What is the scope of work in construction and what are the best practices for writing one

8 min
Nov 16, 2022

When you’re hired to complete a construction project, communication is key. The client’s expectations and the construction team’s plans and capabilities must be in alignment.

That’s why writing a scope of work is a vital part of any project.

In fact, when it comes to completing a project, for a construction company, the scope of work is right up there in importance along with the:

  • Plans
  • Materials
  • Personnel

The scope of work is also an important factor when it comes to getting paid, and getting paid on time.

Is crafting a scope of work stressing you out? It doesn’t have to. When utilized correctly, the SOW will actually keep you and your construction team on track and ensure you’re paid for your hard work. Read on to learn:

  • How to write a scope of work 
  • What to include in a scope of work
  • How Flexbase, an app designed specifically for construction companies, makes completing a project based on its scope of work easy, streamlined, and less time-consuming.

Track Scope of Work Phase Completion and Manage Your Billing With Flexbase

When you’re taking on a new construction job, both you and the client are likely eager to get started. 

But before you can break ground or start knocking down walls, you need a contract and a plan (often called a scope of work in construction.) For more on that, keep reading.

Here’s the thing: Paperwork is time-consuming and a contractor’s time would be better spent on the job site than sitting behind a desk at the office. That’s where Flexbase comes in.

Flexbase is an app designed specifically for construction companies. We’ve automated the entire paperwork process, from:

  • Construction invoices
  • Lien waivers
  • Stop notices
  • Change orders
  • And more

You and the client will be able to easily track progress on a project set out in the scope of work and communicate digitally about any changes throughout the process.

Plus, there’s no pricey monthly fee with Flexbase. 

Flexbase operates on a commission of 0.5%, but we don’t get paid if you don’t get paid.

What Does Scope of Work Mean in Construction?

If you’re reading this guide, you might be wondering, what is a scope of work in construction?

That’s what we’re here to explain. 

In the construction industry, a “scope of work” (sometimes called a statement of work) is a written agreement spelling out the step-by-step plan for a project. 

Within a construction contract, scope of work is the guiding document for a construction project and includes:

  • Deliverables
  • Timelines
  • Pricing
  • And more…

Why Is Scope of Work Important?

When it comes to a construction project, large or small, it’s essential to know what’s expected. That’s where the scope of work comes in. 

The scope of work is designed to track the progress of a project. The SOW ensures the client and the construction company are on the same page from start to finish.

Where Is a Detailed Construction SOW Typically Outlined?

The scope of work may be included as a section in the original contract. It may also be an additional document submitted along with supplemental materials and a signed contract.

Who Writes the Scope of Work?

In most cases, the contractor or construction manager is responsible for crafting the scope of work document. That being said, the SOW must be agreed on by both parties:

  • The construction company


  • The client

How to Write a Scope of Work for Construction Projects

There’s no “one way” to write a scope of work. Still, when it comes to writing a scope of work for a construction project, there are a few important aspects and “how-tos” to keep in mind.

  • Language in the SOW should be clear and concise.
  • A SOW should include everything from the basics (project start date, completion date, budget) to the details (materials to be used, measurements, etc.)
  • A SOW should include reasonable, realistic expectations (the last thing you want to do is overpromise and underdeliver). 

7 Elements of a Scope of Work: Construction Company Guidelines

When writing your scope of work for building construction, you’ll want to make sure it includes these 7 important elements:

  1. Detailed overview of the project
  2. Project milestones & deliverables
  3. Scope & technical details of the project
  4. Diagrams # supporting project visuals
  5. Detailed project schedule
  6. Payment schedule
  7. Administrative guidelines

#1: Detailed Overview of the Project

First things, first. The SOW should include a detailed overview of the project.

This overview should include a written summary of the project and any specific objectives.

#2: Project Milestones & Deliverables

Next in the SOW, you’ll want to dive into more specific project objectives. 

These descriptions should be detailed enough so that everyone with a stake in the project, including the client, contractors, sub-contractors, etc., understands the goals and expectations for the finished product.

#3: Scope & Technical Details of the Project

Every milestone and deliverable will have different details and tasks associated with it. This area of the SOW will include all of these details. 

There might be additional information on building materials and products to be used, specific assignments for personnel working on the job, and more.

#4: Diagrams & Supporting Project Visuals

When possible, be sure to include any relevant visuals and diagrams in your SOW. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Blueprints
  • Project designs
  • Renderings; and
  • Photos of specific materials to be used, etc. 

#5: Detailed Project Schedule

In this section, you’ll set a timeline with due dates. This will break down the entire project into smaller tasks. 

This helps to keep the contractor on track and accountable and provides the client a schedule for managing expectations of what will be complete when.

The project schedule should include:

  • Dates of important deliveries of materials
  • Dates in which work will be executed on a job site vs. holidays, off days, etc.
  • Due dates of major project milestone/deliverables
  • Date entire project is due to be completed

#6: Payment Schedule

Equally as important as the completion of the work in a timely manner, is the completion of payment owed for that work.

