Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Your Project's Scope Of Work

A project's Scope of Work has often been mentioned in my discussions and you may be asking yourself "Just what, exactly, is a Scope of Work and how it can help me with my project?"

You may also be wondering how big does a project need to be for a Scope of Work? Does the Scope of Work apply to really massive jobs as well as small jobs, like installing a new light fixture for example?

You bet it does. 

The Scope of Work concept is quite simple. It's used to accurately describe:
  • Who is responsible for what work
  • How will the work be done
  • What is the work
  • When is the work finished
  • How will you measure the work's completeness
Most people have the strange concept that any contractor given a set of drawings or project will approach the work in essentially the same way to create the desired result.  This couldn't be further from the truth.

If you're a contractor you're probably thinking, "I don't have time to write out a Scope of Work for every project I bid on!"

You know what? You're right.  The responsibility for creating the Scope of Work rests with the owner of the project.

So how do you convince the project owner they need to provide you with a Scope of Work before you invest the time and effort to price out a project?  I mean, the typical homeowner is probably thinking the Free Estimate is a pretty good deal right about now.

No hassle, pick up the phone, call, someone comes over, and then a few days later appears with a polished proposal.  Who needs a Scope of Work?  Want the job, give me your price.

Well, times are changing, fortunately, and more homeowners are now beginning to understand the difference "quality" makes, and it all starts with the project documentation prepared for the project.

What A Scope of Work Describes

Imagine, as a homeowner, or a contractor, you have the means to describe milestones, reports, deliverables, and end products for every phase and aspect of the project. If there is a dispute about the trade not performing to speed, it's because that speed was defined and identified prior to.  If the documentation says the agreed to crew size is one lead carpenter, an apprentice, and a laborer and just the carpenter shows up Day 1, as the customer and contractor you know your project's milestones are not going to be met.

If you're a contractor, the days of yelling into your phone, throwing your hard hat around, and being an ass and expecting an increase in performance as a result of your temper tantrum are over.  Same goes for you, the homeowner, who's hired on trades to do the work.  You can change the rules and demand more but understand this, the expectation is everyone has to agree to the change, how to implement the change, and what the impact is on the project in terms of compensation, deliverables, and milestones.

What A Scope Of Work Includes

So, what should a complete Scope of Work include?

These are the recommended components:
  • Glossary
  • Problem Statement
  • Goals of the Agreement
  • Deliverables
  • Administration
  • Timelines
Kia Ricchi, a Blogger for Fine Homebuilding wrote an article about how to Create A Scope Of Work. Some of Kia's points "are the description is accurate, detailed, and includes all the work and materials you will provide. Excluded items and additional work that the homeowner might assume to be included should also be noted.  In summary, a good scope of work should tell a prospective client exactly what is, and what is not, included in your bid."

Read more at: http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/17971/create-a-scope-of-work#ixzz2yz4349Sz and be sure to check out my comment under my username misturfyxit. The comments made by me and others back in 2011 are still as valid then as they are today.

Who Prepares the Scope of Work

If you're the project owner, it's your responsibility to prepare the Scope of Work. The problem is, the typical homeowner is unaware of how to prepare a Scope of Work or who they need to talk to do so.  If you're replacing light fixtures, building a deck, or a new home, the Scope of Work varies, as does the expertise needed.

The question now becomes, who do you get to write your Scope of Work? Are there resources out there for you to use?

Fortunately, the resources are out there.  It's just a matter of getting them to all mesh together.
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