Learning How to Get a Construction Project Started Out Right

It’s Time for the First Meeting

Being Aware of the Common Bid Mistakes is the Best Way to Avoid Them

Constructing a Building is Better with a Plan, a Proposal is No Different

A Good Construction Proposal Starts by Asking the Right Questions

Constructing a Building is Better with a Plan, a Proposal is No Different

We’ve Discussed the Why, Now Let’s Work on the How

It’s Saturday and today will be John’s third meeting with Gene. Even though there’s been no change in John’s overwhelming workload, today is the first time he’s not considered canceling. He knows the value of this information and is looking forward to opportunity to learn more.

It’s John’s turn to provide lunch and Gene’s in for a treat…John’s bringing chili-cheeseburgers and fries from the Burger Station. On the way to Gene’s office, the smell of those burgers is more than John can bear and he has a few fries on the drive.

As soon as John steps in the office door, Gene yells out from the conference room, “You brought Burger Station”. Over the years when John was working for Gene, the two of them frequented this fine establishment often.

As John gets lunch out, Gene says, “We have a lot to cover today, so we better get started. As we go through this today, consider the similarities of building a proposal with building a construction project. Now let’s review…

First, we started with WHY.

Why do you do what you do? Why do should you do proposals? Both of the questions are similar to the question that should be asked of a customer when they’re considering a construction project. Why do you want to do this project?

Second, we discussed that communication is the contractor’s responsibility.

We are the professionals in the arrangement. We shouldn’t expect the customer to know everything about construction. This is why they are looking to hire someone to do their project. It’s up to us as contractors to communicate clearly.

Third, we discussed bid mistakes.  

The ones that are commonly made and are costly. Being aware of these mistakes helps you know what to avoid and increases the opportunity for happy customers. Not to mention it gives you a big advantage over your competition.  

In our meeting two weeks ago (link to 1st meeting post) I gave you the bid proposal overview to take and review. Today we’re going to go through it. I know it seems like were still not doing proposals. Think about it like a construction project…

The designing and planning take as long as the construction.

Let’s start by looking at the documents included in the system and a brief definition of each.”

Bid sheet – A Word document with the various construction categories and individual tasks listed with space for filling in the scope of the work to be done, dimensions, materials, locations, etc., for each category as needed for clear communication.

Worksheet – An Excel spreadsheet with all the construction categories and individual tasks listed with overhead and profit markup formulas.

Proposal – A word document with space to fill in pertinent information, i.e. customer’s information, what will or will not be supplied by the contractor, the scope of work, the proposed price for each specific element, a total project price, payment arrangements and project duration.

Data Base – An Excel spreadsheet with prices for material and labor for a wide variety of specific construction tasks. This information will be used to fill out a blank worksheet template by copying and pasting.

After reviewing and discussing these documents and definitions they looked at the the process of doing a proposal.

STEP 1 – Gathering Information

Gathering the right information correctly and effectively is critical to preparing an accurate and thorough proposal. Once you’ve been contacted by a potential customer start by scheduling a meeting to discuss their project and find out what they hope to accomplish. At this initial meeting gather –

            Measurements and dimensions, existing and new

            Building materials, existing and new

            Pictures of pertinent areas and existing construction

            Customer’s design ideas and finishes

The information gathered at this meeting can be recorded in whatever way works best for you. The important thing in this step is to gather any and all information needed to prepare an accurate proposal. It can be handwritten on a printed out Bid Sheet template, or it can be entered directly to a Bid Sheet using a tablet, smart phone or laptop. Using the Bid Sheet minimizes overlooking things because the different areas of a construction project are already listed.

STEP 2 – Preparing the Scope of Work

After the preliminary information has been gathered it’s time to clarify the scope of the project by writing out the description of each specific task in terminology that both the customer and the contractor understand. It needs to include enough specifics to be thorough without being too technical. It doesn’t help communication if the terminology is confusing to the customer. This written description on the Bid Sheet will be transferred to the Proposal and serve as a written scope of work to be performed and materials to be provided.

STEP 3 – Pricing the Project

Next is putting prices to the project. This process involves two different Excel spreadsheets, the Worksheet and Data Base. Based on the descriptions written on the Bid Sheet, content from the Data Base will be copied and pasted into the correlating cells on the Worksheet. After the pertinent information from the Data Base has been placed on the Worksheet it’s time to fill in the quantities.

STEP 4 – Quantities

On the Worksheet you will fill in the quantity needed to do the work on that line item. This may be lineal feet, square feet, square yards, cubic feet, cubic yards, numbers of pieces, etc. Once this is completed you will now have prices for each of the different tasks listed on the Proposal.

STEP 5 – Preparing the Proposal

Now you have everything you need to complete the Proposal. You will take the descriptions from the Bid Sheet and the prices from the Worksheet and put them both on the Proposal. After filling out the customer’s information at the top of the page, the scope of work, the price for each task, the total project price, how payments are to be made and the duration of time to do the project, the Proposal is ready to present to the customer.

As they wrapped up the meeting, Gene looked at John and asked him what he thought so far. John said, “I had no idea there was this much to doing proposals.

