The Importance of the Scope of Work

A detailed and well-thought out Scope of Work is a critical element of the design process, especially in large, complex projects. The purpose of the document is to translate client ideas into working designs. Typically created by the client, the document should be clear, complete and logical.  An effective scope of work will outline objectives, specific tasks to be executed, and timeframes for their completion – ordering events appropriately and including assignments to responsible parties.

The scope of work builds a common foundation for all parties involved but is especially helpful when gathering quotes. It allows bidding structural engineering firms to develop quotes based on the same assumptions, enabling an apples-to-apples comparison. If the Scope of Work is not consistent across the firms being evaluated, the cost estimates cannot be fairly compared because the work is different. Furthermore, if the Scope of Work is not thorough enough, the cost estimate is not likely to be accurate as issues will likely arise during construction that will require additional fees to overcome.

The Scope of Work also enables the client to get feedback from structural engineers regarding the project during the bid process.  The engineers may give suggestions on how to enhance the Scope of Work based on prior experience.  They may highlight areas for improvement or uncover potential threats that the client did not recognize. Their experience can also reveal areas where the project can be accelerated or provide more realistic timeframes where the client may have been too aggressive.

But ultimately the output of the Scope of Work is a working proposal.  The proposal gives bidding structural engineering firms the opportunity to sell their service and enables the client to make a selection so they can begin work on their project.  The fee structure outlined in the proposal will allow them to predict project costs and budget appropriately.

A well-defined Scope of Work benefits all parties in the project.  It sets expectations before work begins and removes risk from the building process, protecting everyone involved.

This is a guest post submitted by Ally Silva. Ally works with AMG, Inc., a full-service engineering company that supports clients in the agricultural commodities, food/beverage, and biotechnology industries. AMG supports clients with everything from structural engineering services to piping engineering design to foundation design. Ally prides herself on sharing valuable insight regarding the engineering services industry and is happy to contribute!

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