There’s no right or wrong way to “settle up” for a project, however, it is important that the client and construction company must agree on a schedule for payment. 

Flexbase makes this easy. It’s an all-in-one construction billing software.

#7: Administrative Guidelines

This section will include any legal or administrative information, such as:

  • Pertinent contact information
  • Processes for making any changes to the SOW
  • Legal requirements
  • And more

Construction Scope of Work Example

Still unsure of what a successful scope of work looks like?

An example scope of work for construction project is exactly what you need.

Depending on the size and complexity of the project the SOW may be simple and streamlined or it may be incredibly detailed, and dozens of pages long.

For your convenience, here’s a look at a sample scope of work, for construction project management specifically.

Let’s say you’re remodeling the half-bathroom in a home. A very basic SOW might look something like this:

Scope of Work

ABC Construction

Smith Family ½ Bathroom Remodel

Project Overview: Pursuant to contract, ABC Construction will complete demolition and renovation of a first-floor half-bathroom at 22 Maple Drive, Anytown, MD 12345. The project includes demolition and removal of current sink and vanity, toilet, and tile floor. Renovation projects to be complete include: laying new tile, installation of new toilet, vanity, sink, hardware, lighting, wallpaper, and painting trim. Estimated cost for labor and materials is $9,800. Estimated completion date is April 29, 2021.

Scope & Technical Details:

-Half Bathroom measures 6’x4’

-Demolition includes removal of: 

-sink and vanity

-tile floor

-current lighting

-Tile: TRUE PORCELAIN CO. Pine Wood White 6-in x 36-in Matte Porcelain Wood Look Floor and Wall Tile, to be purchased from Lowe’s @ $2.88/sq. Ft.

-Trim: Valspar Dover White paint, in eggshell finish

-Toilet: KOHLER Cimarron Complete Solution White WaterSense Elongated Chair Height 2-Piece Toilet 12-in Rough-In Size to be purchased from Lowe’s @ $249.99

-Vanity & Sink: Allen + Roth 30-in White Single Sink Bathroom Vanity with White Engineered Stone Top to be purchased from Lowe’s @ $619.99

-Lighting: Overhead Lighting: Utilitech Ventilation Fan/Light Combo 2-Sone 80-CFM Brushed Nickel, to be purchased from Lowe’s @ $142.99

Vanity Lighting: Allen + Roth Vallymede 3-Light Black Transitional Vanity Light to be purchased from Lowe’s @ $89.98

Project Schedule: 

Planned start date: April 12, 2021

Demolition: April 12-13, 2021

Tile Installation: April 14, 2021

Plumbing: April 15, 2021

Electric Work: April 19, 2021

Wallpaper & Painting: April 20, 2021

Miscellaneous and touch-ups: April 22, 2021

Upon completion of the services, ABC Construction agrees to remove all materials, supplies, and debris.

Payment Schedule:

-$2500 to be paid prior to the project start date of April 12, 2021.

-Remaining balance to be paid upon completion of satisfactory work as outlined.

Additional Details:

The client may request reasonable changes to the services requested. Changes will be agreed upon via change order. The client understands that any changes may incur additional compensation and alter the scheduled timeline for completion of the project.

Can a Construction SOW Be Altered After Work Has Started?

While it’s important that SOW’s be detailed and accurate from the start, it’s important to note that SOW’s are not set in stone.

That’s because when it comes to construction, altering original plans are often inevitable. Big or small, you’d be hard-pressed to find a construction project that hasn’t seen its fair share of changes or adjustments. In fact, changes to construction SOWs occur in more than one-third of projects.

Maybe you’re building a home and the client decides mid-way through the project, they want an additional bathroom. Maybe you encounter an environmental concern during construction. Or maybe, while building, you run into an unexpected shortage of a key material.

Whatever the reason for the change, this is where change orders come into play. 

Just like SOWs, change orders are incredibly common in the construction industry. 

A change order is an agreed-upon change to the original scope of work or contract. When something causes a change in the SOW or contract, a change order needs to be created. The change order will identify specifics for the new...

  • Plan
  • Schedule
  • Costs
  • And more

...associated with the change.

Flexbase Provides a Streamlined Process to Easily Manage Your Billing for a Completed Scope of Work

Flexbase is a construction tech company. Sure, you could use any standard billing software to manage billing. But why use software that hair salons, lawn companies, and other small businesses use when we’ve designed our app and software specifically for construction companies and general contractors. Flexbase is designed to meet your needs.

A large component of the scope of work is the invoicing and payment for a project. That’s where Flexbase comes in.

Once you’ve successfully completed the work agreed to, the client is responsible for timely payment.

With Flexbase, you’ll be able to:

  • Generate invoices and payment applications for every client
  • Request payments
  • Track projects, materials used, and receipts
  • Manage change orders to the scope of work
  • Communicate directly with your clients through our app
  • Send late payment reminders 
  • And more...

We’re confident. Once you’ve tried Flexbase, you’ll wonder how you completed past construction projects without it.

Get started today with a free demo.


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