Gene said, “I know. That’s why most contractors either guess at their bids or just give estimates…and we’ve all seen how that well that works out.

Next week we’ll dig deeper into GATHERING INFORMATION.

Previous posts in this series –

What is “business clarity” and how do you find it?

Learning How to Get a Construction Project Started Out Right

It’s Time for the First Meeting

Being Aware of the Common Bid Mistakes is the Best Way to Avoid Them

How To Prepare A Scope Of Work For A Construction Proposal

 

 

 

 

This Is A Critical Part of Clear Communication

 

We began this “Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal” series with communication and the problems that occur when it’s done poorly or not at all. This is without a doubt the area where most contractors struggle. It doesn’t have to be this way.


Communication is the most important part of the proposal process.


Things that are unfamiliar seem overwhelming. This is true for both the customer and the contractor. The customer when not understanding what the contractor is talking about and contractor when not having a system for preparing proposals.


 

Our “Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal” system has specific pieces and steps for simplifying the process.

 


Last week we went through Step 1 – Gathering Information. This is where the customer’s why is uncovered, and the physical information is gathered and recorded. Here, we’ll breakdown Step 2 – Preparing the Scope of Work.


What is a Scope of Work?


A Scope of Work, …clearly defines the project requirements, milestones, deliverables, end products, documents and reports that are expected to be provided by the vendor. It helps in the smooth functioning of a project/work contract wherein both parties can avoid ambiguities and situations leading to dispute. It is the first step to building a mutually beneficial collaboration between a vendor and his customer. From a Udemy blog post written by Richa


According to Juan Rodriguez’s The Balance Small Business article, “Must-Have Items on a Construction Scope of Work”, the basic elements…of a scope of work document describes all of the work to be done on a project, who is responsible for completing the work, how the work must be performed (techniques used), and what materials will be used.


 

Communication needs be simple and direct while explaining clearly and thoroughly.

 


Writing out the description of work to be done in terminology that both the customer and the contractor understand is key to clarity. It needs to include enough specifics to be thorough without being too technical. Communication isn’t any good if it’s confusing.

 


EXAMPLE PROJECT:


When meeting with customer Jane Smith we found out that she wanted to add on a laundry/sewing room. She loved to sew and did a lot of it. Currently she used the table in the main floor dining room and the sewing machine in the basement. Her washer and dryer were in two separate closets in the master bathroom. This made for an inconvenience when sewing or doing laundry.


Once we’ve determined the why and gathered the pertinent information…

 

…it’s time to prepare the scope of the work.

 

 

Once this process has been finished for the complete project, we’ll have a Scope of Work ready to be transferred to the Proposal template.

 


Next, we’ll start figuring out the prices for individual items using the Worksheet and Data Base.

 

How To Prepare A Scope Of Work For A Construction Proposal

 

 

 

 

This Is A Critical Part of Clear Communication

 

We began this “Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal” series with communication and the problems that occur when it’s done poorly or not at all. This is without a doubt the area where most contractors struggle. It doesn’t have to be this way.


Communication is the most important part of the proposal process.


Things that are unfamiliar seem overwhelming. This is true for both the customer and the contractor. The customer when not understanding what the contractor is talking about and contractor when not having a system for preparing proposals.


 

Our “Blueprint for Building a Better Proposal” system has specific pieces and steps for simplifying the process.

 


Last week we went through Step 1 – Gathering Information. This is where the customer’s why is uncovered, and the physical information is gathered and recorded. Here, we’ll breakdown Step 2 – Preparing the Scope of Work.


What is a Scope of Work?


A Scope of Work, …clearly defines the project requirements, milestones, deliverables, end products, documents and reports that are expected to be provided by the vendor. It helps in the smooth functioning of a project/work contract wherein both parties can avoid ambiguities and situations leading to dispute. It is the first step to building a mutually beneficial collaboration between a vendor and his customer. From a Udemy blog post written by Richa


According to Juan Rodriguez’s The Balance Small Business article, “Must-Have Items on a Construction Scope of Work”, the basic elements…of a scope of work document describes all of the work to be done on a project, who is responsible for completing the work, how the work must be performed (techniques used), and what materials will be used.


 

Communication needs be simple and direct while explaining clearly and thoroughly.

 


Writing out the description of work to be done in terminology that both the customer and the contractor understand is key to clarity. It needs to include enough specifics to be thorough without being too technical. Communication isn’t any good if it’s confusing.

 


EXAMPLE PROJECT:


When meeting with customer Jane Smith we found out that she wanted to add on a laundry/sewing room. She loved to sew and did a lot of it. Currently she used the table in the main floor dining room and the sewing machine in the basement. Her washer and dryer were in two separate closets in the master bathroom. This made for an inconvenience when sewing or doing laundry.


Once we’ve determined the why and gathered the pertinent information…

 

…it’s time to prepare the scope of the work.

 

 

Once this process has been finished for the complete project, we’ll have a Scope of Work ready to be transferred to the Proposal template.

 


Next, we’ll start figuring out the prices for individual items using the Worksheet and Data Base.