Just like with any contract, word choice is incredibly important in a construction contract. We always recommend that our clients, whether they are general contractors, subcontracts or homeowners, be extremely familiar with their construction contract’s terms and provisions. Out of these terms and provisions, one stands out as especially important to be mindful of – the scope of work.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is the Scope of Work?

The Scope of Work is usually a formal part of your contract that independently specifies all the criteria of the contract. It should clearly specify project expectations and requirements. The clearer the scope of work is, the less chance for disagreement between the parties later.

What should your scope of work be?

Determining the scope of work on a project should be done on a case-by-case basis. The scope of work can range from very detailed and precise to vague and general. No matter what, the scope of work should clearly lay out what you are expecting to give and receive for the project. Thus, we do not recommend an overly succinct scope of work provision for our clients as these can be heavily debated later. But at the same time a very specific scope can give more clarity to a contract.

Tips and Suggestions

Because the scope of work provision will vary greatly from project to project, there are no exclusive set of rules to follow. Depending on which side of the contract you are one, you may want an entirely different form of a scope of work provision.

As a general contractor, for example, you would probably prefer a more vague scope of work provision in your subcontracts, and a more specific scope of work provision in your general contract. A subcontractor, on the other hand, would probably want a more specific scope of work in its subcontract, while a homeowner, would probably want a more vague scope of work provision in its general contract.

The reason for the different preferences is simply cause of liability, as the specificity of the scope of work directly affects the party’s potential liability. For instance, a general contractor does not want to sign an overly broad contact with a homeowner, as this would allow for too much leeway room for homeowner in case of a potential dispute later.

We always recommend our clients contact an attorney to help them construct the right scope of work provision for them. Here at Smiley Law, we are always ready to take on your scope of work questions or concerns. Contact us today.

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Seth Smiley
Seth is an attorney licensed to practice in Louisiana and California. He is the owner and lead attorney at Smiley Law Firm. To speak with Seth fill out the form on this page.
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