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Scope of Work Template

Protect your project from going beyond scope and over budget

Published 26 Jul 2021

What is a Scope of Work?

A Scope of Work (SOW) template is used to define and document the work to be done on a project as agreed upon between a client and project manager. An SOW should align parties on the project’s deliverables, timeline, costs, and acceptance criteria. A scope of work form is commonly used in construction projects to protect parties from going beyond the scope, over budget, and into legal disputes.

This article covers:

Why Use a Scope of Work Template

A well-defined SOW template serves as a blueprint for keeping construction projects within agreed-upon boundaries. It can help project managers avoid scope creep —a dreaded reality that could lead to conflict, an unsatisfied client, and potential legal/ financial risks.

In a 2015 study by the auditing firm KPMG, found that almost 70% of construction projects were not able to stay within budget limits and, 75% of which, did not meet their original deadlines. This shows that scope creep is a reality in construction projects, making the creation of an effective SOW document a critical skill for construction project managers.

An effective scope of work checklist can provide project managers with a project roadmap so goals and milestones can be easily achieved within schedule.

How to Write a Scope of Work: 5 Guide Questions

A well-written SOW is critical for project managers to manage scope and client expectations. But, an SOW can be very time consuming and difficult to create. To help you out, here are 5 guide questions you can ask yourself when writing an SOW for your next project. We have also provided free SOW templates to help you create your own SOW.

  • Scope of Work Question #1: What is the project’s goal?

    This is the reason you are doing the project for the client—expressed as the Project Statement. Begin by knowing why the project was initiated in the first place and what exactly the client wants to achieve when it is completed. To help prevent miscommunication and disputes down the line, project managers should craft a glossary of terms and ensure that everyone involved is on the same page regarding the project’s purpose.

  • Scope of Work Question #2: What are the project deliverables and who are the people responsible for them?

    Simple and straightforward language must be used when defining deliverables to avoid confusion. A project can have a number of deliverables, which can range from simple documents to complex tasks such as planning and procurement. Having specific people accountable for certain deliverables can help project managers avoid delays and track progress.

  • Scope of Work Question #3: What is the project’s timeline?

    Defining the schedule is critical as it sets out the project’s different development phases. It can also help identify important milestones, like approval of execution plans and post-construction equipment tests.

  • Scope of Work Question #4: How much is the budget?

    Projects often have a tendency of going over budget, making it more important for project managers to do a cost-benefit analysis beforehand. This can determine the right mix of resources (e.g. labor, machinery, safety facilities, and security) and their optimal price. Consult experts to get precise costing for manpower, tools and equipment, and other requirements.

  • Scope of Work Question #5: Who are the signatories?

    Never begin project work without securing critical signatures/approvals; these make the SOW enforceable. Project managers must get all key signatories to agree on each project objective and milestone before finalizing the SOW. This will help protect all parties in case of legal disputes.

Scope of Work Example

Considering the 5 critical guide questions above can help you write a good scope of work. As an example, below is a sample scope of work statement for a kitchen remodeling project:

To remodel the kitchen within the existing structure of the residential unit in a period of four weeks, to be delivered by March 29, at a cost of no greater than $14,000. This includes the design, preparation and installation to US Standards and ergonomically designed for the clients use.

  • Kitchen remodel project plan, color scheme, design layout, and strata sign off
  • Kitchen that includes the following:
    • Curved center island with space for 4 bar stools
    • White tile countertops
    • High-end vitroceramic cooktop with island mount chimney hood
    • Upper and lower slab cabinets (cranberry red color) with crown molding

View the complete scope of work PDF here.

How can iAuditor Help in Creating a Scope of Work Template?

iAuditor by SafetyCulture is a scope of work platform that replaces paper SOW templates and forms with a powerful and easy to use mobile and web app. Using iAuditor, project managers can:

  • Build and customize SOW templates online using iAuditor web app
  • Prepare SOW documents while on-site using the iAuditor mobile app
  • Create better SOW documents by easily taking and attaching photos with mobile apps
  • Gather quick electronic signatures from clients
  • Automatically save all SOW documents in the cloud for easy access

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

John Derick Flores

Dirk is a contributing writer for SafetyCulture who has 3+ years of experience being a Safety Officer in an international airline. Over the course of his tenure, he worked on projects involving training management, ramp safety inspections, quality & safety certification audits, and safety promotion programs. Further, he is interested in maximizing the power of technology to help make the world a better place.

Dirk is a contributing writer for SafetyCulture who has 3+ years of experience being a Safety Officer in an international airline. Over the course of his tenure, he worked on projects involving training management, ramp safety inspections, quality & safety certification audits, and safety promotion programs. Further, he is interested in maximizing the power of technology to help make the world a better place.