Why is Scope of Work So Important?

by | Oct 28, 2022 | Project Management | 0 comments

Scope of Work is the document that describes what the Consultant will prepare and deliver to the Client as its instruments of service, or documents.  To the maximum extent practical, the Scope of Work (SOW) should be very detailed.  The more clearly the SOW is presented, the higher the probability that the Client’s expectations will be met.  It is best if the SOW is prepared jointly by the Consultant and the Client.  The following are suggestions regarding SOW preparation:

  1. Provide a list of the titles of the likely sheets that are to be prepared.
  2. Provide a list of the titles of the specification sections that are likely to be needed.
  3. Provide a section entitled “Not Included” documenting those scope items for which agreement is reached during negotiations with the Client are not to be included.  This is a critical element because neither the Client’s nor the Consultant’s Project Manager that negotiated the contract may ultimately be the individuals that direct the design process.
  4. Consider a section entitled “Assumptions” that address things such as design standards that will be used, the timing of delivery of Client provided information, and other design-critical items.
  5. Consider a section entitled “Contingency Items”.  This section would include items for which there is agreement that they may be needed but the need for which cannot be established before the design is undertaken.  The advantage of having this section is that the SOW and budget may be agreed to beforehand so as to not delay the process when the need is determined.
  6. Define, by Design Phase, what is to be provided as Basic Services and what is to be provided as Additional Services.  Basic Services generally include those tasks that can be clearly defined while negotiating the SOW.  Additional Services are those tasks that may not be easily defined or whose required level of effort cannot be determined prior to execution of the design.

Consider including Construction Phase Services in the original SOW to avoid possible delays between the design and construction phases.

Want more?

A book entitled “A Guide to Managing Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts – What Every Project Manager Needs to Know” is available to assist design professionals in managing their professional services contracts.

Click here to learn more.

Get In Touch

Lowe Consulting, LLC
John M. Lowe, Jr., P.E.
Happy Valley, OR