How to Start


I’ve mentioned before that a good work scopes program will reduce construction costs, callbacks and warranty costs. As if that’s not enough; here are two more reasons:

  1. Have you ever, for any reason, started using a different contractor or vendor? In your negotiations, were you able to communicate ALL of your expectations? Probably not. As for me, before I started using work scopes, my regular subs/vendors and I would develop reliable expectations of one another.  Whenever we added someone new,  I could always count on discovering something was overlooked when I communicated the job scope. This usually came in the form of a “surprise”. Surprises almost always cost money!
  2. With the right-minded group of subs and vendors it is possible to reduce your field staff overhead. If your at least some of your subs and vendors can fairly self-inspect, it will take fewer people to inspect the work. I’ve seen field staff reductions of over 50% utilizing self inspection.

Don’t bother if…

Before going any farther, there is one thing that will make render a work scopes program a total waste of time. What could that be? Answer: A company owner who does not play by the rules he/she set up. This would be an owner that: pays before completion or inspection, allows for a draw if it has not been set up within the work scope, pays for anything under the table, works any “special deals”, negotiates with a new sub or vendor without using an existing work scope, waives or reduces any insurance requirements.

If the owner is not 100% committed, he/she cannot expect to reap 100% of the benefits of a good work scopes program.

Getting started

  1. Print a paper copy of the work scope titles.
  2. Decide on a priority in which you will rewrite the scopes and make them your own (Always start with the Sub/Vendor AGREEMENTS). Going in alphabetical order assures doing some easier ones with some harder ones. Don’t leave any that apply to your way of doing things out. If you need to add a work scope or split a work scope into two or more sections, do so using existing templates as a guide.
  3. Print a paper copies of the work scopes.
  4. Put the person who is most knowledgeable in the construction operations of each work scope category in charge of that category. This may be you. But, if  Joe, for example has more roofing knowledge than you, put him in charge of the roofing section.  You can divide responsibility for scopes up, but someone needs to maintain overall control.
  5.  The person in charge of each work scope must review it and tweaks the parts as needed (Sometimes, it is easier to know what you want by seeing what you don’t want, this makes the templates a great starting point). The mark-up is printed and all of your staff stakeholders (both office and field) are asked to review it, adding their own questions and notes. The review has a time limit, one  week or less. Then hold a meeting to discuss everyone’s thoughts (The first one is the hardest).
  6. Decide how you will implement the checklist. Will it be field verified or sub/vendor self inspected?*
  7. After the meeting , make this draft look pretty in the word processor and print copies for staff and additional copies for each sub/vendor in that scope category. (Send a generic notice to all subs and vendors explaining what you are doing and let them know they will play a role.)  Send the subs or vendors a copy of the appropriate AGREEMENT and a copy of their draft work scope. Set a timeframe for them to review. Make sure they are aware you are asking for their input. Set a meeting with staff and one sub/vendor at a time. Try to keep it around an hour long, but be flexible.
  8. At the start of the meeting, make sure subs or vendors are reminded that the purpose for both the sub or vendor to be more profitable, you are not dictating terms, and you need their input. Guard against any demeaning conversation in either direction. Stay on point. Listen and be flexible.
  9. Make sure to review and be clear when the work scopes program will take effect and how checklists will be used in relationship to sub/vendor payments. Highlight any changes from the current process.
  10. Update the draft to make it a final copy.  Make copies for the sub/vendor. Set up three ring binders for field and staff. Put field staff copies in plastic page protectors.
  11. Have a follow-up meeting with staff to set performance standards and failure to perform consequences. Review to be sure everyone is clear on process and procedures.
  12. Follow the above steps until all work scopes have been completed.

What did I just do?

Congratulations! You have just:

  1. Standardized your construction processes. All trades doing the same scope will be doing the same job the same way. No learning curve for new hires. You have set the bar where you want it.
  2. Set a system in place for 100% completion each time. No more paying for work that is not done. And no more excuses…it’s all done except…
  3. Increased your quality and decreased your warranty call backs and costs by making sure the job is 100% complete.
  4. Cut your construction costs because you have subs note any extra materials on their invoice. You can get credits on these materials and eliminate them from future orders.
  5. Made your jobsites are now safer and neater, which will have a positive impact on sales.
  6. Gained probable legal recourse should a dispute arise with a sub or vendor and you need someone else to finish their job or provide warranty assistance.

Implementing ScopesContact Paul

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