Must-Have Items on a Scope of Work (SOW)

How to Put Together a Detailed Scope of of Work

Contract Agreement
Photo: Jarmoluk

How to Write a Solid Statement of Work (SOW)

The Statement of Work, sometimes called the scope of work, can do a great construction contract even better. A well-written statement of work must be clear, complete, logical and concise enough to be understood by the contractor and the construction manager that will be providing the administrative portion of the contract. The SOW must describe in details the expected performance of the contractor, converting it into a measuring tool for the construction manager.

The scope of work must be prepared with help from corresponding departments and professionals that will eventually take part in the developing and construction process. For example, a scope work for a drywall contractor will include types of interior finishes required, designs, material needed, prices and budget, the deadline, special requirements, etc.

What Type of Wording do I Need?

A statement of work wording is vital and must be clear to reduce claims, litigation, and other related problems. A scope of work is the preferred method used in the construction industry to even get construction financing and will be the base for your construction insurance company when providing the proper bonding. A nice SOW should avoid arguable or ambiguous phrasing and must identify the project deliverable and its objectives. Special emphasis should be given to the statement of work wording to avoid or make impossible two different interpretations of the same SOW.

If an action is mandatory, the statement of work wording will contain the words shall or must. A contractor that receives the scope of work that is unclear, might refrain from participating in the bidding process. The statement of work should avoid including cost of products or services that a contractor may claim they were supposed to furnish or provide.

Statement of Work Basic Components

A statement of work should have the following components:

  • Project Overview- A brief statement describing the business needs and a short summary of the project description.

  • Project Deliverables- This section should include all the expected goals and targets that must be achieved through the project. It must include all related information that will help a contractor in understanding the project's requirement.

  • Project Scope – This section of the statement of work should contain, in terms of budget and technical data, the quantifiable goals set forth under the construction contract, Is an essential part of the SOW. Statement of work scopes might divide the document into two parts:

a. Technical considerations - Specific technical or methodologies relevant to the contractor's performance and how he will be measured against

b. Tasks – Specific requests and tasks that are needed to satisfy project objectives, with detailed milestones and results that should be obtained from these tasks.

  • Project Schedule- Summarize the project schedule including all related task so the contractor can deliver on time. This section of the statement of work (SOW) should contain all important delivery dates, time restrictions, and the expected project duration.

  • Project Management- The management section of the SOW must contain a description of how payments will be issued, change control process, specific contract and legal requirements, phasing or stages of the project and the project's limitations. It is also the area on which time management and contract administration will be specified.

How Accurate the Scope of Work Needs to Be?

Follow these guidelines to determine if you are preparing or receiving a complete Scope of Work (SOW):

If these items form part of your SOW document, then you are off to a good start, if not, you can be exposed to claims and adverse situations that might affect cost and schedule in your project.

  • The SOW identifies the contractor's responsibilities.

  • Provides precisely contract objective and project requirements.

  • The SOW provides enough details to estimate labor costs.

  • Includes a contracting method and the payment schedule.

  • The Statement of Work has only one interpretation.

  • The SOW explains standards, regulation, and special contract requirements.

  • The Statement of Work presents in a clear manner all related task, duties, and limitations to obtain expected results in accordance with the project goal.