Last edited 21 Aug 2018

What should be included in a scope of work?

In construction, ‘scope of work’ is a very general, and sometimes ambiguous, term referring to a general description of the work that is required from a party under a particular contract. It is typically prepared by a client or their consultants and included in tender documentation and then in the contract documentation.

The term ‘scope of work’ is generally used to refer to construction activities, whilst a ‘scope of services’ describes the services a consultant performs (although this may also sometimes be referred to as a scope of work).

The nature of the scope of work can vary significantly from project to project. It may simply offer a very broad description of the works required, or it may provide a complete description of the project.

Very broadly, a scope of work might include:

  • A brief overview of the project (what it is, why it is needed, etc.).
  • Roles and responsibilities.
  • A description of the deliverables required.
  • A description of specific tasks.
  • Technical considerations.
  • A summary of the project schedule (expected duration, milestones, delivery dates, time limits, etc.).
  • A description of how the project will be managed (issuing of payments, change controls, legal requirements, phasing, etc.).
  • Reporting requirements.
  • Specific exclusions.
  • Works that would constitute additions to the scope.

However detailed the scope of work, it is important that it is written in a clear and unambiguous way to avoid misinterpretation and potential disputes further down the line. It should not duplicate information set out elsewhere in the contract documentation (such as specifications or drawings) as this can create confusing discrepancies.

NB: A 'schedule of work' generally refers to a without quantities instructional list produced on smaller projects or for alteration work as an alternative to bills of quantities. However, the terms schedule of work and scope of work are sometimes used interchangeably.

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